This is my first post on the forum, but I have enjoyed reading the articles and posts for a couple of years now. I live in Mobile AL. and enjoy hunting, fishing, and shooting. But this is about my son's first deer hunt.
My son was turning 6 years old this year, in November, and my hunting buddy, Brad, and I thought he was big enough to kill a deer this year. I started working with Harrison about 3 months before the season came. I printed pictures of deer in different positions, broadside, quartering to and away, and put dots on them where I wanted him to aim. We studied those pictures most every night. I also let him shoot a pellet rifle with a scope in the back yard. I would blow up balloons and let him pop the balloons with the pellet rifle so that I would be sure he could aim and squeeze the trigger properly, and so that I would know he had the proper sight picture. We also practiced with an archery deer target until I was sure that he was ready.
The rifle is nothing fancy. An H&R Handi Rifle in .243 win that will shoot 1-1/4" groups at 100 yds. with federal factory power shok ammo. I put a new Redfield 3-9x40 scope on it because it has good eye relief. I put a youth stock on the rifle and filled the butt with lead weight to help reduce the recoil. The .243 doesn't kick much but my son only weighs 38lbs so I didn't want him to be scared to shoot. By the way I never let him shoot the .243 until we shot at the deer. We only practiced with the pellet rifle so as not to develop any bad habits.
The Alabama youth weekend 2010 came in and I couldn't get off work in time to go on Friday but was able to leave on Saturday morning. We made the 3 hour drive to the property and after hanging around the camp with guys and watching another youth sight in his rifle, we headed to the woods. My son is not the most patient of hunters and after about 45 minutes in the stand was starting to get restless. So we studied our deer pictures for a couple of minutes and talked about shot placement, then he went back to playing with his toy motorcycle. I had just gotten through explaining to him that we may not even see a deer or they may not show up until dark. No sooner had the words left my mouth and a cowhorn buck steps out of the woods about 40 yards from the shooting house we were in.
After a lot of whispering, Don't move, stay down, Now move, we got into position with Harrison sitting in my lap, the gun out the window and he was aiming at the deer. I was breathing about like I'd just run a hundred yard dash and trying to make sure he was doing everything right. I asked him if he could see the deer? Yes sir. Do you have the crosshair behind his shoulder? Yes sir. Are you steady? Yes sir. Again I asked him are you on him? He must have been getting tired of my questions because he just said, YEAH. I was so excited I forgot all about squeezing the trigger and just told him to SHOOT. He did and hit the buck perfectly behind the shoulder just like we practiced. He was so excited and after a short blood trail we found his deer. 140lb cowhorn. Shot distance by the time we got ready and made the shot was about 25 yards. Not long range, but long enough for the first one. I was proud as I could be. Sorry to be so long winded but here is the picture of my son's first deer one week before his 6th birthday.