Best Hunt I Ever Had…..
I have been fortunate enough to bowhunt and harvest some quality deer over the years with my business partner and long time friend Bill Lawson.¬† Together we have harvested some great deer with our bows and in 2007 I thought I had topped my hunting career with 193-inch state record buck in Georgia (previous Woods n Water Magazine Cover).¬† Well, all that changed when I took my 8-year-old son Tyler ‚ÄúT-Bone‚ÄĚ Stephens, on his first hunting trip in South Carolina.¬† It was finally his time to try to shoot his first deer.¬† Prior to the trip his grandma ‚ÄúJan‚ÄĚ got him a new Remington Youth Model 243 with Nikon Scope.
I invited my brother Ronnie and his two sons, Griffin and Easton, to come for their first deer hunt as well.¬† Along for the hunt that weekend were my lease partners Aaron and Rhett Walker.¬† It was to be a family weekend to let the boys hunt.¬† With cold weather and rain it had the potential to be a great weekend.¬† The first day Tyler and I saw a few does but could not close the deal with none of them presenting an ethical shot.¬† We also saw a few spikes but I asked Tyler to wait and see if we see a nice 4-point for 6-point for him.¬† My nephew Easton was the first one on the board with an awesome doe he harvested on Saturday Night with a 270.¬† Just a great hunt for him.¬†¬† The next morning his brother, Griffin, steps up and shots a great first buck at 175 yards.¬† We were all excited for these boys to get deer on their first hunt.¬† Both of them did a great job as if they had been hunting for years.¬† Tyler and I did not see anything that Sunday morning.¬† Additionally, my brother and everyone had to leave camp and head home with exception of Aaron.
So it is Aaron, Tyler and I have one more hunt on Sunday Night.¬† It is cold and very windy.¬† Almost to the point I am concerned the deer may not move.¬† Tyler has seen deer over the weekend but has not been able to pull the trigger.¬†¬† We got in the stand about 3:45pm and did not see anything until 5pm when Tyler said, ‚ÄúDad I see some does‚ÄĚ.¬† He looked through the binoculars and said there are more coming out.‚ÄĚ¬† They piled out and were feeding about 150 yards from blind.¬† I told Tyler lets take our time and make this happen.¬† After a few minutes of the does moving back and forth, one finally stepped out of the bunch broadside.¬† I told him to take the shot when he was ready.¬† He took a breath and fired but he missed.¬† Without getting upset we saw three of the does were still there.¬† The wind was helpful in not allowing the deer to know just where shot come from.¬† I said, ‚ÄúNo problem buddy lets chamber another one and take another shot.‚ÄĚ¬† One of the does turned broadside and Tyler took his time and let it roll.¬† That deer dropped in her tracks.¬† Needless to say we were over the top happy and high fiving.¬† Tyler does not get excited about a lot of things but I saw a new level of excitement that made me beyond happy.¬† He was smiling from ear to ear.
Well in most cases that would be a great end to a first hunt but it did not stop there.¬†¬†¬† I told ‚ÄúT-Bone‚ÄĚ to wait for a few minutes and see what happens.¬† Well, as luck would have it he said Dad I see another deer.¬† It was a huge doe in the tree line that eventually stepped out at 130 yards.¬† I told him to get ready and take her.¬† He took his time and waited for her to turn.¬† Once she did he put it on her shoulder, took a breathe and fired.¬† It was a perfect shot.¬† She ‚Äújumped up‚ÄĚ and ran off.¬† I knew he had hit her good.¬† At this point it was getting close to dark with only about 30 -40 minutes left of light.¬† Knowing I may not have a lot of blood with the 243, I decided to get down and find that second deer.¬† Tyler and I got down and when we got to his first doe and I hugged him with so much pride.¬† As I walked into the woods to find his second doe she was laying dead only 10 yards from where he shot her.¬† I drug her out and pulled both of them to the road.¬† At this point he is beyond excited.¬† At the same time Aaron is in a near by stand wondering what the heck is going on with some many shots.
