You Got Him Daddy

It was around the beginning of August when I really started getting those butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of the upcoming archery season. Practicing every night after work became routine and my hunting partner was my 5 year old son. Talking about shooting that big buck was always the topic of our conversations, and I always described it as a perfect shot right behind the shoulders.

I went out a few times during the early season with friends, and every night when I returned there was my 5 year old asking "Did you shoot the big one daddy?", and with my reply it was a "No, I did not son".

A few weeks had passed and my son was asking me if he could go, and I said "no", because he was to young and that he would have to wait until he reached an age where he wouldn't be so antsy. Well a couple of weeks went by and again with the please daddy I will sit still, I will be quiet, Please, Please, Please. As I looked into those eyes I answered with a big "O.K.!" But by this time it was mid-November and quiet-cold outside. I had to make sure that his first time hunting would be a good hunt and not a miserable one. I went out and bought hand and body warmers, winter gloves and anything that I thought would keep him warm.

The next day found us driving an hour and a half to my best deer stand and singing George Strait. I could see the excitement in him. Now the begging "please, please, please" turned into "are we there yet!" When we did get to the property, I turned to him and said we are here boy, and he did not reply, instead he just looked out the window with a big smile. As we got out of the truck to get our stuff ready my son said "lets shoot some deer daddy", and I fired back "hopefully, we see some".

I carried all of his warm clothes to the edge of the field to where our stand location was and got him dressed. We then walked to the tree where we would sit for the next four hours, yes four hours with a 5 year old in a tree. Crazy would have been my first thought, but just to let him experience the enjoyment that I have for the last 20 plus years, and just me and my son deer hunting. Sitting there I was overcome with adrenaline, happiness and all of the emotions came out. No, I didn't cry if that is what you're thinking, but as happy as I was at that moment I could have. I saw him sitting there with a huge smile, and I told him where the deer should come from so he needed to keep an eye out.

We made a little bet who would see the first deer. Yep, he saw the first deer, and he let me, and the deer know that he saw it. The white flag from the small deer was flying. I had to tell him that he had to whisper to me about the approaching deer.

It was about a thirty minutes before last light and we had a 6-point and a doe working their way towards us. I told him if they get here I will shoot one of them. They approached and offered about a 30 yard shot. I looked over at my son just sitting there looking at those deer, I don't know if it was me just so happy to be there with him or what, but I missed. I shot over the top of that deer. My son yell "You got him daddy!" and I had to tell him that I had missed and our hunt was done. He looked at me and made a AW-WE sound of disappointment. We got down and I explained to him some times you get them, and some times you don't.

When we returned home that night I listened to him tell the stories of our adventures that day to my wife. He didn't know it, but i did had a twinkle in my eye.

This will always be the best hunting experience for me. No, I did not get the big one, but I got to spend time with my youngest boy. I will have to hold on to this experience through out the next hunting season since I will miss it due to my military obligation during the fall of 2008.

John Mumford Lebanon, IL

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