Austin Hunting
2006-2007

They make it fun!


In the food plot - Right after shot

Deer: 8 pt.
Weight: 165 lbs.
Date: January 28, 2007
Time: Afternoon - 4:55 pm
Location: Morgan County
Weapon: Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 75 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 80 yards
Stand: Shooting House
Hunters: Austin and Jeff Smith (Kim and Amber at another field)


It was an exciting afternoon - the best afternoon in 20+ years of hunting! Austin and I hunted one food plot - Kim and Amber hunted another plot. We arrived at the shooting house around 3:30pm and setup for the afternoon. It was 36 degrees outside but the shooting house was a toasty 70 degrees when we opened the door (it has a thermometer on the wall). The sun heats up the windows and keep it warm inside. This is not a normal shooting house. It has a full size door and four full size windows like in a house. It's 12' off the ground and on a great two acre plot. This is the same plot we hunted a couple of weeks ago and saw a nice buck after it was to late to shoot. I think it was the same buck as this afternoon. At 4:50pm, Kim sent me a text message that said, "Two Doe". I responded with "Cool" - just as I hit send - Austin whispered "buck". I looked at him and he was looking hard to the left. When we first arrived, I opened the right window in front of him but the wind was blowing the camo netting out the window. I knew if the netting was blowing out - so was our scent. I shut all the windows. The buck immediately started to feed. I eased the left window up and Austin propped on the window sill. The buck was 75 yards away and feeding directly toward us. I told Austin to wait until it turned broadside. He was shaking like a leaf - I could see his right hand just quivering After several minutes - with the buck still standing facing us - the buck looked to his right at something in the pines. I could tell he was about to leave. Either it was a doe or another buck - either was he was about to head that way. I got over 3,000 pictures this year on my trail cameras - Austin and I have looked at hundreds of pictures of deer in every possible angle and he'd tell me where to shoot them. With the deer standing straight on, he kept telling me he could make the shoot but I wanted a broadside shot. With him shaking and the deer at 75 yards, the more room for error the better. Well, now it's time for a tough decision - the deer is probably about to leave. If the deer runs off and he don't get a shot - I'd feel terrible. It was a no risk shot, either he hit him in the good stuff or completely missed - no way for a gut shot. I told him to shoot if he felt comfortable with the shot. It didn't take long for him to make a decision - he pulled the trigger and the deer jumped way up in the air and ran off. He went about 80 yards into the pines. Austin made a perfect shot - he hit the deer in the base of the neck and the bullet buried up in the front shoulder. When we found the deer, man was Austin excited! We were both jumping around like crazy people. We managed to get the deer back to the food plot for some pictures and waited in the shooting house for dark.

Amber and Kim were still hunting. I sent Kim a text message and picture of Austin's deer - she said congrats! Their afternoon was about to get real exciting! Click
HERE for information on Amber's hunt.


Austin Smith - Age 9

Deer: Buck
Weight: 50 lbs.
Date:
November 12, 2006
Time: 4:40pm
Location: Morgan County, AL
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 90 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 10 yards
Stand: Ground Blind - Sniper Blind
Hunters: Austin and Jeff

November 13th (Sun-PM) - Austin got his first deer!  We hunted on the farm.  I'd been seeing a few deer come out in this field in the late afternoon.  The wind was good for a ground blind at the opposite side of the field.  When we arrived and setup, we had nothing to lean back against.  Austin stayed on his knees the whole time hunkered behind the blind - I laid back in the briars and looked out one of the holes in the blind.  At 4:30, Austin was looking out a hole in the blind and pointed toward the field.  A deer came out from the opposite side and was looking around.  We were very still until the deer had settled down and started to feed.  When we first setup, I shot the opposite side with a range finder and it was 110 yards.  That's a long shot for him.  The deer was at 90 yards.  I eased the rifle up on the shooting sticks and he took over.  I was holding one leg of the shooting sticks and the barrel was two feet left of my ear just slightly forward.  I had to decide to cover my ear or hold the shooting sticks steadier - I held the shooting sticks - I still hear a ringing in my left ear :)  It took him a good minute, seemed like an eternity, to shoot.  He said later that he couldn't get the crosshairs to stop moving - every time it would the deer would walk a little.  He shot and the deer went maybe 10 feet.  It was a perfect shot through both shoulders!  We were excited - high fives and acting stupid.  It's always a lot of fun hunting with the kids - it's a joy to see all his hard work pay off.  He's spent countless hours in the woods hunting with me and Amber.  It's good to see him get his first deer.  I wore an autographed Dale Earnhardt, Jr orange hat - he said that must be the lucky charm :)  I've told him over the last few years that I always thank God every time I see a deer and when I harvest one.  As we walked out of the field, he said, "Thank-you God for giving me this deer". He's learning.


