Once we arrived at our destination, a mere two miles from town, we bundled them up in blankets and coats....and left them in the truck. We had already tried taking them with us. (Did you know that a herd of deer will scatter and run when a nine yr old and a ten yr old are throwing rocks at them?)
We hiked up the small hill, keeping the truck in sight, and watched a lone doe race down the hill towards us and the small stream at the bottom. We lost sight of her at the bottom and stalked up a little bit closer to see if the rest of the herd was down there. They weren't. Sooo...time to walk the ridge and watch both sides. Nothing. Back to the truck to check on the kids. We came up over the rise and....THERE THEY WERE! They spotted us and THERE THEY WENT!
We got the thumbs up from the boys in the truck and followed the deer up over the rise to our right. We watched them settle down into the trees for the day. After watching for a while, I asked Hubby if he went and got the four wheeler and rode it along the tree line, if he thought it would get them up and moving again. It was worth a shot. (pun intended) Apparently these deer aren't at all concerned by a motorized machine buzzing by within a few feet. We went up and around the other side to see if we could get a shot. Two does jumped up and bounded away. I went over to the left where there would be some cover for me to sneak up on the rest of the herd and there he was. Just standing there looking at me. Less than a hundred feet away. I motioned for Hubby to stay back and dropped into a crouch. Hubby looked at me and asked "What?" as casually strolled up. He took one look at the buck, looked back and me and yelled "GET DOWN!" Yup, the deer was gone.
We went back to check on the kids and then decided to follow the deer into the next little valley. Off we went. We parked the four wheeler and hiked up to the grove of trees where we thought they were. Sure enough we again saw the little buck from earlier. Hubby took aim and took a shot. Deer turned and looked at us so he took another shot. The little guy took off but Hubby thought he had hit him. Just then a truck headed up the road in the direction of the kids. Hubby went to check on them while I looked for his deer. As I was looking, I almost ran right into the rest of the herd. I pulled up the gun and was watching them through the scope to see if that little buck was still with them.
What I saw next made me freeze in my tracks. There he was. The King of the Forest. (desert, whatever.) He looked just like Bambi's father. I decided we could look for the little buck later. I backed up into the trees and got the bipod legs on the gun adjusted. I crept out from behind the tree and got him in my sights. He had his head behind a tree and I didn't dare take the shot just in case he had traded places with a doe. I knew it was him and I had a perfect shot, but I wanted to see the rack with my own eyes before pulling the trigger. He stepped out from behind the tree and turned his butt to me. Yeah, that's not going to happen. He finally turned broadside and gave me the perfect shot. I got the gun up, got him in my sights and attempted to calm my racing heart. I took a few deep, ragged breaths and pulled the trigger. I missed. He turned his head and just looked at me. I racked the bolt back and......NOOOOOO. I had to reload. Luckily, Hubby had left the rest of the bullets with me. I carefully took them out of my pocket and got three bullets loaded into the gun. I raised the gun, got the big guy in my sights, and........Hubby came up over the rise right in front of the King and he headed for the hills. I took a few shots when he stopped but he was too far out for my limited shooting skills and he was gone. sob. We watched the rest of the herd come to a stop at the bottom of the valley and sure enough the little buck Hubby thought he had shot was with them. As much as I wanted the King, I was more interested in meat for the freezer. So, with sadness in my heart, I set my sights on the spike and pulled the trigger. The does scattered but we couldn't see the spike. One doe stayed close to where he had been and continued to sniff the ground and act very nervous. I stayed on the hill to watch the herd and to guide him to the spot where we had last seen the spike. Hubby got onto the four wheeler and headed down the hill. Sure enough, I got him right in the neck. Not a perfect shot, but it put him down before he knew what had happened.
I hiked down and helped load him onto the front rack of the four wheeler. We headed down the road and watched the kids faces as we pulled up with it. They were pretty excited. Especially because they got to watch (and help) field dress it.
So now my hunt is finished and I can sleep in while Hubby gets to go look for the King. Fair trade? Maybe.