photo of a deer killed by Benton Lancephoto of a deer killed by Benton Lancephoto of a deer killed by Benton Lance

Hunter: Benton Lance

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Putnam

Season: 2018-2019

Hunt Story

Benton is my son who is 8 years old. He killed his first deer last season (doe). Early this year during youth week he was able to bag another mature doe. Since that time he has been determined to kill his first buck. We have hunted almost every weekend Saturday and Sunday trying to kill his first buck. We hunt on a management club that usually only wants to shoot mature 8 points or better. One exception is for kids, of course. I wanted Benton to learn about hunting for the right buck and not just shoot the first buck we see. So we have passed on quite a few small 8, 6, 4-points and spikes all season. Many of those times with him begging me to let him shoot one. I never caved because we have pictures of at least three different mature bucks at this one spot. So I knew we had a chance if we kept waiting. It took a lot of patience but he was able to do it. On Saturday morning Nov. 3 we sat in the same stand and did not have much activity until after 9:30. Finally a couple of does came in and started feeding. Later a small 6-point came in and pushed the does around. Right after that I spotted a nice mature 8 back deeper in the woods. I told Benton to get ready, so we got his gun propped and set him up for the shot when he stepped out. Unfortunately, the deer went after a doe and trotted through an opening without stopping. Benton not being an experienced hunter had to wait and could not get the shot. The buck ran after he doe and was gone. Benton was devastated. He got tears in his eyes and told me "that he didn’t think he would ever kill a buck." He also begged me to let him shoot the 6-point, but I wouldn't give in. (As bad as I wanted to.) We were not able to hunt again until the next night on Sunday. Because of the time change that day we got in the stand in little late and 2 does and 6-point were feeding. We had to wait until they moved on to get in the stand. Once we did we had a few more does move through but that was all. Soon after close to 5:20 we had a doe coming running in pretty quickly. I told Benton to get ready because I thought a buck would be behind her. The deer came from our right, and sure enough a big mature 8 came in on same path head down. I quickly got Benton to try and get on him while he was walking in. He hesitated and the deer kept going. He said he could not find him in the scope. Again he was devastated. I told him to wait and he might come back and sure enough the doe circled back to right out in front of us at about 30 yards. I turned Benton’s gun in that direction and told him to get ready, the buck would be next. I held the gun on the gun rest and while he steadied it and looked through the scope. The buck walked out and immediately looked up at us. I told him to freeze. He was shaking at this point. I knew the buck had made us and he would bolt. I took gun off safety for him and said "Are you on him?" He said yes, and I said ok shoot. He did, and I saw the buck jump like he had been hit. The next thing I heard was something no dad wants to hear from the deer stand was Benton start crying and screaming about his head. I looked over and blood was running all down his face and already dripping down to the stand. I immediately pulled off my camo shirt and my under shirt to give to him. The scope about hit him right about the eye brow and he had a pretty good gash with a lot of blood. We sat and applied pressure trying to get the blood to stop. We gave the deer about 20 minutes and then went to look. Unfortunately because he screamed I did not continue watching which way the deer ran. We found good blood at the spot of the shot where the deer was standing. Followed the blood trail for about 30 yards and had good blood. Decided to back out for a few and make sure the deer was down. Unfortunately Benton’s head was still bleeding pretty bad and would not stop. I sent his Mom a picture and of course she freaked out and wanted him looked at immediately. So I decided to go ahead and look for the deer a little longer. I found blood for about 50 yards and then it stopped. Nothing more. I could not find blood anywhere. I walked and looked but it was completely dark by now. Even a good friend came by and helped us look. After an hour and many texts from my wife, I decided to leave and take Benton home. The head was still bleeding so his Mother went ahead and took him to the ER. Long story, short he ended up with 4 stitches and a tetanus shot! He was so heart broken about not being able to find the deer. I was devastated also. I read about blood signs and tracking a deer. I even looked at the property map to see where I think this deer would go. I replayed the shot over and over all night. The next day I rearranged my schedule to that I could go back and look as soon as possible. I walked into the spot and right to where we last saw the blood. I walked another 50 yards in the woods and saw a large creek bed. If the deer was down it was there. So I walked over and looked down the creek bed and sure enough there he was 30 yards away. I was so excited that I took pictures and sent them to everyone. I even sent his teacher a message to show him at school so that it would cheer him up. We finally retrieved the deer later that day after a long drag up a hill. Benton was so excited and we were able to get great pictures with his first buck. He and I will always remember this one and if he forgets he will probably have a scar to remind him!
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