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WOODS: Taking my children hunting is probably the funnest thing I do in the hunting woods. My oldest daughter Raleigh is 11 years old and has hunted with me for a couple of years; turkey hunting, deer hunting. We haven’t punched a tag yet. That really hasn’t been our mission. It’s a great time to share and bond and eat Snickers together and spend some time in the woods. But this year, my objective was to make sure we punched a tag and build that interest a little bit more. I wanted to put all my eggs in one basket, so I took Raleigh to a field where I had planted Eagle Seed beans.
WOODS: Now, this forage bean that grows all year long and makes tremendous forage. Of course, then they ripen and make pods just like a regular commercial soybean. This time of year, deer love those soybean pods. I mean it’s just a super attractant. So, half the field is in Eagle Seed beans; half the field is in wheat clover brassica mix.
It’s interesting to watch where the deer spend most of their time eating and really focus on what they’re doing when they’re in that soybean portion of the field. Man, they’re just popping those pods off one after another. Just like me eating popcorn when I’m watching a movie at night. Deer really love soybeans so if you’re taking a kid hunting and you need a big attraction, a standing soybean field is a good bet for that time of year.
We get in the stand early, get the camera set up, get rolling and if you’ve ever filmed before, you know, you’ve got your camera tripod, the camera, Raleigh’s cushion, my safety strap, all that stuff. Get up the tree as quiet as we can, get Raleigh in the tree. And we’re up before daylight. It is a stunning sunrise that morning. It’s a great day to enjoy creation.
WOODS: But, we’re not seeing four legged part of creation move around the first 30 minutes. So, Raleigh’s getting a little antsy thinking it’s another hunt that we’re not gonna see a deer. And I’m starting to feel the same way myself. And then we see some deer at a distance, two to three hundred yards away and I don’t want Raleigh’s first shot to be testing her shooting skill limit. Three hundred yards is just too far for a novice hunter. So, I pull her off of that and they drift out of our sight window into the woods. We don’t have an opportunity.
Later on, Raleigh’s reading and she says, “Dad, I hear deer behind us.” So, sure enough, I turn around. There’s a deer walking 30, 40 yards behind us. I try to whip the camera around and catch the deer without disturbing it and telling Raleigh to get ready at the same time. Sure enough, it feeds over to our right and I’m not sure everything’s right. I’m looking through the camera and seeing some limbs. I’m not sure she’s seeing them because she’s so excited. I’m a little worried about bullet deflection or maybe not everything working out just right. So, I call her off the shot and the deer walks over a hill, still in the food plot, but out of sight of Raleigh and me.
WOODS: Oh, I felt horrible. I just called my daughter off her first real good shot opportunity. And I look at her, trying to watch the camera too, and I can tell she’s kind of sunken down and thinking, “Man, this is not gonna work again.” And as it would work out, those feed out in the beans, turn to the left a little bit and come out into the open wheat where I don’t have to worry about bullet deflection. The deer is now about 100 yards away. Pretty tough shot, but we’re in our ladder stand and I ask Raleigh, “Raleigh, are you sure you’re on a deer?” “Yes, Dad.”
WOODS: (Whispering) Look, tell me when you can get right on that deer’s shoulder.
DAUGHTER: (Whispering) Can I put the hammer back?
WOODS: (Whispering) Yeah, yes. When you are ready, you can shoot if you’re right on it.
WOODS: (Whispering) You got it, girl. You got it.
WOODS: You will notice that Raleigh is dead on in her aim. She’s aiming right behind the shoulder; right in the vitals. And you can tell from the reaction of the deer; got that mule kick. It’s a heart/lung shot. Almost all deer will make that standard, hunter’s call it a mule kick, when they’re shot in that vital area. The deer is shot right there. Makes a 40-yard run. Boom. Dead. No flagging, no, no, no unpleasant behavior from the deer for the hunter to observe. It’s just stone dead. What a great experience for a new hunter. It was all hugs and kisses after that.
DAUGHTER: (Whispering) And my deer is dead over there.
WOODS: (Whispering) Are you excited?
DAUGHTER: (Whispering) Yes.
WOODS: (Whispering) Is this your first deer? Tell me, just talk.
DAUGHTER: (Whispering) Yeah, this is my first deer. My sister got one last year. But this is my first deer. So, I’m excited.
DAUGHTER: Well, we were up there in the trees and then, when I shot him, he was like, on the hill, ridge kind of thing. Then he came down here like around and just dropped dead.
WOODS: It went in right here. Perfect. Right where I told you to aim, girl. Perfect. You made the perfect shot, Raleigh. That’s unbelievable how good a shot you made. You know what? That’s exactly the same size and type of deer that was my first deer.
WOODS: Am I proud that she harvested a deer? I think that’s obvious from watching the footage. Am I more proud that my daughter wants to spend time with me and knows that it’s a big tradition in my family and she’s willing to carry on that tradition and wants to be part of it?
DAUGHTER: I got a deer.
WOODS: From Snickers bars to setting up out in the cold, to taking photos after the harvest, to processing the meat, that’s part of the Woods family hunting tradition. And I hope you have some very pleasant traditions in your family also.