“Mom, you need to go out and sit in my treestand,” an enthusiastic Kody said. He was trying to convince his mother, Stacy, to hunt from his treestand. Kody had killed a buck during archery season but left his trail cameras out to see if new bucks were coming onto their property.
Stacy told Kody that she wasn’t confident drawing her compound bow and shooting at a deer. Her son suggested that they borrow a crossbow from someone so she could hunt the mature bucks cruising by their stand.
Lending A Hand
Stacy and I have taught together at Fort LeBoeuf Middle School for many years. I had the pleasure of having her son Kody in class, and we spent plenty of time talking about hunting. Kody got his mom a compound bow for Christmas a few years ago. Stacy enjoys shooting her bow with him, but she had never thought much about hunting with it. She just enjoyed spending time with her son.
One afternoon when I was in the copy room at school, Stacy came in to run copies for her math class. She asked if Kody had sent me pictures of the buck he shot with his bow. I told her that I wasn’t aware Kody had harvested a buck. Stacy opened her phone and showed me pictures of his first archery buck. I was excited for Kody because I knew he had been archery hunting for multiple seasons and hadn’t yet killed a buck. Stacy told me she was happy for her son but was disappointed that she hadn’t been in the stand with him to experience the hunt.
Before grabbing my copies and leaving, I told Stacy that it was now her turn to kill a buck. She laughed and said, “Kody has a trail camera out and keeps getting pictures of mature bucks!” I asked if she had any pictures. She immediately opened her phone again. Quickly, she located multiple trail camera photos and started scrolling through them.
My jaw dropped as she scrolled through the images of a nice, mature buck. “Stacy, you have to get in that stand in the next few days,” I told her emphatically. She grinned and told me she needed to be more confident with her bow before attempting to shoot a deer. Immediately, I offered to let her borrow my daughter’s crossbow for the rest of the archery season.
At first, Stacy declined my offer, but I didn’t let up. I told her I would bring the crossbow to her house so she could practice with it before heading to the woods. Still unsure, Stacy replied, “I haven’t even purchased my license yet!” I shook my head and said, “That is okay. You can still get a license and your archery tag.” She finally agreed to my offer and responded with a smile, saying, “Kody will be excited that he gets to guide me on my hunt.”
That evening I packed up my daughter’s crossbow and her quiver full of Black Eagle Arrows. Stacy doesn’t live far away, so I made the short drive to deliver the crossbow. I had a good feeling about loaning her the crossbow. The rut was about to pick up and bucks had been active during daylight hours.
Time to Practice
I pulled into Stacy’s driveway and parked my car. I grabbed the gear and headed to the front door. Kody answered the door, and I could see he was excited. Over the next few minutes, I showed them how the GloryNock lighted nocks turned on and off and how to load and shoot the crossbow.
Kody shot the crossbow first so that his mom could watch. He walked to the target, retrieved the arrow and turned off the red GloryNock. I watched as Stacy loaded the Black Eagle bolt and cocked the crossbow. She slowly pulled the trigger and the bolt hit the center of the target. Kody grinned at his mom with excitement. She shot three more times and said that she felt confident shooting the crossbow.
Before heading home, I wished them good luck. I also told them to call me if they needed any help. Stacy laughed and said, “I will have to go and get my license tomorrow after school so we can hunt on Wednesday.” Kody pumped his fist and said, “Yes!”
The next day at school, Stacy stopped by my room to thank me again for loaning her the crossbow. She showed me more trail camera pictures of bucks walking by Kody’s trail camera. I asked if she was excited to hunt with her son, and she said, “I probably won’t even see any of the bucks we have on camera, but Kody thinks I will shoot a monster!” I told her that the first week of November is always a great time to shoot a monster buck. She responded, “I am not a lucky person! I am just excited to sit in the stand with Kody and see what happens.”
Later that evening, after a long day at school, she and her son went to Sportsmen’s Warehouse to purchase her license. On the drive home, Kody opened the weather app on his phone and looked at the forecast for Wednesday. He was excited that the temperatures would be in the low 40 degrees and that the wind would be perfect for the buddy treestand he had set up on their property. He was confident that bucks would be on their feet during daylight hours.
Kody had a hard time concentrating at school the next day. He looked forward to sitting in the buddy stand with his mom. After school, he came over to the middle school and patiently waited for his mom. Kody talked the entire ride home about the big buck he knew she would shoot that evening. Stacy hoped he was right so her son wouldn’t be disappointed.
