Written by Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Only one deer was harvested on our farm this year, so far, and that was by my daughter-in-law’s 12-year-old nephew Luke.
Luke and his dad came out to the farm the last Saturday of the Missouri gun season with a brand new youth model synthetic blued Savage. I took Luke and his dad down to the range and we started to sight in his new 243 Winchester. We were good at 25 yards after 3 shots so the little 3-9X Bushnell was doing its job. Now it was time for me to earn my stripes. Luke ran the target out to 100 yards (youth is a wonderful thing) and I fired 3 more shots off an improvised rest to get it dead-center and handed it to Luke. His dad showed him all the mechanical features and discussed safety while I got the shooting bench set up for a smaller shooter. Of all his practice rounds, Luke only had one shot land outside the 2 inch bull at 100 yards. Pretty good for a skinny 12-year-old and a VERY heavy trigger. His dad, uncle and I were very proud. We concluded that so long as his quarry was within 125 yards he could take the shot and be successful if he stayed calm and placed the bullet correctly.
Luke and his dad had to walk the ½ mile (actually only 800 yards) to “the Shack” on “Tree Island.” Sweat equity is a good thing plus a nice walk to the blind is great bonding time and helps build excitement. So Luke and his dad marched off to the west, my son went north across the creek then west to his stand, and I went straight north across 2 creeks to my tree. All this took place about 2:30 PM and the day was warm with light winds; a nice day just to be out. As I daydreamed in my tree stand about 5 PM I was brought back to reality by the sharp crack of a rifle in the distance. I didn’t recognize the report and it sounded far enough away to have come from the neighbors further south. I hoped it would send some deer to Luke and his dad. I sat in my tree for another 35 minutes and saw only a young doe and a small buck. I climbed down from my tree as darkness was falling. No more shots were heard.
When I got back to the house, my daughter-in-law said Luke had harvested a deer, so the shot I had heard was Luke. My son Mike was right behind me, so we took off in the Teryx to help Luke and his dad retrieve the deer. When we got there, Luke and his dad were just finishing field dressing his young doe. It was a one shot harvest and she fell where she stood.
We took pictures, high-fived, shook hands and fist bumped, loaded her up, and headed back to the house. A successful day in all respects.