Notice the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. autographed hat - this was the first time I wore it

Austin got his face done up on his first deer :)


September 22nd (Fri) – Amber and I attended the North Jackson vs. Priceville football at North Jackson. After the game, we drove the travel trailer at the hunting camp to spend the night.  Saturday morning, a member of the club dug several septic systems for the camp including ours.  We now have septic system complete with field lines.  It's basically the same as in a house just a little smaller scale.


This is Austin's gun hunting combination:

Remington Model 7 243Win - Leupold 2x7 33mm - Nosler 85gr Partition

 


Austin Hunting

2005-2006

December 3rd - I have several pictures to post - will do so in the next couple of days.


Austin Hunting
2004-2005

The kids love the face paint :)


November 26: We hunted the double ladder stand - saw zero deer. 

The love the new boots!

In the Double Ladder Stand

They can't hunt without face paint :)


December 17: We hunted out of an old barn - saw zero deer.

Going to get busy!

It was cold!


December 26: Hunted the Blue Shooting House on a friends land.  Saw three deer - two bucks and one not sure of probably a doe.  The two bucks were 1.5 year old deer - one was a spike and the other a 4 point.  They only shoot mature bucks on this land and we let them walk - to Ambers protest :)


December 29: We hunted the double ladder stand - saw 3 deer but no luck. 

In the Double Ladder Stand


2004 Amber

Amber Smith - Age 11

Deer: Doe
Weight: 120 lbs.
Date:
January 2, 2005
Time: Afternoon - 5:00pm
Location: Morgan County
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 220 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 150 yards
Stand: None
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff

January 5: The kids asked to go hunting last Friday and Saturday, however they didn’t get to hunt due to karate and other functions.  We hunted on Sunday afternoon and the weather was very hot.  Gnats and mosquitoes were out!  The deer sightings have been very low this year.  I have one double ladder stand to carry them hunting in and it has been unproductive.  I decided we’d try hunting off the ground over-looking a bean field.  Three people hunting off the ground without a shooting house or blind is not suppose to work, however the “standard” style of hunting wasn’t working.  We gambled and it paid off.  A small deer came out and I shot it with the range finder – 216 yards.  Another small deer came out and then a big doe behind the other two.  She shot the doe at 220 yards.  Not bad for an 11-year old girl :)  She shoots like Austin not her dad.  It seems like she and I can’t get an easy shot this year!! 

We had a hard time finding blood in the field.  I was watching the deer in binoculars at the shot and could tell it was a good hit.  I walked into the woods looking for the deer while the kids stayed in the field looking for blood.  As I eased into the woods, I could hear deer moving in the distance.  I figured it was the two small deer and the big one was down.  I walked right up on the big one and it jumped up.  I left the gun, unloaded, in the field.  It's dangerous to be bent over with a rifle on your back when looking for blood.  I unloaded it and removed the bolt.  The deer had bedded down 100 yards from the field - when I jumped it she hobbled over the edge of some huge rocks.  I marked the spot and we left.  I went back in 3-4 hours with Jim and we looked for several hours without finding the deer.  The next day my dad had neck surgery and I couldn't look for the deer.  The following day, I found the deer amongst the rocks.  It had traveled 50 or so yards from where I last saw it.  The shot was just above the lungs in that vacant area above the lungs but below the spine.  A larger caliber would've put enough shock to the spine to drop it where it stood.

About 45 minutes after I took this picture, Amber shot the deer at 220 yards off the shooting sticks.

