John’s First Deer

First deer are special, and circumstances for this outdoor writer's family made this even more so.

Brandon Adams | October 17, 2023

John Adams with his first deer.

After my daughter got her second buck last year, it really motivated my son to want to hunt more. He had several chances to go before his sister got her second deer but turned down the chances. His chances to get a deer that season came down to the last weekend of the season. He traveled with his Pape and I to our family land in central Georgia. He was able to see a large doe Saturday evening, but we never could get a clear shot when we both could see the deer, and he did not get a deer that season. Little did we know how life was about to change. Our daughter who plays goalie was at a college soccer camp trying out for the coaching staff. A player ran into her with a high knee while she was in possession of the ball in goal. The collision resulted in our daughter spending two weeks in ICU with her kidney severed into two halves and a leak in her ureter. We missed turkey season and did not get to do our usual habitat work on our land. Our first trip back was not until the end of September to plant our food plots. My son went down with us and wanted to hunt that evening and the next morning. Unfortunately, we learned that a family of buzzards had used the ground blind as a nest we intended to hunt out of. We decided to hunt on the ground near a food plot but did not see a deer.

The following weekend we hunted on one of our good friend’s land near our home. He has been so kind to allow the kids to hunt there. We slipped into the blind around 5 p.m. The first deer that we saw was a young 7-pointer. The deer was acting on edge the entire time it was in the food plot looking upwind to our left. He never gave my son a clear shot before it stomped and ran from the food plot. Deer did that the next day as well for my friend. We feel that the deer might have smelled a sounder of hogs that have been on the property recently or perhaps a bobcat. Seeing the buck from the blind really got my son’s heart racing. Right at the end of legal shooting time, two does entered to food plot, but again seemed to smell something upwind of them, and never came into the opening from the blind.

Two weeks later we were out for Fall Break, and my friend called asking if the kids wanted to go hunting. Of course, both kids immediately said they wanted to go. I went with my son to the same blind on the edge of the food plot, and my daughter went with her Uncle John as he is now known to a blind in the hardwoods. After maybe 30 minutes had passed, she was texting about the does and small 4-pointer they were seeing. I knew that she was very unlikely to shoot a deer that day because every time she has gone with her brother hoping that the deer would make their way to him. Sure enough, I learned from my friend that she had several shots at several of the does including a very large mature doe wanting it to eventually go to the food plot for her brother. Talk about a sister’s love for her brother. About an hour before sunset, we saw our first deer, it was a very small doe likely born this year. My son had no interest in shooting her. About 30 minutes later the same 7-pointer made its way out along the edge of the food plot. It finally made the commitment to come out into the shooting window, but before my son could get the crossbow on it, an eastern towhee dive bombed the buck causing it to run back to the edge of the food plot. The buck after assessing what happened eventually made its way back into the shooting lane. My son was wanting to make sure he was doing everything correctly and asked if he should use the top circle and right above the front leg. Once I let him know he was correct, 30 seconds later the bolt left the crossbow hitting the buck in a perfect location. We waited for a few minutes before texting my friend and meeting them at the food plot. The blood trail was about 6 inches wide into the food plot on the opposite side of the hill. My daughter and son followed the blood trail with our daughter coming just in case, but my son soon found his buck laying on the edge of the food plot maybe 75 yards from where he shot it.

After all that we have been through as a family it was like everything was right in the world again. It did a dad’s heart good to see his daughter once again able to drag a deer after her recovery, and with her brother’s first deer. The smiles on their faces were priceless. It is amazing what time in the woods can do to mend mental and physical wounds.

This was the 18th kid who has taken their first deer on my friend’s Oglethorpe County land or with him hunting with them. What a lasting impact he has made on hunting and the lives of these kids, many of whom will pass on the hunting tradition to their children, and work to leave the world a better place then they found it. If you get the chance to take a kid hunting, fishing, or into the outdoors take them and start your on legacy that will last long after we are gone.

Outdoor writer Brandon Adams and his daughter celebrate John’s first deer.

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  1. Andrew Curtis on October 17, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Congrats to John on an awesome first deer! What a meaningful buck for the whole family.

    • goldentrout2 on October 17, 2023 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you Andrew!

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