Jaydin Eternicka of Rhinelander has had quite a fall in the Northwoods. The 11-year-old has taken three deer this fall, with her most recent being a nice seven-pointer on Nov. 19, the third day of the gun deer season.
Jaydin was hunting with her grandpa, J.R. Eternicka, when she shot the buck. She took the it just shy of 8 a.m. while hunting the woods of Enterprise.
"We were making a drive to my uncle and two friends of my grandpa's," Jaydin explained.
A long way from the truck, Grandpa and Jaydin had been walking ridges and working toward a slashing.
"We were walking a big loop to get to them and we were coming through some trees and me and my grandpa spotted a white belly," Jaydin said.
The white belly was that of a deer that was bedded in the slashing. Jaydin shouldered her .243.
"I shot and he died," Jaydin said. "My grandpa said all he saw was his head flop over."
But there was a surprise to come. The deer's head had been concealed in thick cover when spotted.
"Since there was so much brush, he thought it was a doe, but it turned out to be a seven-pointer," Jaydin said.
She said the deer didn't move when they approached.
"It must have been sleeping our something because it basically just sat there and didn't flinch or anything," Jaydin said. "Me and my grandpa were talking plain as day and it didn't flinch, move, or anything."
Jaydin killed her buck with a shot of about 70 yards.
She said the seven-pointer, which has a 13-1/4-inch inside spread, is going to be mounted.
As far as the field dressing goes, Jaydin is not a big fan of the task.
"I don't even like watching my grandpa gut them," she said. She was hoping to get back out for some more hunting, though.
The seven-pointer is Jaydin's third deer, with all of them coming this year. Earlier this fall she got a doe on the opening weekend of archery season and then another doe during the youth gun deer hunt in early October.
J.R. Eternicka said he had an eye on a seven-pointer that was still in velvet going into the bow opener and hoped Jaydin would get a chance at that buck.
"I was hoping so much that he would come in opening weekend of bow season ... but he never did show up," Eternicka said.
He seemed pretty proud of the seven-pointer that his granddaughter did harvest.
"It was a nice deer, real nice deer," Eternicka said. He guessed his granddaughter's buck weighed somewhere in the 165- 175-pound range.
He recalled the morning hunt with his granddaughter when they spotted the buck. They had just kicked up a couple of deer.
"When we first started making the drive, we heard the brush cracking in front of us ... we got up on a ridge and looked down ... he must have had those two does with him and he was tired, because he was just laying out there in the slashing," Eternicka said.
It's not generally easy to walk up on a bedded buck, but Eternicka said he's done it a few times.
"I've been walking, I like to hunt big swamps and stuff, and before I had grandkids to walk along with me ... I used to get a few bucks bedded down like that," he said.
When Jaydin and Grandpa had come across a tired, bedded buck that morning of gun season they were hunting hard, covering a lot of ground in hope of pushing deer for their standers. As sometimes happens, the drivers got a shooting opportunity.
"We parked the truck and it takes about an hour to walk back and then we start pushing toward them guys," Eternicka said. "You know, kind of roaming the ridges, stuff like that. The slashings too."
Eternicka said this is Jaydin's second year of pursuing whitetails.
"She hunted last year and she got one shot at a doe and that was about it."
Eternicka presented his granddaughter with a friendly little challenge after she took her buck.
"I told her I've got two 14-pointers, now you've got something to shoot for," he said.
Jaydin was the first to enter a deer in the River News Youth Deer Hunting Challenge, which is open to all legal gun deer hunters, including mentored hunters, between the ages of 10 and 17.
Jaydin's seven-pointer, with its 13-1/4-inch spread, scored 20-1/4 points. The highest scoring buck winds the grand prize of a free shoulder mount.
All other entrants, including antlerless entries, are to be included in drawings to win one of two hunting rifles.
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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