The weather was hot and the meat ruined - I cut the tail off for Amber


 2004 Deer

Deer: 6pt.
Weight: 150 lbs.
Date:
January 14, 2005
Time: Afternoon - 5:10pm
Location: Morgan County
Weapon:
Remington Model 700
Scope: Zeiss 2.5x10x50mm
Caliber: 270Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 130gr.
Range: 95 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 0 yards
Stand: None
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff

January 14: We hunted in an old barn. We'd been there awhile and Amber moved her hand like seeing a deer.  If one of us sees or hears something, we hold our hand out flat.  That may seem strange but I learned to improvise with two kids :)  She thought she saw a deer earlier but it wasn't - she said she was hallucinating :)  This time Austin saw it too - I was looking down the opposite side and couldn't see it - I was behind them.  After I saw it, she moved the rifle to the edge of the barn and waited for the deer to turn sideways.  I could tell it was nervous about something (not us) and was about to take off.  She had a hard quartering toward shot but with the 270 and partition bullets, I knew it do the job if she made a good shot.  It was 95-100 yards and I told her to take the shot when she was ready.  She made a perfect shot and the deer never took a step.  The bullet entered in front of the shoulder and exited in front of the opposite ham.  That girl can shoot!  According to her mothers side of the family, Daniel Boone is a distant relative - I thought it was hawg wash but it may be true.  Her and Austin can both out shoot me :)  She loved that "big gun" as she calls it and put in a order for a 270 for next year.  I may get her one and pass the 243 Win to Austin.  She also wants a Zeiss VM scope - that will not happen until she gets a job and buys it with her own money :)  I decided to carry the 270 for her as I feared a long shot and the 243 Win loaded with a light load didn't work well on her 200+ yard shot.  She's out grown that light load in distance. 

 

Austin claims to be Amber's Good Luck Charm - I'm a believer!

Two Happy Kids - Dad too!

Austin is always as happy about Amber's deer as she is - notice were the shot hit - it exited in front of the opposite ham - perfect angle!

Austin has perfected the picture technique - hold antlers away from body and with finger tips at base - he makes me proud :)

Austin grew antlers :)


2003-2004


On November 1st, Amber harvested her first deer.  She shot a doe in the morning and button head-spike in the afternoon.  She likes the word spike better :)  It was great!  I've shot a few deer over the years and this was my favorite hunt of all time!  She's still smiling ... well we both are :)  The doe was great because it was her first deer.  She made a perfect shot and showed a lot of patience.  The doe was special because it was in the woods.  IMO, it takes a lot more savvy and skill to harvest a deer in the woods than out of a shooting house like the spike.  I'm very proud of her - the shooting this summer paid off and she humanly harvested both deer with great shots.  When she was looking at the doe lying on the ground -  she said she was happy and sad - happy she got it but sad it gave it's life - she said she thanked God for the deer and the deer for giving it's life.  It's good she understands the difference between shooting orange dots and a living, breathing animal.  The afternoon hunt was special because Austin was there and saw the whole thing.  They're Big Buddies - he was very excited for her.  They've both gone deer hunting with me since they were 3-years old but I wouldn't let them hunt deer until they turned 10-years old.  Austin's not pleased he has 4 more years to wait.

We worked up a reduced load for her gun over the summer and she shot a lot.  She loaded the shells she's hunting with - I watched but she did all the work.  She likes the fact that she worked up the different test loads, tested the load sets and picked one.  She has her own shooting log with all the test sets and information.  She's now shooting the shells she loaded by herself.  Before loading the shells into the magazine, she checks that the primer is seated correctly and shakes to make sure it has powder in it - she's learning fast :)

Her biggest challenge now is finding a way to talk her mother out of going to school and hunting with me - I'm all for it but mom (being a teacher) want budge.  Kim was as excited as all of us about the deer - she called like a dozen people from camp to tell them about the deer.

I can't wait to carry Amber again - I'm going to hook her up with some black powder hunting in a couple of weeks.  She can handle 80 grains of powder - which is plenty for out to 75 yards.

We both are very thankful for the deer!


2003 Deer

Amber Smith - Age 10

Deer: Doe
Weight: 120 lbs.
Date:
November 1, 2003
Time: 7:30am
Location: Minor Hill, TN
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 40 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 60 yards
Stand: Ladder Stand
Hunters: Amber and Jeff


Amber's first deer!! We headed out at first light for the hunt.  She hunted out of a ladder stand and I hung a loc-on stand along side and sat in the loc-on.  Around 7:30am, we saw several deer in a dry creek bed a 100 or so yards below us.  The deer started up the hill toward our stand.  Amber turned in the seat to get a prop for the shot - the first deer walked to 50-yards and stopped broadside ... she didn't shoot.  I wasn't sure why but kind of nudged her and she kept waiting.  The deer took a few stepped and stopped again.  She shot and the deer ran down the hill and crashed.  She said it was behind a tree the first time it stopped.  She made a perfect shot right through the heart.  I don't know who was more excited me or her.  Amber weighs 65 lbs. and the doe 120 lbs. ... kind of strange.  It was a great day!


2003 Deer


Deer:
Spike
Weight: 75 lbs.
Date:
November 1, 2003
Time: 5:00pm
Location: Minor Hill, TN
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 75 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 40 yards
Stand: Shooting House
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff
 

After Amber harvested the doe in the morning, she asked if Austin could go with us in the afternoon.  The three of us hunted a food plot that afternoon.  Before leaving to hunt, Amber went through all the possibilities of what she planned to do - she could only shoot two deer for the weekend and since it was Saturday afternoon ... she said she's shoot a big doe if it was really late and a buck at any time.  She wasn't going to shoot a doe early in the afternoon and end her hunt.  Around 4:45, this buck came out in the far end of the field a little over 100 yards away.  She put the rifle out the window and decided to shoot him.  As soon as the safety went off ... Austin stuck his fingers in his ears - he's been down that road before :)  She waiting like 10 minutes for him to turn close to broadside and shot him perfect - right in the top of the heart and broke the opposite shoulder on the way out.  The deer ran 40 yards and fell in front of us.  Austin yelled, "You got him!" and they high fived and did a little dance.  They were both very excited - It was really cool!

 

 


2003 Deer

Deer: Doe
Weight: 130 lbs.
Date:
November 28, 2003
Time: 4:30pm
Location: Minor Hill, TN
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 30 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 40 yards
Stand: Shooting House
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff
 

Amber, Austin and I hunted in Tennessee on the afternoon of November 28th.  It was very cold with a 20+ mph wind out of the North.  We hunted out of an old pump house overlooking a small food plot.  During the summer, we put some braces under the walls, nailed up some plywood and put some pallets on the floor.  It's definitely not a  Hilton!  Only two chairs would fit in the house and Austin was sitting in my lap.  They were bundled up with like six layers of clothes - the wind chill was around 25 degrees.  The wind was blowing the sage grass on the opposite side of the field and Amber was seeing what she thought was deer all afternoon.  She pointed to a spot across the field and motioned that she might see some deer.  I looked toward her to see exactly where she was looking and saw three deer walk up beside the shooting house only 15 yards away.  The plywood is to high for her to see out that window - I point at the deer and she thought I'd seen the deer across the field.  When she realized that the deer were right outside the window, we both had the same thought, "These deer are too close!"  Austin could see the deer from my lap but Amber had to stand up.  She moved real slow and finally got up for a shot after the deer had got in the field.  She shot the doe perfect, breaking the entry shoulder and it ran 40 yards before crashing at the edge of the field.  She shot three deer in the month of November with all perfect shots breaking a shoulder going in or coming out. We hunted Saturday and Sunday afternoon in Morgan county with no luck.  She missed a long shot at a coyote yesterday - I think that showed her misses can happen. 