The Magic Hour
Stacy followed him to their two-man buddy stand. The stand was 20 yards inside the wood line, facing an open field. She climbed up the ladder and sat on the right side of the buddy stand. While Stacy attached her harness, Kody climbed the ladder and sat beside her, then attached his harness and pulled up the crossbow.
They whispered together as they scanned the woods and the open field. A light breeze brushed their faces, and Kody commented that the wind was perfect. He nudged his mother and pointed to a few deer feeding in the open field. Stacy was enjoying the time with her son as they watched the sun fall below the trees.
The orange light from the setting sun lit up the blue sky beautifully. Kody heard a deer walking and looked to his left. He saw a beautiful buck walking down a trail that led to the open field. Unfortunately, the path was too far away from their stand. Stacy watched the buck in the open field as Kody ranged the distance.
“Forty-five yards, Mom. You can make that shot easily,” he told her. He wanted Stacy to shoot the buck in the open field. Stacy wasn’t ready to take that long of a shot, though. Just as Stacy thought the hunt was over, something spooked all the deer in the field. Kody told his mom to prepare as he watched the big buck approach the stand.
Kody saw the buck stop behind a tree and look back toward the field. Then Kody decided to stand up so Stacy would have a shot if the buck came to their left. Stacy turned on the red dot scope and waited for her son’s directions. She could tell Kody was shaking with excitement, but she stayed focused on trying to get a shot at the deer. The buck turned and began walking again. Stacy realized the buck was going to walk to her left, and that she needed to get set for a shot. She slowly slid closer to Kody, put the crossbow behind him and rested it on the shooting rail. Stacy could see the deer was close and she shouldered the crossbow. She tracked the buck in the scope and waited for him to stop.
Moment of Truth
Kody stood like a statue watching the buck close the distance. He whispered, “Mom, get ready!” Meanwhile, Stacy knew he was getting ready to stop the deer. His “Meh!” broke the silence, and the buck stopped. Stacy found the buck’s vitals and squeezed the trigger. The red GloryNock streaked toward the buck and then disappeared.
Kody saw the buck kick then saw the deer bolt deeper into the timber. Stacy wasn’t confident in the shot, but Kody said he heard the deer crash. He was shaking excitedly as he suggested returning to the house to get flashlights and more helpers. Stacy agreed and quietly followed him home. Once back at the house, Kody told his father, Brian, and his older brother, Eli, about the hunt. Brian and Eli were excited to help Stacy find her first deer. Kody ran around the house gathering flashlights for each of them. By the time Brian and Eli dressed, Kody was ready to lead everyone back into the woods.
Kody found the blood trail immediately and led the way. Stacy, Brian and Eli used their flashlights to make his work easier. The family of four only walked a little way before they saw Stacy’s trophy. Her heart raced as Kody pointed to where the bolt hit the deer. She had made a perfect shot and the deer had expired quickly.
Kody helped pose the deer for pictures and then took photos of his mom with the beautiful eight-point. Brian offered to take pictures of Stacy and Kody before returning to the house to get the four-wheeler and trailer. Everyone was happy to share the moment with Stacy.
While Brian and Eli returned to the house, Kody showed his mom how to field dress the deer. Stacy watched and listened as he walked through each step of the process. Brian and Eli returned with the four-wheeler and trailer, then helped lift the deer onto the trailer. Then they all returned to the house.
Kody wanted to take the deer to the local processor, so Eli and Brian transferred the deer from the trailer to the back of the truck. Stacy and Kody drove to the processor and left the deer to be processed. While Stacy was putting in her processing order, Kody secretly talked with the processor about getting a European mount. He wrote the processor a check and paid for the European mount without Stacy knowing anything about it.
After returning from the processor, everyone celebrated the successful hunt with a cold root beer. Stacy texted me about the hunt and sent me pictures. I was happy about her success. Once again, she thanked me for loaning her the crossbow. I congratulated her and asked if they were getting the deer mounted. She said, “Kody took care of the deer. I don’t know what he plans to do with the antlers!”
Soon after, Stacy received a call from the processor. Kody couldn’t wait to pick up the deer meat and surprise his mom with the European mount. Stacy pulled up to the processor and Kody rushed out of the car and sprinted into the shop. When Stacy finally entered the shop, Kody was standing there with her European mount.
“Merry Christmas!” Kody said. Stacy held back tears as she realized what Kody had done for her. “Thank you so much, Kody. I love the mount,” Stacy replied. Then she hugged her son and kissed him on the head. She knew this was the perfect ending to her first successful deer harvest.