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The velvet buck

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By JOHN L. SLOAN
At 13, you can expect your first bow hunt to have some surprises. A big buck, still with velvet-covered antlers, 15-yards in front of you is not usually one of them. Then add having to hold your bow at full draw, waiting for a smaller buck to move and open up a shot at the vitals of the bigger buck and you have the makings of a story that make campfire rounds for many years.

Arial Pasionek is an eighth grader at Knox Doss Middle School in Hendersonville.

She has a cell phone and a boyfriend, Casey Neighbours who is also a hunter. However, maybe she is not your typical 8th grade girl. I like to do all things outdoors. Arial said, I like hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, you know, outdoors things like that.

"When I am not hunting with my dad, Robert Pasionek or step-grandparents, James and Melissa Warren, I hunt with Casey and his dad Paul Neighbours. I also have one girl friend, Dawn Canterbury and her dad Trent is my dad, James best friend so I hunt with them a lot.

Therefore, it happened that the Arial and dawn and their dads were hunting on Arials step-grandparents property, a piece of deer heaven near Lynnville, KY on the opening weekend of Kentuckys deer archery season.

As is often the case with teenagers, the girls probably stayed up a tad late and as a result, could not wake up the next morning. They slept in and missed the morning hunt.

Trent Neighbours killed a doe and that got them wide-awake and ready to go get the deer from the woods. It also got them amped for the afternoon hunt.

That afternoon, they decided Arial would hunt the Middle Stand.

I wanted to hunt the North Bottom stand where we had pictures of deer from the trail cameras, said Arial. Instead, my step-grandmother and I walked to the Middle Stand and we were drenched with sweat by the time we got there. It was so hot, 100 degrees and so humid and I was scared that might spook the deer.

The Warrens land has become a hunting paradise for the family and friends. Aerial, prior to killing the big buck has killed five other deer with a variety of equipment. Her first buck and doe were killed in October of 2009, with a shotgun and slug. Her second doe was killed with a TenPoint crossbow. Her second buck was killed with a .270 and then another doe with an AR-15. How is that for versatility when you are younger than 13? Obviously, that experience was to help as events played out that afternoon.

For the first couple hours we just sat and sweated. I was about ready to take a short power nap when my step-grandmother whispered, Buck, nice buck. You might want to shoot this one. I woke up fast.

I saw he was a for sure, shooter buck, still in velvet and I watched as he slowly made his way in range.

Then, I saw a second smaller buck, a four-pointer that I would not shoot.

Just as the bigger buck got inside 15 yards where I felt confident could shoot him, the smaller buck got in the way. At last, I had a shot and I pulled my bow back and the smaller buck got his head in the way again, just covering the vitals. I had to stay at full draw for like 15-seconds but it was happening so fast, I didnt really get nervous. Finally the smaller buck lowered his head and I shot.

When I released the arrow, all I heard was a loud pop. I was so excited and so was my step-grandmother. We got out of the blind and started looking for blood but couldnt find any even though it was a complete pass through shot. I tried to get a cell phone signal but we were too far back in the woods. We started walking to where everyone was supposed to meet. I and saw my dad heading for his truck. I signaled him that I had shot a deer and he started getting all excited. Finally, everyone gathered up and I learned that Dawn had shot a doe but could not find her. I was sad for her. I wish she had found her deer. She was both sad and mad.

They had Max, the tracking dog with them so we went to look for my deer. I was starting to get worried but they all kept encouraging me. It was getting dark and when we put Max on the trail, he just took off and we could not keep up with him. We quickly lost him so we kept calling and looking. We heard a little rustle in the leaves and walked that way.

"I saw the white belly on my deer and knew it was he. I ran to him and held him up for everyone to see. They were all so happy and proud he was so big. He only went about 80 yards, we just couldnt find him in the dark.

"I asked her how her friends at school felt about her hunting and her great buck. The boys at school were mostly cool with my buck. The girls didnt like it much. None of my female friends hunts except Dawn

Arials first buck with a bow is one any bowhunter would be proud to claim.

In fact, any deer killed with a bow is trophy in my opinion and I have hunted all across the U.S. and Canada and killed plenty of deer.

If Arial is any indication, the future of hunting is in good hands.

Contact John L. Sloan at bowriter1944john@aol.com

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