 


2003 Deer

Deer: 5 pt.
Weight: 190 lbs.
Date:
December 15, 2003
Time: Afternoon
Location: Morgan County
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 22 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 0 yards
Stand: Shooting House
Hunters: Amber Smith, Austin Smith, Jim Childers and Jeff Smith

An interesting afternoon to say the least!  We arrived at the shooting house around 3:30pm - it was a beautiful day with bright sunny skies and the temperature around 50 degrees.  Both kids had been up late the night before and it wasn't long until Austin was piled up in the corner asleep.  Amber started to doze off and took a nap while Jim and I watched for deer.  It was a perfect afternoon to hunt a food plot, the weather had been messy the last several days and had cleared off around lunchtime; however not a single deer entered the plot until the last moments of the hunt.  It was very late when 4 bucks walked into the plot from almost directly under the shooting house.  Jim saw the first deer and said it was a buck.  Amber saw two more and Jim looked through the binoculars to pick out the biggest buck.  He told Amber to shoot the one on the far right.  She got the deer in the scope but it was facing away from her.  Jim told her not to shoot and when it turned broadside he got the S and H of shoot out when she shot.  She hit it in the shoulder breaking the entry shoulder and existing in the neck.  The deer hit never took a step.  Austin sleep through the whole thing - the shot didn't wake him up :)  My first buck was a button head in Paint Rock Valley and the second a 5 pt in Morgan County - Amber's first buck was a button head in Tennessee and the second a 5 pt in Morgan County - kind of strange.

Two Happy Kids

190 lbs +

Shooting House


2003 Deer

Deer: Doe
Weight: 120 lbs.
Date:
January 1, 2004
Time: Afternoon
Location: Morgan County
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 150 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 40 yards
Stand: Double Ladder Stand
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff

Deer: Button Head
Weight: 70 lbs.
Date:
January 1, 2004
Time: Afternoon
Location: Morgan County
Weapon:
Remington Model 7
Scope: Leupold VXII 2x7 33mm
Caliber: 243Win
Bullet: Nosler Partition 85gr.
Range: 160 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 20 yards
Stand: Double Ladder Stand
Hunters: Amber, Austin and Jeff

 

It seems to always be feast or famine in Morgan County ... with a lot more famine than feast!  Amber, Austin and I were hunting a double ladder stand on the edge of a field.  We hadn't seen a single deer and darkness was fast approaching - we had maybe three or four minutes of hunting time remaining.  I looked down the edge of the field and saw a deer walk out.  Amber slowly moved the rifle to rest on the edge of the stand.  She had a good rest and took the shot at the deer broadside.  The deer was 150 yards away and in very low light.  The deer turned and ran back into the cutover.  Just then 6 or 7 more deer ran out into the field.  We were not sure if she hit the first deer so she shot at another one.  I saw this one fall down - get back up and run off.  We waited a few minutes and then quietly looked for a blood trail in the field.  We found two blood trails and marked them.  It had been drizzling/raining on us all afternoon.  I don't like to leave a blood trail with rain in the area but when a deer runs off after being shot with a rifle ... I don't like to push it either.  The blood looked good - lots of it and thin like a lung or heart shot.  We left the field and headed home.  I called Jim Childers to see if he could help with the tracking - two blood trails can be tough if they cross and these appeared to cross.  The four of us went back to the field on my 4-wheeler and started tracking the first deer - she only ran 40 yards and was shot perfect - through both lungs.  We drug her out to the field and then started on the second one - he barely made it out of the field after a perfect shot through both lungs.  Jim said he'd help Amber track her deer anytime :)  Two perfect shots of 150+ yards in extremely low light - last summer I gave her shooting lessons ... this summer she may give me shooting lessons :)

The weather was tough all afternoon - they begged to go hunting even though it was damp and rainy.  Amber's coveralls are very good.  They're a miniature set of adult coveralls - I got them on sale from Cabela's - they're normally $150.00 and this summer they had them for $80.  Little man was not so fortunate - he and I got a little wet.  He had on a water proof hat and said, "At least my brain will be dry."  :)

Little Man has been with Amber for 5 of the 6 deer she's harvested this year ... he claims to be her good luck charm :)

This picture was made just before we left to get the 4-wheeler - he's mad because he wanted to start tracking right away - turns out he would've made the right call :)


Amber and Austin Hunting 2004-05

Amber and Austin Hunting 2003-04


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