Outdoor time is special when you share it with your child

Published 11:47 pm Saturday, December 2, 2006

It is very special to spend time in the woods with young folks, but it is awesome when it is your own child. This past weekend I got to spend more time in the woods with my son and it was made even better when he was able to take his first deer.

Colby and I were invited to hunt with Mike Autry and the members of Sherman Hill hunting club. I had met Mike at the Wheelin’ Sportsman event and we hit it off from the start. He understood that I was not able to take Colby hunting on youth deer weekend because I was at the Wheelin’ event and it was then he invited us up.

Colby and I made the drive to Forest Mississippi and rolled into camp about lunch on Friday and it was only an hour or so we were on our way to hunt. Mike had spoke to Noble Lee from Wildwood Hunt club to let him know we were coming up, and Noble insisted that Mike bring Colby to a stand he had on a green patch that they were seeing a lot of deer out of.

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Mike, Colby and I met with Noble at his camp and of to the stands we went. Since it was a rule that a member must be in the stand with a young person hunting, Mike would sit the stand with Colby and I would hunt a stand on my own. It did not take long at all for Colby and Mike to see deer and have them within range.

Fifteen minutes after we both got settled in, Mike text messaged me and let me know that they were seeing deer, does and yearlings. Colby had the option to take one of the does, but he opted to wait on a buck. The decision to wait on a buck would prove to be a smart one. I have to say that Colby really enjoys the outdoors and has had a chance to go with me and fish and hunt many different areas but he usually makes sound quality decisions in the woods and on the water. Many folks on their deer will shoot what ever hit the plot, but Colby waited.

As the afternoon dwindled away, Mike spotted a huge buck coming down the right of way to them. Mike hit the optics and seen that this was a buck of a lifetime for any hunter. Mike told me that he was thinking to himself how awesome it would be for Colby to take this buck for his first, but then what would he have to hunt for. Nevertheless, they would take him if he got in range of Colby’s .243.

The big buck made his way about 225 yards before walking into the woods without a chance at a shot. Colby was pumped at the sight of the buck as was Mike. Colby decided to try and wait the buck out for the evening. After and hour or so, the light was fading and a nice 6-point buck hit the plot and was only about 75 yards. After and little thinking, Colby decided to take the buck in the hand and not wait on the one in the bush.

The shot was perfect and the buck hit the ground, this is where the story gets good. After the excitement of the shot, Mike looked up the right of way and who do you think came to see what all the commotion was about, the big buck. The massive buck made his way to the green patch, Colby was trying to get a shot and Mike was videoing. Colby remembered that the club rules were one buck per day so he was out and offered the rifle to Mike, but Mike would not take it and continued videoing.

The buck made his way within 100 yards of the duo and at one time mike hade the deer in the scope to see his horns. Mike has taken many deer and seen many deer and this one in his own words would have been a buck of a lifetime for him or any Mississippi deer hunter. The decision not to shoot him was a quality one and I have great respect for both of these hunters. I know many of you would say, “I would have shot him and worried about the consequences later”, and that is just the reason that hunters get a bad name.

Honesty and integrity are a fast fading image in the outdoor world and our sinful world period and it is great to know that there are still quality hunters like Mike that will show some integrity while in the field. Just a note to this story, Mike could have legally shot the buck, but was only on Noble’s stand because he had offered it for Colby to take his first deer. Mike knew it was not his hunt and normally he would not be hunting this stand and this was the reason for him not shooting. Noble would have been fine with Mike taking the buck, but now he has even more respect for him as a man and hunter and the proof is on the video.

Even with this huge buck, it did not overshadow the fact that Colby took his first deer and a buck at that. The young two and a half year old buck weighed 125 pounds and was a great management buck. Colby place a great shot on the deer and now the wall is broken down and his confidence as a hunter and young man is elevated and I am a proud papa.

As for me, I sat the stand reading the play by play with text messages and had 19 turkeys walk and feed within 15 yards of me before pitching into the roost trees on the edge of the green patch. The sky was red and orange behind the turkeys as they moved to gain a better spot for the night and it was then I thanked God for giving Colby such a great first deer experience and giving all of us the ability to see his great creation at work.

Be sure to get your young person in the woods or on the water and let them experience Gods great creation. Make sure that you don’t get hung up on the idea of killing or catching and miss the experience of nature and the wonderment of it all. There is so much to see and experience so as always, get outdoors and enjoy what God has given us.