I explained to Tyler we need to go back to the stand and wait until dark to go get Mr. Aaron.¬† As we are walking back to the blind I see a mature buck right in front of the stand feeding at 125 yards.¬† I froze and told ‚ÄúT-Bone‚ÄĚ not to move.¬† We slowly squatted down on the ground right beside the blind.¬† I asked Tyler if he could make this shot and he said, ‚ÄúDad I can do it‚ÄĚ.¬† I said okay buddy because this is a good buck.¬† The deer was looking dead at us but was not overly spooked based on his body language.¬† We did not move and waited to see what he did.¬† He put his head down and I told Tyler to get ready.¬† I was squatted behind him acting as a brace as he positioned the rifle for a steady shot.¬† I told him to wait and see if he will turn broadside and once he does you have to make the shot.¬† As luck would have it the deer turned and I told him to put it on his shoulder and shoot.¬† He took a breath and shot.¬† The deer jumped up and ran off.¬† At this point I am a wreck as my son has just shot two does and now a big South Carolina buck.¬† I thought he was an eight point based on how quick it happened but at this time would have been happy for him to shoot a nice 4 or 6 point let alone a big 8.¬† Needless to say Tyler was coming out of his skin as well with excitement and joy.¬† I asked Tyler to explain to me what he did and where he shot the deer.¬† He said Dad I put it on his shoulder but I may have shot high.¬† I again explained to him we need to get in the stand and wait.¬† We cannot push the deer and we will give it a few more minutes and go get Mr. Aaron.¬† As we are waiting I see a coyote down by the does Tyler had just shot and I told him to get his gun ready and shoot him.¬† He told me he could not see him well, so I took the gun and shot the coyote.¬† At this point Aaron is just not sure what to think since we have now shot 5 times.
We go get Aaron and tell him the story as he thinks we are pulling his chain.¬† We get to the does and take pictures and then go track this buck.¬† Remember the wind is very strong still and getting worse.¬† I track this buck and walk up within 12 yards of him bedded down.¬† He is not dead.¬† He turns his head and looks at me as I am holding the light.¬† My heart sank a bit but I knew he was hit hard b/c he did not move.¬† I quickly turned the light off and eased out.¬† I went back to the truck and we decided to give this deer all night and not push him.¬† That is hard news for an 8 year old who just shot a big buck that we have to wait to find him.¬† Tyler‚Äôs words to me were ‚ÄúDad that deer will die, I know I hit him good.‚ÄĚ¬† I said okay buddy Mr. Aaron and I will find this deer but we have to give him some time.¬† It was a long night but we got back to the woods early the next morning and found where he was laying down.¬† Although, he was not there and there was not a lot of blood.¬† My heart sank a little again but knew he was hit hard.¬† As any parent would do in this situation is you stay positive and prepare for a long day of tracking to find him.¬† At this point I am looking for any other sign and Aaron hears something and steps up on a fallen tree.¬† He had heard a coyote on Tyler‚Äôs deer.¬† He saw a big coyote run off and then yelled to Tyler ‚ÄúT-Bone I found your Buck‚ÄĚ.¬† Anyone that has to gone through this knows the feeling of over joy when you hear those words and when it is your child‚Äôs deer you feel even better.¬† While the coyotes had found the buck and did some damage to his body we found the deer.¬† The eight point that I thought Tyler had shot turned out to be a perfect 10-point with a kicker.¬† We were in shock of how good this deer was and Tyler was over whelmed with joy as he was holding his horns and I was squeezing him about to death with hugs.¬† I think Aaron and I were even more excited with how this turned out and how good this buck was for him.¬† While I do hate loosing any of the meat to a coyote it was the right thing to do to ensure we got this deer.¬† As I examined the deer to find where the bullet went in, I smiled as I saw a bullet whole that was a bit high in the shoulder.¬†¬† He hit dead center in the shoulder but a little high just like he told me he did.
We explained to him that it does not always work out like this to shoot 3 deer in one night.¬† While this was Tyler‚Äôs Day I am more proud of how he handled himself and just how cool and collected he was at 8 years old during the entire hunt.¬† To miss his first deer that night and come back and ultimately shoot three deer is a great accomplishment.¬† I truly love the outdoors and bowhunting is my passion.¬† I have harvested some great deer but my hunting has now gone to the next level with my son now being part of a special group of sportsmen.¬†¬† While this was a unique sequence of events it was one that I will always remember and remind Tyler of as he grows up.¬† This weekend reminds me of the being blessed with my children, great friends, family and the love of the outdoors.¬† For those who do not do this or look down on hunters they are truly misguided!¬† Thanks for reading my son‚Äôs story, as this was the best hunt of my life!
Originally posted 2010-12-17 13:25:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter