Dan Geddings: Adrianna's buck


The rifle was in her hands now, and she could feel her heart beating. The excitement of the moment was almost overwhelming. Adrianna had only been an observer before. She had been many times with her dad and her brother. Now it was different. It was a buck, and she was the shooter.

Her brother, John Martin, was at her side. He reminded her to breathe, to calm down and squeeze the trigger slowly. At the shot, the deer just stood there for a moment. Then, it turned and ran out into the field. It stopped, then began walking toward the wood line.

Adri was shooting her dad's gun, a 243, and felt that something was wrong with the rifle. She had been practicing and knew that she was a good shot, but the deer had shown no sign of being hit. John Martin knew that she was excited and had seen her shaking before the shot. He thought that the shot had went high. He knew his rifle was dead on, and he handed the 270 to Adrianna.

She had taken the first shot straight out the front window of the blind, when the buck was 60 or 70 yards away. Now the deer had walked to the right, and she had to move to the window on the right side to get another shot. The blind was a little tight, and it took some effort for them to get repositioned, but they managed. The buck stopped at the edge of the woods, and Adrianna got settled, found the buck in the scope and took another shot.

This time the deer put its head down and took off down the side of the field. It only went a short distance and dropped into the tall grass. Adrianna was elated!

Before the hunt, she had washed her camo clothes in scent-free detergent, but they had not dried thoroughly when John Martin came by to pick her up. She put the clothes in a bag and wore her "street" clothes to the woods. They parked on the edge of the woods and checked the wind direction before deciding which stand to hunt. They selected a tower stand about 300 yards away. John Martin gave his sister a set of camo coveralls to put on over her regular clothes. The coveralls were too large and bulky. Adrianna had worked up a sweat before they got to the stand.

They had been in the stand about an hour before the deer came out. It stopped in the corn pile and faced them straight on. They didn't have binoculars and thought it was a doe. Adrianna did not want to shoot a doe for her first deer. She wanted a buck. When John Martin looked at the deer through his scope, he could see that it was a four-point buck, and he urged Adri to take it. She wanted a bigger buck but realized this might be her best chance at a deer. They debated the situation for about 15 minutes, while the buck just stood there eating corn. Adri finally decided to take the shot.

Now they had a deer down, and Adrianna was anxious to go to it, but John Martin advised her to give it some time, to make sure it was down for good. The sun had gone down and the shadows were creeping across the field when they got down from the stand. They had a little trouble finding the deer out in the tall brown grass, but they finally spotted the white belly shining in the last light of the day.

John Martin left Adri in the gathering darkness with the deer while he went to get the truck. When he approached the truck, he could see eyes shining in the edge of the woods. At first, he thought it was raccoons or something small but realized it was a group of larger critters. His light finally illuminated a pack of coyotes. He pulled out his handgun and fired a shot into the air. They all ran but one. He aimed at that one and fired again. It ran.

Adrianna heard the shots ring out in the darkness and wondered what going on. She was relieved to see headlights coming, and John Martin drove right up to her and the deer. He told her about the coyotes as they loaded the deer. Adri didn't like the coyotes being around, but now, she had a buck.

Email Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com.