Braylynn Mitchell has been eager to accompany her dad, Jason Mitchell, on past hunting trips, but her mom wouldn’t allow it … until this year.
“I was always hesitant,” admitted her mom, Kendra Wilder of Bradley. “This was her first hunting trip.”
When the opening day for Maine residents rolled around on Oct. 28, Wilder said Braylynn, now 4 years old, wasted no time getting ready.
“She had a late night the night prior, Friday night. We got to bed late, so I thought she would sleep through [hunting],” Wilder said. “[Jason] went in and asked her if she wanted to go deer hunting, 5:30 in the morning, and she jumped right up. She was ready to go, so excited, almost like it was Christmas morning.”
That excitement eventually waned a bit, and Braylynn actually took a little nap on Jason’s lap when they were out in the woods waiting for a deer to pass by.
“She woke up and he put Mickey Mouse on his phone. She was watching that and he saw the deer [at about 10:30 a.m.]” Wilder said. “He tapped her on the head so she’d pay attention and she could see the whole experience.”
Jason Mitchell shot the buck, and when he and Braylynn went out to find the deer, the 4-year-old was hard to keep up with.
“She ran toward the deer and she ran past Jason to get to it,” said Wilder, who is engaged to Jason Mitchell. “He had to get her to slow down. But she was there for the whole experience, cleaning it out and everything. She was so excited that they got a deer.”
Although Jason did the shooting, Braylynn was eager to claim ownership of her first deer.
“They called me, and [Braylynn] said, ‘I got a big, big one,'” Wilder said. “And it was. It was 222 pounds and a 15-pointer. It was the deer of a lifetime.”
Wilder said the last time Jason shot a deer, it didn’t even make it to the butcher before the family was sampling the meat.
“[Braylynn] just loves deer meat,” Wilder said. “They cut a piece to cook it [last time]. She just loves it.”
After posing for some photos at the local tagging station — Old Town Trading Post — the family enjoyed some venison from the ‘deer of a lifetime.’
“It actually made it to the butcher this time,” Wilder said with a laugh. “But we got it back the same night, and we had it for dinner.”