Isaac Lung of Arbor Vitae just turned 11, but is quickly gaining experience in the deer woods. Recently, while still several days shy of 11, he took a buck that would make most veteran hunters proud.
Hunting in Vilas County on state forest land, Isaac harvested an eight-point buck with a 15-inch inside spread – his first deer with a bow and his first buck. Isaac registered his deer in the Northwoods Youth Deer Hunt Challenge.
Isaac got into his hanging tree stand and his dad, Sivert Lung, climbed up alongside with his climber the evening of Oct. 27. The deer were moving that evening.
“When we first got there, we sat there ... then there was two does that walked across first, on the other side of the swale we were sitting in, and there was a buck right behind them. But it was too far to shoot, so we just kind of waited and then we saw a couple other deer – they were does – and then we didn’t see anything for a little bit and we were just waiting,” Isaac recalled.
A little later, they would hear a deer approaching, but it would be a while before Isaac got a good look at the deer. When he saw it clearly, he knew it was a big one.
“All of a sudden I could see this deer behind this bush like a hundred yards away, and I couldn’t tell what it was at first, and then it walked out and then it was like, ‘Holy crap, it’s huge,’ and I almost fell out of the tree stand. And then Dad’s like, ‘It’s huge’ and we just sat there and waited for it ... watched it walk up.”
Tense minutes would follow as the big deer slowly made its way toward Isaac’s location.
“It went behind a couple bushes like 20 yards away [then] it just walked right in front of me,” Isaac said. “At first, I couldn’t even draw my bow I was so excited.”
Isaac would muster the strength to draw his bow soon enough, though.
As the eight-pointer walked past, Isaac made a sound similar to the ‘bleat’ of a deer, hoping it would cause the buck to pause. The trick paid off.
“I just ... stopped it. It just, like, froze and I shot it. It kicked its back legs up and just took off,” Isaac said.
It seemed like a solid hit, but the deer was soon out of sight and into thick cover.
“I couldn’t quite see it fall down and Dad couldn’t like quite see where I hit it because he was facing the other way and there were some deer behind us, which I couldn’t really see,” Isaac said.
“And [the buck went] into clear-cut ... I didn’t see where it fell down. So, we decided, because I shot one in the youth hunt – we never found it – we just decided to leave it until the next day,” Isaac said.
Father and son thought a deer lost during the youth hunt could possibly have been recovered had they waited longer before pursuing it. The memory was fresh in their minds. So, they discussed what they were going to do about the arrowed buck as the daylight faded.
After about 40 or 50 yards of trailing and finding no blood sign, they hit the edge of the thick clear-cut, and Sivert thought it was best to wait and follow-up in the morning. A nearly sleepless night would ensue.
“The next day we came and I climbed in the tree stand – to show Dad where I thought it was laying,” Isaac said. “And he just walked over there and I told him where the pine tree where I saw it last was. And he walked over there, and he’s like, ‘Isaac, it’s huge – it’s right over here.’”
It turned out that Isaac had made an excellent shot on the eight-pointer.
“In both lungs and the heart,” he said. “I got it right through the center of one lung, then through the top of the heart and the bottom of the other lung. It only ran 70 yards, but it went behind a bunch of bushes – we couldn’t really see where it was.”
Isaac’s dad on the hunt
Sivert Lung says his son is a patient hunter and is learning. Isaac had missed opportunities earlier in the fall.
“I said, ‘Well, you’ve got to stick with it and just keep practicing.’ He did, and he came through on that one,” Sivert said.
“It was fun. I wish I would have had a chance to see everything – I was kind of pinned down in the tree.”
With deer near him, Sivert was limited in what he could do that night.
“I was sitting there, listening in anticipation, wondering what the heck was going on behind me,” he said.
Isaac was in a hang-on stand, and Sivert used his climber to climb the tree next to Isaac. Though they were right next to each other, Sivert would have needed to stand to see what was going on and couldn’t risk getting busted by the other deer present.
Sivert recalled the most exciting portion of the evening hunt.
“At some point, I heard Isaac say something and I heard ‘huge.’ So, at that point, I tried to turn my head slowly to see if I could see what he was looking at and I got a glimpse of antler and I got a glimpse of body,” he said.
Sivert knew the buck was a nice one, and he froze. After what Sivert said seemed like an hour, the buck had closed the gap and was passing by within range.
“I hear Isaac, he ‘blatted’ and stopped it and I heard his bow go off. The other two deer just sat there, so I turned around to see. With the way the trees were, I couldn’t see anything running. I heard it crashing through the brush.”
Isaac made Sivert a proud father the day he arrowed the nice buck.
“He made a great shot, and I didn’t coach him through it at all. You know, I couldn’t. I was pinned down with the deer on both sides of us.”
Even at his young age, Isaac is familiar with the deer woods. He killed his first deer, a doe, last year during the gun season, shortly after turning 10. Prior to that he had seen how it’s done.
“Deer hunting’s one of my passions in life and he’s spent a lot of time with me in the woods ... he’s seen me shoot several deer,” Sivert said.
As far as Isaac’s savvy move to make a noise to stop the eight-pointer, Sivert said it’s something learned. After turning 10 last year, Isaac missed a chance at a six-pointer as it moved past him.
“He kept replaying it over in his head. And I remember in my mind thinking, ‘Make a noise – stop the deer right there.’ He never did,” Sivert recalled. “I remember saying, ‘Draw your bow,’ but, by that time, that deer had gone through.
“I told him when we got in this spot these deer are just going through they ... don’t have any reason to stay here – you’re going to have to stop them, or you’re not going to get a shot.”
Sivert believes Isaac is “hooked for life” now, and said his son has a few siblings that will potentially follow.
“I’ve got five kids, so I’m trying to figure out, as these guys all get old enough to hunt, how I can hunt and how I can take them with me,” Sivert said.
Sivert was thankful for the NYDHC.
“This contest is really cool. It’s fun to see all the excitement and to see all the kids in the community getting out in the woods. That’s really important I think.”
Isaac and Sivert plan on hitting the woods for the gun deer season.
Craig Turk may be reached at email@example.com