By Daniel Audy
Daniel Audy and his son, Joseph, were hunting with family during Vermont's 2007 deer season when Daniel harvested his first deer, an 8-point buck.
-- The 2007 hunting season was something that I will hold in my heart forever. I used to hunt in Vermont with my brother, John, and his wife's family, with whom I am very close. I started hunting when I was 18 years old. While I never had an opportunity to tag a deer, I always had a lot fun and many good times with the people I hunted. I got married and did not hunt for 15 years. I missed going out in the woods and spending time just enjoying the great outdoors.
My brother passed away at the very young age of 41, and I miss him every day. After this tragedy, my brother's daughters called me and asked me if I wanted his rifles and his bow. Of course I said, "Yes," and started thinking about hunting again. I have a son, Joseph, who is 14, and we had discussed firearm safety and were making plans for a hunting trip.
Joseph was very anxious and could not wait to get out in the woods. So I signed us up for a hunter safety course, bought him his first bow, and we practiced every day. Then, another tragedy happened. My brother's in-laws' family had an accident at their farm in Vermont. Their 16-year-old son, Jacob, was killed.
Jacob was a great kid who loved the outdoors, four-wheeling and hunting with his grandfather, Ed, and his uncle, Eddie.
One day, my son and I went up to visit Ed Jr. in Vermont, and we brought our bows up to show him how much better we had gotten due to all of our practice. When we got there, Eddie told us of all his hunting days and great times that he shared with Jacob and his father. He then asked us if we would like to go hunting with him.
We purchased our Vermont hunting licenses and were ready to go hunting. Bow season started, and we saw a few deer but were unable to take any shots. Then rifle season began. We didn't see anything the first weekend. The second weekend, Ed Sr. shot a 4-point buck in the same treestand that his grandson, Jacob, would use when they went hunting.
We all went out on Saturday and had no luck. Then came the day I will forever hold in my heart. Sunday morning Ed Jr. and Ed Sr. wanted to hunt in another area across from where my son and I were going. Both Eds told my son to hunt in his regular treestand, and they wanted me to use Jacob's tree. After setting up my son in his stand, I proceeded to Jacob's tree.
I found the treestand, climbed up into it and got comfortable. Within 10 minutes, across the swamp came an 8-point buck just 130 yards out. I took a deep breath, had a steady hold on my .30-30 rifle and took the shot. I waited 40 minutes to go find my deer and by then both Ed Sr. and Ed Jr. had arrived at the treestand. A short 75-yard walk was all it took to find my buck. When I first saw the deer, I was excited about what just happened. Then it hit me ... I shot my first deer!
To this day, I think about that deer and the wonderful time I have with my son and the rest of my family. This story even gets better. I shot the deer with my brother's .30-30 and out of Jacob's treestand. I know my brother and Jacob were watching over me, and that's special.
Pelham, New Hampshire