We all want big bucks, but hunting is more about the memories.
Four years ago on this exact date, Dec. 20, 2010, I harvested my first buck on my Papaw’s old home place. It took many long days of hunting, but I was determined to shoot a buck just to share it with him.
It was funny because every time we would come in from hunting, the first question he would ask is, “Did Kyle get one?”
Our answer was always, ”No, not this time.” That was until Dec. 20. I couldn’t wait to show Papaw my 7-pointer. I know it meant a lot to him to see me get one, and it meant a lot to me to prove I could do it.
Dad and I loaded up the buck and took it back Papaw’s house. We had to drag it up to the living room door and hold it up so he could see it. Cancer had take its toll on Papaw, and he wasn’t able to get up anymore.
It was a great feeling to see his eyes light up. He got a jolt of happy energy and actually rose up with strength to see the buck. It’s a look on his face and in his eyes that I’ll never forget.
After getting home that night, I took the deer over to my friend’s house to hang. As I was all excited and telling him the story of my hunt and the joy my Papaw had, I received a phone call. It was news I didn’t want to hear and couldn’t believe. That night, Papaw went to be with God almighty.
Four years later on Dec. 20, 2014, Papaw was surely watching over me. That’s the day I killed the biggest deer I’ve ever harvested, and it was on his old home place.
After making the shot, I shouted with joy before settling down to wait. After buck fever had worn off and enough time had passed that I felt it was safe to collect the buck, I got down. On my way to the deer, memories of Papaw hit me, and I suddenly found myself shedding tears thinking about it.
For those who believe hunting is just about killing things or bragging rights, you’re missing the point. It’s about the memories of a lifetime and stories you can someday pass on to your kids. I’ll tell mine about my Papaw and how he was there the day I shot this buck, probably with a smile and the same gleam in his eye he had four years prior on that same day.
Thank you, God, for allowing me to do the things I love and for all of your creations like the beautiful animals of this earth. Also, thank you, Papaw, for sending this deer my way and watching over me every day. I miss you.