photo of a deer killed by Dakota Sandersphoto of a deer killed by Dakota Sandersphoto of a deer killed by Dakota Sanders

Hunter: Dakota Sanders

Points: 9 (5L, 4R)

County: Monroe

Season: 2020-2021

Hunt Story

My son and I worked hard in the early fall to make a food plot and get it planted. I would run the tractor and he would run the four wheeler planting the seed and spreading the fertilizer by hand. We put out a camera once the food plot started coming up, and we were getting pictures of different bucks and does, but nothing to really get excited about. Then, I checked the camera a few days before Christmas, and we got this mature buck smelling the camera. It was incredible video footage up close and personal. My son was really excited, and said he wanted to try to get that buck. We worked together and moved a stand to a bottom over-looking the food plot. We hunted it four times together with a good wind, but never saw the deer we were after. We actually only saw deer once. When we didn't hunt the stand though, we would get pictures of the deer in the food plot. We decided to sit on the ground instead of the stand and see if they were some how becoming aware when we were hunting the stand. We found a stump down wind of the food plot and put some blind material to blend in with it. We both hunkered down and we took a moment to lift up a prayer that God would give us an opportunity to make memories that would last a life time. We prayed for His favor and that we would be good stewards of His creation should we have an opportunity to make an ethical shot on a deer. We had made a decision that if we didn't see the buck we were after by last light we would shoot a doe since we needed a deer for the freezer, and it was close to the end of the season. We hunkered down behind the ground blind for the evening hunt. I know it is hard for a young child to sit still for several hours, so we passed the time by watching football playoff highlights on my phone. It was still early in the afternoon when this deer and another buck we had seen stepped out in good light. I had a video camera with me, so I turned it on while my son got lined up for a shot. He calmed himself down and waited patiently for the right shot to present itself. When the buck turned broadside, he squeezed the trigger and the gun roared. The deer high kicked and ran hard out of the food plot, but acted like it was hit. We went back to the house and looked at the video to see where he shot it. Instantly, we knew he made a great double lung shot. My wife and his sisters all came in the room and looked at the video footage and we got excited for my son. We went back with flashlights and started tracking blood. The whole time my son is leading the way finding the blood. We worked as a team as I would stay at the last blood while he looked for more. It was so rewarding for me to see my son learning to track and follow the blood and sometimes following only running tracks with no blood to see. After about 150 yards, we found his deer. We rejoiced and thanked God for the opportunity to have an encounter with this deer. It is one of the those wonderful moments as a father when you know you have made memories with your child that will last a lifetime. It is so much more rewarding for me to see my child take this deer than for me to get it. I thank God for this life-long bonding experience and memory that my son and I will cherish together forever.
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