Manitowish Waters youth hunter Alex Danielson, 14, has been hunting deer for three years now. He has seen his share of deer woods success, but the latest is his greatest.
“This is the biggest one,” Alex said of the eight-point, 18-inch spread Mercer area buck he killed Nov. 19, the third day of gun deer season.
“I killed an eight-pointer last year as well and then a spike last year with the bow,” he said.
Alex guessed the weight of the buck he shot this year to be around 180 pounds. It showed up at his ground blind in a popple slashing about 4 p.m.
Alex admits not all of his attention was devoted to searching for deer that afternoon.
“I was sitting in my blind – I have a phone and everything – and I was playing on my phone, playing a game,” Alex said.
“I kind of looked up and I didn’t really see anything, but then I was playing for like another 10 minutes and I looked up an there it was standing ... You know how kids are.”
Phone distraction or not, Alex was ready to react.
“I bring up the gun, get it right ... the sight and everything,” he recalled. “I put it right behind the shoulder and I shot and it jumped up in the air on its back legs. Then it started running forward, and then it like turned back around and started running straight at me, then it ran in a ditch.”
About 10 minutes later, Alex got out of his blind and went to look for the buck. He found it quickly, with the buck having traveled only about 80 to 100 yards after the shot.
The hunting had been slow going into that third day, but Alex’s spot would prove to be productive for the season overall.
“It was the first buck that came in and then my dad, two days later, shot a six-pointer. The two biggest bucks we had coming in we killed. Those were the only two deer we saw for the season,” Alex said.
“I was with my dad when he shot his deer. It was my blind and I let him sit in it.”
Alex registered his buck in the Northwoods Youth Deer Hunting Challenge.
Alex and his dad, Rian Danielson, were hunting out of a friend’s hunting camp. The blind was on FCL land. Alex said he shot his nice buck at a range of about 175 yards. His gun is a .270 Winchester won through the youth challenge in the past.
“I shot two eight-pointers, each year, with that gun,” Alex said.
He has high hopes for this year’s buck.
“I’m hoping to maybe win the contest where the biggest bucks get the head mount,” he said.
“That was a nice deer,” Rian Danielson said of his son’s buck.
“We knew they were back there, it was just a matter of time before we would see one.”
Rian said it’s not quite like it used to be for deer in their area, though. He notices far fewer deer.
“When we first started hunting up there it was nothing to walk right out the cabin and there they were standing. Not anymore,” he said.
Rian said Alex is a good hunter. It’s probably due to the fact that he was introduced to the deer woods at a young age.
“I’ve been taking him out since he was probably ... seven. Seven was probably the first year I took him with me,” Rian said.
“He’s learning the rights and wrongs. Trying to teach him.”
As far as his son’s buck this year, Rian said he’s got dad beat. He also said the weight of Alex’s deer made for a hard drag.
“I didn’t want to drag him any farther than we had to, that’s for sure. That was a chore,” he said.
The buck has been processed, something that Rian said had to be done quickly in the warm temps. He said it wasn’t a bad chore though.
“It’s kind of nice. Guys just sitting out at the camp. Everybody grabs a knife and away you go.”
For now, Alex said he’s doing some bow hunting.
“I’ve only killed the spike (last year) with the bow. I’ve got a five-point coming in and a whole bunch of does, so I’m kind of wondering what I should do.”
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org