The Making of a Bowhunter - Lloyd Kimmen
As I look back on the past bow season , a very proud and satisfying feeling comes over me. You see it all started last year when I bought my 11 year old daughter, Carly, a Browning Micro Midas Compound Bow for Christmas. My plan was simple. I would see to it that she would take a deer.
I know you’re saying” impossible” right? A lot of grown men hunt many years without even a shot at a whitetail. I thought to myself,” we can do this”., and I would help all I could, teaching her to shoot, not only targets, but we would simulate the hunt with the help of a tree stand I constructed in the back yard, and the use of 3-d deer targets, changing the angles, and teaching her what the perfect shot looks like. We would practice hours when I got home from work, and when the sun had set, and it was beginning to get dark, I would have her climb into the stand, and I would arrange the McKenzie 3-d deer targets in different positions, and ask her to tell me if it was a good shot or not to take. She caught on quick, and after just a month or so of practice, could routinely put 9 out of 10 arrows into a paper plate at 15 yards, Wow! I thought to myself, most of the whitetails I’ve shot were that close, this just might work….
October 18th found us in our stands on the edge of the woodlot .Just [Carly in her tree stand, moments before deer approached] as the sun was sinking out of sight in the western sky. I looked over at Carly for the 100th time that evening. She pointed to the west along the edge of the woodlot behind me.
I slowly turned and looked. Twp deer were walking right toward us. I didn’t even reach for my bow in the holder net to me, these were Carly’s.In they came 40 yards , 30 yards ….I glanced over at her .She hadn’t even picked up her bow yet! I opened my eyes wide as if to say,”Come on!” Now the deer are right under us 15 yards away feeding, completely unaware of us perched above them.
One deer is standing broad side. Carly draws her bow; I see her settle the Sight.
Slowly the blood runs out, we walk in a zig zag pattern looking for blood, but to no avail. Dejected , at about 11PM we walked back to the house ,I try to cheer her up and say,” I’ll find it tomorrow ,” but I don’t think she believed me [The tracking gang]
The next day, Carly, her brother Shane, my wife Sue, and Carly’s friend Becky, set out to find the deer. We all drive back to where we lost the blood the night before. If you have ever tried to find sparse blood with 3 kids, I can assure you it’s no easy task. Finally I sent them to look in the cornfield; while I sorted out the last place we found blood. Getting on my hands and knees, I found one tiny speck of blood. The deer had turned, I followed another 50 yards, as I peered ahead down the row of corn there lay her deer!!!
It was the mid August when we started scouting for a good spot to hang a couple of stands. I guess you could say I’m the luckiest guy in the world, because I have good deer hunting virtually out my back door. The farmer, who allows me to hunt his land, informed me that the deer had been crossing in the corner of his corn field by the rail road tracks, and also through a ditch in the NE corner of the woodlot. So we hung a pair of tree stands at each location and waited for the season to come. The last month before the October 1st opener, we shot just the 3-d deer target from the back yard stand. What I feel is most important is to try and create a hunting situation, changing the angles of the deer and explaining how the aiming point changes to hit the heart /lung area. Next, we worked on drawing the bow slowly, with as little movement as possible. I would stand below her as she would draw her bow; just to be sure there was no squeaking or any type of bow noise.
Opening morning found us in our tree stands about 10 feet apart. Shortly after sunrise a 6 point buck trotted up out of the ditch along the railroad tracks, and stood looking back. The buck needed to come another 20 yards to be in range. Suddenly, he bolted to the right, across the field, running for the distant woodlot. Then we saw what happened ,as a black dog emerged from the ditch on the bucks trail, that pretty much ruined the first day , I told Carly ,”don’t get discouraged , you will get your chance”.
Even though you don’t always see deer every time out , kids enjoy the outdoors .There is always a cardinal , squirrel or raccoon to watch .Carly had been tagging along going bow hunting and watching quite a few deer underneath her , so I didn’t think she would get “buck fever”. But time would tell…
Pin on the doe, but it turns. She swings to the other deer, but it turns as it feeds under us .She swings her bow back to the first deer which is slightly quartering away from us the perfect angle. I know she can’t hold the bow back much longer, as it’s been almost 2 full minutes. Finally I hear “twang, Whack!” She hit the deer right behind the front shoulder, not perfect, but not bad! Off it runs with the arrow sticking out. Carly looked over at me somewhat dejected. I just give her the thumbs up, I couldn’t be prouder.
We stayed in our trees for about ½ hour, grinning at each other from our stands, before climbing down. She knows we have to let the broad head do its job. Walking back we talk about the whole scene that just happened, I tell her “Don’t worry I’ll find your deer.” Deep down I am a little worried, but I can’t tell her that .It comes with the territory.
After dinner, armed with flashlights we pick up the blood trail. It is rather light at first, but slowly gets heavier. Through the woodlot, across the cornfield, we find the arrow which is splintered and bloody top to bottom.
I have killed some pretty big bucks over the years, and I don’t think I was more excited that when I found Carly’s deer. She had done it! A twelve year old takes her first deer with archery equipment and with her very first shot at a deer. I guess being born on the 4th of July is something special. There’s probably not another country in the world that this story could have taken place in. It makes you proud to be an American.
So to all you dad’s , get your sons and daughters out in the woods on scouting trips, looking for shed antlers, and hunting with you, even if it is a little harder to bring them along . Some day it will be worth it.
Carly is already thinking of a buck for next year to show her Grandpa. If this season has proven anything, it’s showed me with enough hard work, anything is possible.
My nine year old son Shane has been shooting a bow for about four years now. I wonder if he could kill a buck with his bow when he turns twelve?
I fine tuned her bow , and with the light carbon arrows, and 3 feathers fletched helical, that little bow was shooting sweet, perfect little bullet holes through the paper, For her broad heads , I picked out 80 grain Steelforce 2 blade vented broad head , which I took them into my shop ,Topcraft Tool inc in Clinton Township Mi, and I enlarged the venting of the broad heads , removing material and lightening up the broad head , I also sharpened the angle and removed some material from the edge , and honed them until they were like razor blades , as she would need all the help I could give her with the arrow head , as the draw weight, (I was increasing it a pound or 2 every week wit out her knowing), was only 43 lbs, which for a little girl that only weighed maybe 75 lbs was a lot of weight , but she was strong for as small as she was, and could pull the bow effortlessly, as I told her many times in practice , pull the bow back slowly and smoothly , pretend a deer is in front of you , and if you move too fast it will see you and run off.
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