Published by Fuzzy Hoyt Shooter on 12 May 2008 at 06:21 pm
I once had the opportunity to lead a young boy to the greatness of the outdoors. To this day, he is still an outdoor enthusiast. He wasn’t able to hunt because his Grandfather’s life was taken in a hunting accident, his Father was unfortunately present to witness this and from then on could not take his son, the young boy I introduced to the outdoors hunting because of this.
I have always told myself that I would love for my Son and I to have such memories as you have read of this young man I have written of previously. My Son, Nicholas “Nick” has been interested in the outdoors since he has been able to walk. Unfortunately, he doesn’t live with me full time. He lives with his Mother and can only come to my house on alternating weekends. He has been shooting archery with me since he was 3 years old and shooting BB guns since he was 5. Last spring Nick asked me if he could attend a Hunter’s Education Class and take the test. I was kind of hesitant before I answered him because he was only 8 at the time. I knew that he was very safe and familiar in the outdoors. He was never in the woods without me. So I told him that he could take the class. Actually, my whole family took the class and passed with a 90% or better on the test. Nick scored a 95%. I was very proud of them all. I even retested and achieved another 100%.
As the year passed we continued to spend quite a lot of time in the woods scouting. Nick had asked several times if he would be able to hunt with me last fall.
He really wanted to bow hunt but, Indiana has a law that you need to be able to pull at least 35# minimum on a bow to hunt. He couldn’t quite get to that point this past fall. I’m sure he’ll be ready for this coming bow season.
After passing Hunter’s Education, I purchased a single shot .20 gage for him. Nick shot this gun many times and is a very good shot with it. I tease him and tell him that he is ALMOST as good a shot as I am.
Nick went with me on several hunts during the bow season last year. He was really excited one day when we had 4 does come within 40 yards of us while we were setting on the ground. They eventually seen us and ran away. He still talks of that day.
Opening day of the Indiana Firearms season is drawing near and Nick asks if he can hunt the season with me. I told him that I didn’t see a problem as long as he is safe when we are in the woods. We had already placed a buddy stand in the woods so we could be together and had the entire area scouted pretty good we thought.
Finally, opening day arrives; Nick wakes me at 1:00am, then 2:30am, then again at 4:00am. He was really excited about his first “actual hunt”. So, we have breakfast and head out to the woods. We arrive there and start to walk across the cornfield when Nick stops me. He says, “Dad, you haven’t prayed yet.” Every time I head to the great outdoors I thank God for the creation he has gave us. So, nick and I said a prayer together. Then walked across the field together towards the woods. We get to the stand and Nick climbs up first, I hook his gun to the draw line and have him to hoist it up. Then I hook mine on and climb the stand.
We sat there in the stand all morning until around 11:00am and I could tell that Nick was getting sort of depressed because we could hear shots being fired out across the country and we had not seen a single deer. So I asked him if he wanted to climb down from the stand and we would walk around the woods to see if we might see something. He agreed.
We walked around the woods for about an hour and strolled to the cornfield to the south of the woods where we had walked in. A friend of mine “Bob” was leaving his stand and came over to talk for a minute. As we were standing there, we looked up and seen a deer making it’s way across a bean field that connects with the cornfield we were standing in with his nose to the ground. At this point, the deer was about 500 yards away. There is a line of high grass and weeds that separates these two fields. I told Nick that if he would slowly and quietly started walking towards that grass line that he just might get there about the same time as the deer was about to cross it around 30 yards from him.
So, he started quietly walking across the field, the deer kept walking, and not paying attention to anything around him. As Nick and the deer were drawing closer, Bob and I were watching the deer in binoculars. Noticing that this deer was a HUGE 10 point (at least) typical. I commented to Bob, “Watch, he’ll probably go out there and put that big boy down”. We just chuckled. Well Nick is drawing closer to the grass line, the deer is drawing closer as well and just as I predicted, he crossed in front of Nick at about 30 yards. We watched him pull his gun to his shoulder and carefully take aim. Then he shot. We watched the deer jump and run and seen the dirt scatter beneath him. Nick had missed. He reloaded his single shot 20 gage and started walking across the grass line to where he shot at the deer.
He came walking back across the cornfield towards us with his head down. When he got close, he said “Dad, I missed him, but, DID YOU SEE HOW BIG HE WAS!”
He said the reason he missed is because he was shaking so hard that he couldn’t hold the barrel of the gun still. Aaahhh Buck Fever, isn’t it wonderful I told him.
He said, “That’s ok, he’ll be back”. So several times this year we sat waiting for the big boy. He was nowhere in sight after that. I told Nick that he was just there to test him, to see if he truly has his heart in the outdoors. Now all hunting seasons have come to an end here in Indiana. Although, Nick is already putting together a game plan for the “Big Boy” for next fall. This episode with that deer has definitely put a sweet spot in this young boy’s heart for the outdoors and deer hunting.
Overall, I’m pleased that Nick missed that buck. If he had harvested that buck that day, I wonder if it might not have left an impression on him that deer hunting was easy, that a lot of planning and scouting was a waste of time. Since we had sat in the deer stand for hours and seen nothing, then we walk to the field and he is able to get within 30 yards of that massive buck. I truly believe that he missed for a reason.
Now if I can just find out the reason that I miss. Ha Ha.
This was the first fond memory that Nick and I have together of his first hunt. I’m sure that we will have many more and he will have many more with his children and grandchildren.
Keep the outdoors in your heart. Lead our younger generation to the outdoors and show them how wonderful this great creation God has given us is.
Take a Child to the woods and ensure our Sportsmanship in the Great outdoors for generations to come!!!
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