Blake’s Resolve
May 8, 2018
Editorial Staff (217 articles)
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Blake’s Resolve

Young hunter overcomes injury to finally take his trophy buck

By Steve Blanchard

October 2016 was the start of Blake Blanchard’s quest to find his first buck with a bow. It didn’t take long to find a mature deer that we thought was a good deer to remove from the pasture, and would be good for a 12-year-old bow hunter. Blake and I hunted hard for the next month and a half in hopes of taking the deer, but had no luck. We went to a tower stand to see if the buck was still in the area, and he was.

After filming him the second time that year, we viewed it back at the house with the other lease members. After studying the deer some more, we decided it might be best to give him another year to ensure his age. Blake was a little disappointed, but he knows our strict harvest policies. This would give him more time to practice with his bow, more time to pattern the deer, and most important, the buck gets a chance to get bigger.

In September 2017 the deer reappeared in the same area, but had grown to an 11 point with a split brow tine. Blake was so excited the first day he saw a game camera picture of the deer. A couple days before Thanksgiving, Blake and I had just finished filling some feeders with the seed tender when another hunting buddy came by. He asked if Blake wanted to go riding around with him in his truck, an older model Ford F-150 extended cab with rear suicide doors.

A turn for the worse

After completing the work, Blake accepted the invitation and tried to get in the back seat. The driver opened the rear door for him. Blake stepped forward to get in, but before he could, the truck started rolling. The driver quickly realized he hadn’t put it into park. He jumped back in the driver’s seat to hit the brake, but in a moment of panic hit the gas instead. The truck took off.

Blake got pushed into the corner of the seed tender, spinning him, and throwing him to the ground under the truck. The truck ran over his legs, crossing around his knees. Eventually the driver stopped the truck and I rushed to my son. He had a 3-inch hole in his upper thigh and would not let us touch his legs. He wanted to get on his feet quickly, but he couldn’t put any pressure on his legs.

The EMTs met us in the town of San Diego, and they quickly advised us Blake needed to go to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. My wife jumped in the helicopter as I sped to meet them in Corpus Christi. Upon arriving the doctors had already preformed an MRI and CAT scan. Thankfully there was no internal bleeding. He needed 18-20 internal stitches, along with 20 or so external stitches on his thigh. The x-ray of his legs showed he had not broken a single bone. It was a gift from above.

Back in the saddle

Before leaving, Blake asked the doctor if it was OK for him to go back to the ranch, which took his mom and me by surprise. “As long as you take it slow, get rest, and can take the pain, its fine by me,” the doctor said. At this point I realized either my kid is way tougher than me, or his passion for deer hunting was far greater than mine. Either way, he impressed us with his resolve to hunt his deer.

The next day we had to build a pop-up blind in a different spot in order for me to carry him in and out. He could move, just not so well in the brush with crutches, so carrying him was the best option. The rest of the week I hauled him in and out of that blind with no luck. He sat for hours, trying not to let me know he was in pain. I hoped this deer would come out for him, but it never happened.

After the holiday week ended, we returned home and back to reality. Between getting him back in the groove of school, doctors’ appointments, and his daily bow shooting practice, I wondered when we would get back to the ranch. As the next weekend approached he started asking when we would go back, and I would ask him how he felt. He always came with the same quick answer: “I’m fine. Let’s go to the ranch.”

The young hunter returns

His momma gave him the green light, and we returned. For the first two hunts, we had no sight of the buck. On the morning of the third hunt, as it got just light enough to make out shapes, we had an animal feeding in front of us. While it was only 14 yards away, you couldn’t see what it was without using binoculars to draw in more light.

But it was the buck. Fifteen minutes later I could see him clearly with my camera and he was still feeding. I gave Blake the nod, letting him know it was time to start pulling the bow. Right as he started the deer jumped due to an incoming doe.

As quickly as he jumped out of view he reappeared 20 yards away, standing broadside and looking at something down the sendero. Blake drew the bow back, settled the pin, and let it rip. Perfect shot.

After watching the film and high fiving for 30 minutes, we decided to get out and call everyone for tracking help. When we got to the sendero we found the buck 50 yards away. The arrow had hit its mark perfectly, and Blake had killed his first buck with a bow. We’re so thankful he wasn’t badly hurt, and very proud he stuck with his pursuit of the buck with his bow.

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