Antlerless Season Missouri and a Daughters first deer


Jan 24, 2012
Hey guys and gals,

Long time no speak. Super busy as usual so my time spent online isn't what is used to be. First things first:

Our two youngest daughters have been seizure free for almost 7 months ( medication controlled) after experiencing their first grand mal a little over a year ago. We had tried to wean our then 5 year old off her meds for the absence seizures she was experiencing and as soon as we achieved 4 months of no meds, she had a grand mal. We started genetic testing last week at the children's hospital in downtown Chicago.

Wife opened a new clothing boutique about 1/4 mile from our original location and yours truly was tasked with the entire rehab and build out of the new 2600 foot location... long days and nights. New location is a great success and we are growing at a rapid pace.

I started a little handmade knife business to help offset medical bills and pay for hunting stuff and it is keeping me busy every night after the girls go to bed. Happy to report between myself and a few customers, over a dozen big game animals have been skinned/boned/dressed with my knives this fall with excellent results on edge retention and function.

So yep my time online is somewhat small these days, but I have continued to read all about your adventures and while I may not respond, I am smiling as I read them.

So I had been blessed to become friends with a landowner in Missouri 6 years ago who has 4 farms totaling close to 500 acres and they are all on the Iowa border and prime hunting ground. The ground is leased for buck hunting, but they refuse to shoot does. My friend needs does shot so that is where myself and my daughters get to have some fun. The last few years we have been heading down for the three day antlerless rifle season, and we have had a blast every year. Last year we were close to sealing the deal on my oldest daughter on the rifle, but the "fever" took over and she couldn't get it done.

Fast forward to this spring and summer and the girls have been shooting the BB gun in the backyard at swinging beer cans that I happily emptied first, and life sized cardboard cutouts of deer. We went to the range and practiced with the deer rifles, theirs is a classic stainless model 70 FWT in 243 win with a cut down youth stock stained pink and checkered by me. I used Hogdens reduced load formula and running 95 grain BT's around 2500 fps.

Our range sessions consisted of shooting a 22Lr, a heavy barreled .223 Ruger #1, and finally they each got one chance to "kill" a deer with their 243. Distance was 80 yards. In late November we made one last trip and I mixed it up. They had to shoot the 243 first. Both girls nailed the vitals on the cutout deer with their first shot.

So now we are sitting in the blind on opening morning. Mack carried a backpack full of food, Allie carried extra clothes, and dear old dad humped in two rifles, a heater buddy, two camp chairs, MSR pocket Rocket, cooking pot, 1/2 gallon of water, two cans of gas for the heater and one for the stove. Thank god for my Mystery Ranch Crew Cab.

Two minutes into legal light I saw a deer enter the field about 95 yards away. I whispered for Allie to get ready ( it was her turn first). My binos revealed antlers. Then another.... Both bucks. Allie kept the rifle on her should as I scouted for a doe. Nothing. These two bucks had a field day. Working scrapes, licking branches, feeding, etc... as we watched. One was a 2.5 year old 8 point and the other a 3.5 10 point. Both off limits for anyone as they are heavy into QDM down there.

Mack had my old binos and very excitedly lets us know that there is a doe at the end of the field. I glassed her up and yep she was right. The smaller buck sees her too. He starts to trot over to her as I ranged her up. 145 yards. Way to far for the girls, especially with the wind blowing. I proclaim her safe for now when Allie says " not for you Dad.... shoot her".

So after we watched the little buck come up and try to have his way with her, he walked off slightly and with a quick squeeze of the trigger, she fell where she stood. The bucks really didn't know what to do so they literally walked around and made scrapes.. We quickly rearranged ourselves and Allie got back in position. After the bucks walked off, we sat and waited another hour till we went down and looked at the deer. The girls were all smiles and we quickly dragged her up and almost back to the truck parked 1/2 mile away. A quick field dress and I stashed her in the fence row under a cedar tree. Rest of the morning we rehashed the morning hunt and all the cool stuff we saw ( bald eagle, a covey of wild quail, a rooster, a coyote) it was glorious.

That afternoon Allie was still on the gun when at 4 pm a deer comes walking down the hill and enters the field. Allie was ready. Her words here... " oh come on another buck." Sure enough a little forky came up and stood at 70 yards broadside and looked at the three orange clad things looked back. He stayed around for 30 minutes or so and finally moved off.

Around 5pm (shooting time ended at 5:23) I caught movement from our right side and it was 6 deer feeding in the CRP and close!! I brought the 243 up and Allie settled in. We had rehearsed this next choreography hundreds of times in the backyard and at the range.
"Allie the first deer is a really big doe. Do you see her"
"yes daddy"
"safety is on Allie, wait for her to stop"
"Daddy she stopped"
" Are you on her shoulder"
I reached over and quietly snicked the safety all the way forward.
"Safety is OFF. Shoot when you can"

With that her finger slid down off the stock and settled on the trigger. About a second later she answered with a perfect shot. The doe mule kicked and I could tell her shoulders were broken. She made it about 50 yards and fell over.

I worked the bolt, grabbed the brass, and ran it forward. Safety on. The remaining deer stood there. It was 5:08. As quietly as we could got Mack in position on the rifle and went through the same discussion.

"Are you on her shoulder"
" I can't stop shaking"
" calm down and breathe"
" Dad the scope is moving"
" you have time, relax"

I could tell this was not going to end well. Mack was shaking so bad there was no way that safety was getting moved off. She was getting frustrated and the deer were getting nervous. At 5:21 they decided enough was enough and trotted off into the woods. Mack completely broke down. She was sobbing. So now I have one totally elated can't wait to see her deer, and one mess of a young lady. I couldn't help but smile, give her a hug and assure her she did the right thing by not trying to shoot or tell me she was ready.

