Instilling Desire

I Got out this past Friday and Saturday with my son Ryan to do some archery javelina and deer hunting here in AZ. We met up with my friend Jake and his son, Hunter on Friday morning. We glassed up some deer Friday afternoon, and Jake offered for me to stalk in on this deer. While initially I was wondering if I wanted to fill my 2013 deer tag on this deer, I quickly realized I was crazy not to. I had Ryan with me and a mature 3x3 in a very stalkable position. If nothing else, it would be great practice!
Ryan, Hunter, and Jake moving in on the deer
Keeping an eye on the buck and doe
I left Ryan with Jake and Hunter, and moved in towards the bedded 3x3 and his doe. I soon had my target bush right in front of me. I was all set, but moved up the finger a little quicker than I thought and as I looked through a little bush in front of me, I could see the buck was looking over at me. It was tough to be 100% silent on the steep gravel of the finger ridge. He was right at 40 yards, so I took one step higher up and he stood up. I drew, and these are the sounds I remember hearing, in this order; my bow going off, him running, and my arrow clanking in the brush. I missed him and I was trying to figure out how. He was at 40 yards and I had my 40 yard pin on him when I shot. Everything felt good. Only thing I can figure out was since he was aware of my presence he jumped the string. After a long search we found parts of my arrow and it was 100% clean. No blood was found anywhere, and the looks I got at him after I shot didn't show any signs of a hit. I was bummed about missing him because it would have been great to have gotten that buck with Ryan tagging along.
Ryan and I after missing the buck (notice the partial arrow in my quiver)
Jake and his son had to leave around midday the next day, so Ryan and I went to check out another spot. It sure looked piggy, but I never did see any pigs. I glassed up a funky looking 2 pt out in some flats, and then saw 7 deer making their way over the ridge next to us. I got Ryan out of the truck and loaded some jackets and my 15's and tripod in my pack. Off we went. I was going at a good pace and turned around when we got near the ridge expecting to see Ryan trailing behind me. He was right there with me.

We topped out on the ridge and looked down to see the deer crossing the wash at the bottom of the draw. I set up my binos for Ryan to get a good look at them, and he was pretty excited when he saw the buck. He wanted me to run right down there right then and shoot that buck. I told him it doesn't work that way, and we'd watch them to see what they do. They fed up and over that ridge (about 400 yds across, from top to top), so as soon as they disappeared, Ryan asked me if he could head over while I packed up my stuff. I said go for it. 

Ryan watching the deer below us
The buck and some other deer we were watching
The buck was hanging real close to this doe
I got my stuff packed up and barely caught up with Ryan as he was starting up the other side of the draw. I then struggled to keep up with him as we made our way to the top of that ridge. I stopped him about 3/4 of the way up and told him that we need to go real slow and very quietly over the top. We started off again and I pulled my binos out to have them handy when I realized I hadn't hooked them back to the strap on the bino harness. I stopped and hooked my binos back to the harness and looked up to see Ryan topping out and going over the ridge. He moved quietly and slowly, but I was about 10 yards behind him. 
As I caught up to him he pointed out the deer about 100 yards below us. They were bunched up looking at us. They started taking off and Ryan was pretty upset and frustrated. I told him how we can't be skylined and can't move around a lot or be loud because the deer will see us or hear us. I also told him how many times I've failed while archery deer hunting in AZ... That made him feel a bit better.

A look back at where the deer headed towards where we last saw them
Glassing for deer and pigs before we ran out of light
We did glass up those deer again on the ridge we came from and we headed back over there again after they went out of site. It was about 15 mins before dark when we got to the ridge we originally watched them from and Ryan was still wanting to go after the deer, but I talked him into heading back to the truck after he slipped a couple of times, telling him it wouldn't be much fun to navigate the rocky, cactus laden country in the dark. Considering he is only almost 7 years old, his desire, attitude, and drive really impressed me. I think I have a good hunting buddy in the making! Both him and I are looking forward to our next adventure.


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