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Online Articles

Smell The Bullet

by Paige Lott | Sep 19, 2011

Paige Lott's Trophy Buck 

I’m 8 years old and have been hunting with my dad for five years in South Texas. It’s a time that I look forward to each year. Ever since I started hunting, I wanted to kill my first deer. Well, the time had finally come! This would be the year I would be allowed to hunt for a doe.

On my first hunting trip in November, I had the opportunity to kill a doe. A doe came out and I was able to get a good shot. I took the shot and the doe ran off. My dad and I waited for about 30 minutes and went to look for her.

We found blood on the ground, but she ran off into some thick brush. I was a little nervous to go and help my dad find her. My dad looked for a while, but was unable to locate the doe. He decided to call my uncle and other lease hunters to help find her.

With everyone’s help, we were able to locate the deer. Later that morning at camp, Mr. Mike, one of the lease hunters, asked me if I thought I missed the deer. I told him that I thought I had because she ran off. Mr. Mike told me that there is a guaranteed way to know for sure that you’ll find a deer after you shoot it. I was all ears and ready to hear this tip. He said after you shoot, remove the empty bullet from the gun and “smell the bullet.” He said that if you can smell the burnt gunpowder, then you would be able to find your deer.

On the morning of Dec. 28, there were only a couple of management bucks still left to shoot for our ranch’s management plan. The weather that morning was drizzly. My dad wanted to stay at camp, but I begged him to go hunting. So, he decided we would go to the closest deer stand to camp. After a couple hours of seeing several bucks and does, my dad and I watched a buck coming up the sendero towards us.

As the buck got closer, I noticed that it only had nine points and it looked to be an older deer. I leaned over to my dad and asked him, “Are you going to shoot it?” My dad did not say anything and kept looking at the deer through his binocular. What was about to happen next made this day one of the best days of my life!
My dad put down his binocular and he reached for what I thought would be his gun. To my surprise, he picked up my gun and asked me, “Do you think you can shoot the deer?” I told him that I was thinking of asking him if I could try to shoot the buck. He positioned the gun out the window for me and I got in his lap.

I put the crosshairs behind the buck’s shoulder. I told my dad that I was ready to shoot. He eased the safety off for me and told me that when I felt comfortable, to go ahead and squeeze the trigger. So I took a deep breath, and squeezed the trigger.

When the gun fired, I saw the buck take off running. At that time, my dad told me to stand up. He quickly grabbed his binocular. I was really upset thinking I had just missed my chance at my first big buck. While my dad was looking for the deer, I remembered the words of wisdom from Mr. Mike.

I kept telling my dad, “Give me the bullet.” I knew if I could just “smell the bullet,” then I would know for sure if we would find the buck. My dad finally gave me the bullet. He continued looking through the binocular as I continued to smell the bullet. After smelling the bullet, I told him, “No need to worry, we will find him.” However, my dad did not seem too convinced. Approximately 30 minutes went by, my dad called my uncle and asked him to come to where we were hunting.

When my uncle showed up, we got out of the deer stand and my dad and uncle started looking for the deer. It took them less than two minutes to find him. I was so excited. I could not wait to get back to camp and show Mr. Mike my deer. I give a special thanks to my dad for taking me hunting, my Uncle Allen for helping us find my first buck, and last but not least, Mr. Mike for the tip that I will always use—“just smell the bullet!”



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