We exited and went down to Allie's deer. Her deer was HUGE. A really nice mature doe with her shoulder broken. We all kneeled down and Allie recited her prayer of thanks. There was still some good light left so I pulled her out and we took pics. It was amazing. Mack kept congratulating her little sister and Allie kept giving me the business of her deer was bigger ( it was). I made the decision to walk back up to unlock the gate and drive the fencerow to within 200 yards. Allie was on cloud nine. She helped me field dress and when I pulled the heard out, the entire top was gone. I showed them the heart and lungs ( or lack thereof), and we talked about always ensuring that we don't shoot unless we can put it in the lungs.

My friend showed up about 5 minutes later and the smile on his face was as big as ours. Allie ran up and gave him a huge hug and then told him how big her deer was. She ran through the hunt again for him and he hung on every word she said. We really are blessed to call him and his family friends. His 9 year old son shot his first deer last year ( mature doe) and this year passed on a bunch of bucks waiting on a mature one.

That night after dinner I think Allie reminded me how her deer was bigger roughly 100 times and as we sat in the farmhouse admiring the hundreds of sheds and monster buck mounts on the wall both girls crashed and fell asleep on the couch...

We woke up early and were back at it. Around 9am a lone doe appeared at the extreme edge of the field and being 185 yards away all we could do was watch. She never came closer and eventually dissolved back into the timber. Later that afternoon another forkie buck came out and pranced around at 75 yards knowing he was safe :). Then at 5:10 the same scenario played out again. Mack on the rifle and the excitement/fever/adrenaline took over. She couldn't compose herself to pull a shot off. The two doe were at 75 yards and broadside. I walked her through the shot but it just wasn't meant to be. With legal light still left for two minutes, she proclaimed she couldn't settle down through her frustrated tears. I never took the safety off and her finger never touched the trigger. I was proud of her decision making and reminded her again of how we owe it to the animal to make a clean kill.

Now I don't have access to a scale, all I can do is rely on the "girth" method of measurement. Allies doe measured 42". According to a few different charts that equals 210-212 pounds on the hoof. What a pig.

The moon was out bright again and we didn't even need the headlamps to make the walk out to the truck. Both girls helped carry the gear and we stopped to check the gut piles. The coyotes hadn't found it yet, but the crows had. We slept in the next morning and headed out after breakfast back home and when we pulled in around 4pm the rest of my girls were waiting for us. I am so glad the girls ( wife included) get involved and now all the little ones talk about is hunting with us next year. Lord help me I don't think they make a blind big enough for us all.

There is already talk about finding a place to go "buck hunting" next year.

Just too cool, Pat. Yeah, that is a big doe. I can see how your daughter is proud that she tagged a bigger doe than ol' dad. Your girl that refrained from shooting is to be congratulated. You taught her well, and she made the difficult choice to not shoot. That was such a joy just to read the full account. Bless your girls, and bless you, Pat, for perpetuating the sport.
What a wonderful story. Congratulations to Dad and to both girls - one for a fine shot, and the other for making a wise choice. Thank you for sharing your experience. I really enjoyed reading it.

Congrats to you and your daughter but a big shout out to the daughter who didn't shoot and knew not to! That shows good training dad! Thanks for the story and taking us along on the hunt. Dan.
Aw Man I can't see the key board.... :cry: Tell Mack that those tears are ok. Her time will come. My daughter never did pull the trigger. Decided she didn't need too, but she loves being out and that's what its all about. Sitting here feeling like a heel for feeling sorry for myself, and praying for you all. Keep up the good work Dad. CL
Pat, you’re doing a great job with your girls.

Glad you’re getting them out there hunting!
Pat, wonderful story, enjoyed the read, thank you

and congratulations on everything, a lot of good things happening in your life. good for you
What a great story. Please let the girls know I’m proud of both of them. They’re welcome at my fire anytime.

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Well done Pat. This is a wonderful example of what it is all about.
The Lords richest blessings and Merry Christmas.
Wow, Pat, congratulations to both of your girls and to you! What a great account of your hunt, my wife and I both read it and would like to pass along our blessings to your whole family. Merry Christmas
Hey everyone thanks a bunch for the kind words. I can't express how much these past couple of seasons have expanded my passion for the outdoors. I have pretty much transitioned to that stage where I could care less if I ever punch a tag on a buck/animal again. Just being with the girls while they experience all their firsts is more rewarding than any of my bucks, bulls, etc.....

To watch them absorb everything around them, and then talk about their experiences with people who don't hunt ( most everyone we interact with in Northern Illinois) and listen them describe the hunt down to the smallest detail means the memories are burned deep in their minds.

Makes me smile.
You know that’s a wonderful story that she will always cherish. Thanks for sharing. I for one would rather hear about kids killing their first doe than some “Razor Dobbs” type shooting hogs over his shoulder with a 10mm handgun while flying off a cliff anyday.

Thanks again for sharing!!
That's awesome Pat. Congratulations to you and your girls. They have an awesome coach. And I share your thoughts exactly. It really doesn't matter to me, I rather see my wife and kids tag out too.

Great story Pat and congratulations to both of your daughters.

I must admit I get a bit shaky myself if I can watch game for a long time before the shot presents itself.
I usually hunt from a box stand and use a board parallel to the rifle.
I push the rifle against the board and can take all of my body's shaking out. Maybe that's a setup you might try?
Hard to explain in words, but I can reach out quite far this way.
Oh. Just saw that this is an old one. Well. Anyway. Might work for someone else...