Notes from the Trail: Unexpected Tracking Made Youth Hunt Memorable
November 2, was the opening day of youth rifle deer season in Missouri. While checking hunters along the river bottoms on the Overton Bottoms North unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, I came across a youth hunter and her older brother walking back to their vehicle. The youth hunter told me that she shot a big buck but they lost the blood trail. After listening to their story, it sounded like the deer had been gut shot.
The 11-year old youth hunter said, “This is the first deer I've ever shot.” I asked the two to bring me back to where they last found blood. After looking at the deer’s tracks and knowing the experience and memories that go along with shooting your first deer, I wanted to do everything I could to find this buck for this young hunter.
I told them that I was very familiar with these river bottoms and asked if they would mind if I tracked the deer for them. With wet boots and all, the youth hunter smiled and said, “Okay!” With that, the three of us started tracking this wounded buck.
Long story short, more than a mile through the river bottoms, over a railroad track, across a creek and onto a neighboring property, we found her buck.
You think this youth hunter will ever forget this hunting experience? How awesome is that!
-- Wesley Verrill
Refuge Law Enforcement Officer
Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge