The Outdoor Blogger Network has asked all of us fellow followers to write a story about a childhood hunting memory or a memory that you helped to create for a child in the field. I often write about my own childhood memories and you can find stories in several of my older post, so I decided to write about a great memory made with my son Reid. Above is the nice little 8 point that I shot in November of 2009. Reid was with me when I killed this deer and the story goes like this.....
Daddy and I have a two man ladder stand that we call the double stand. Daddy bought it with one purpose in mind. That purpose was his grandson. He wanted to be able to take Reid hunting with him. Reid went on his first deer hunt at the age of five. He was barely big enough to see over the camo cover that was draped over the shooting rail on the stand. In fact he would have to stand up to look through his binoculars and see if anything was moving around. I think he got to see a few deer that first year, but he mostly took naps and ate snacks. He gets that from his Papa.
Year two of the double stand was the 2009 hunting season. A year older and Reid was itching to go hunting. He was bigger and seemed to grasp the concept of sitting still, being quiet and waiting for deer. He hunted with his Papa and actually saw several deer and turkeys. He had learned to be quite and move slow when he lifted his binoculars to watch the local wildlife. My Dad is a great teacher!
It was Saturday afternoon and Daddy couldn't go. I decided that I would take Reid and sit on the double stand with him. He told me that he wanted me to kill a deer so that he could watch. I just told him that we would try real hard but that he had to "hold his mouth" just right if we were going to be successful. We made the trip to the hunting club and got into the stand. Reid got all of his snacks set out just right and got his binoculars out. He was ready! It didn't take long for me to realize that he had turned into a little deer hunter. He sat very still and only whispered when he asked me something. He paid attention to what was going on around him and even pointed out the first turkey before I had even seen him. That one turkey turned into 20 and before long they were all around us. Reid asked me if we could shoot one and I told him no. He was disappointed.
A little while later 4 does stepped out into the clear cut to browse around. Reid saw them and told me to shoot one. I told him that we were not hunting Mama deer, we were hunting buck deer. (he knows the difference because Papa has buck deer hanging on his wall) He was not happy that I wouldn't shoot one of them, but I told him to just wait and maybe a buck deer would come out.
Wouldn't you know it, not five minutes later a 3 point buck walks out right under the stand. Reid is now scream whispering at me to shoot the buck deer, shoot the buck deer!!! I try to explain to my now impatient son that even though this is a buck deer, he is very young and we need to let him grow and get bigger. He was again very disappointed!
As the minutes pass, I look up to see a pretty nice 8 point step into the clear cut. Reid sees him too. I can already hear his excitement as he draws his breath to say something to me. I tell him to freeze as I lift my gun to take a look at him through the scope. I have to admit that I quickly went through several thought processes. My first thought was that this deer was a borderline shooter and one that needed another year to grow. My second thought was my son's hunting experience and if I didn't shoot this deer he would become frustrated with this whole deer hunting thing and not want to come back. I made a quick decision and told Reid to cover his ears. I dropped the buck in his tracks at about 75 yards.
Before I could get the gun off my shoulder, Reid's feet were on the first rung of the ladder on his way down from the stand. He was going to that deer. I asked him about all his stuff and he just told me to bring it when I came down. I put all of our stuff into our packs and made my way down. Reid was already at the deer and looking very excited. At that moment I knew that I had made the right choice on shooting that 8 point even if he wasn't as big as I would have liked for him to be. I knew that I had made a memory for my son that would last a lifetime and hopefully I helped to light a little flame in him that will make him want to always go hunting with his Daddy.
Reid still talks about that hunt a year later. It is funny how kids have no concept of time as Reid always say "you remember that deer that I shot yesterday?". Yep buddy! I remember!
I hope that I always do!!