Virginia's Youth Deer Hunt took place a couple weekends ago, and my son Brett and I travelled to Virginia's Eastern Shore for the hunt. Along with good numbers of deer, the shore is home to my stepmother Linda and other members of our eastern shore "family."
Brett's buddy "AB" got to hunt for the first time ever, and - while neither young man took a deer - we had a great time, as we always do when we go "off 13" in Northampton County.
The highlight of the hunt for Brett and myself came when deer emerged just before dark on Saturday. In a 10-minute time period that seemed like a lifetime Brett decided to pass on a small spike as well as a doe with a fawn. Both deer passed within 10 yards of us as Brett does a great job of being still and quiet in the woods.
Deer also tend to be less aware during the Youth Hunt than at any other time during Virginia's long deer season. They haven't been hunted yet, and it's always a great opportunity for kids to get a shot at a first deer or buck before the deer realize it's hunting season! Brett took his first deer - a doe - at the age of eight on the Youth Deer Weekend two years ago. My son Jake also got his first deer during the youth hunt way back in 2011.
The trip would have been worth it even if we hadn't seen a single deer. Hard to believe it's been more than 15 years since I first travelled to my dad's farm on Virginia's eastern shore and even harder to believe it's been more than seven years since we lost him. I'm so grateful to Linda that we still have a home there and it's always such a great feeling when we see our friend AB and other members of his family coming across the field to greet us. I know I don't get there often enough, but God knows I surely try.
With no meat to rush to the freezer, Brett and I were able to take our time on the return trip, stopping for lunch at the Fisherman's Crab Deck just east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
It's bow season now (even if it does feel like the middle of summer) so it'll be awhile before Brett can take to the woods again with the Thompson Center Impact muzzleloader. When he does though, hopefully this will be the year Brett gets his buck!