Allie Schuster is 13 and an eighth-grader at DeForest Middle School. Allie is my grandniece and I try to emphasize to her that I am her “great” uncle. Allie really likes basketball, volleyball and to give me a hard time.
Until this past November, when Allie sat with her father, Shane Schuster, who is a longtime member of The Red Brush Gang, it did not look like she would be interested in deer hunting.
Allie did not hunt, but sat in a tree stand with her dad and did not see a deer.
Earlier this month, I took Allie on Wisconsin’s Youth Deer Hunt to my good friends Ben and Angie Gruber’s farm in Wood County near Auburndale.
Friday, Oct. 6
High 62, low 44
So here is the deal. Yesterday I came here and set up my Eskimo Fat Shack, which in reality is a 13-foot-by-7-foot turkey blind style ice fishing shack. Allie and I would be camping in that. I also put a portable stand next to a ladder stand, which is in a wooded natural funnel between two fields.
My daughter, Selina, and I hunted here last year and she harvested an 8-point buck and a mature doe. Here is what put a big, wet twist on this weekend. From 2 p.m. Friday until midnight Saturday, 4 inches of rain would fall. On Thursday, I put an umbrella above our stand, and that literally saved the weekend, along with a large tarp over the Fat Shack.
Saturday, Oct. 7
High 60, low 46
Allie and I were sitting in the stand an hour before daylight. I rubbed cow manure all over the base or our tree. Allie did not like it when I put my hands an inch from her nose.
My young hunter is using my BAR 30:06 and she started her first hunt by having me teach her to aim the gun in the five best directions that a deer might come from. Allie would do this once an hour over the next two days and it really makes a difference when a deer does show up.
It was raining. Allie was wearing chest waders and a rain jacket, as was I. The real lifesaver was the umbrella. We were hunting directly over a creek and had quite the laugh when a rabbit approached and made a lame attempt at jumping the creek and went completely underwater before swimming to shore.
We did not see a deer and went back to camp, where we had fresh bear steaks for lunch from Selina’s bear and then took a snooze.
This evening we did not see a deer but had a mother otter and her five young swim directly underneath us. It was very cool to watch them in the pouring rain.
Sunday, Oct. 8
High 72, low 51
The rains were gone as we walked to our stand underneath the stars with very high hopes. As usual, Allie and I gave each other a verbal jab at every opportunity, and as it was getting light, without being told, Allie was aiming her gun in various directions.
At 7 a.m., Allie gave me a light jab and I looked to my right. Not 20 feet away was a 7-point buck about to cross the creek. It appeared to see us and Allie could not aim the BAR as the buck was staring right at us.
This experience lasted about 8 minutes.
The deer had us busted and began trotting through the woods.
At 50 yards, the buck stopped broadside and offered a perfect shot.
Allie could not find it with her scope and mildly panicked.
When the buck started trotting again she saw it, followed it with her scope and I told her she could shoot if she felt good about her shot. At 70 yards, Allie took her first shot at a deer, the only deer that we saw while hunting.
We did not know it until we walked up to her first buck, but she had shot right through a tree that was next to the deer, and made a perfect shot on an awesome 7-pointer with a very heavy body.
Allie Schuster is hooked. She will be a Red Brush Hunter!