By Duane Nutter
It started one early December morning in 2006. It was my son’s first year to hunt, and he was excited to go.
I woke him up at 5 a.m., and we got dressed and headed for the deer stand. When we arrived, it was still dark, so I had enough time to give him a little quiz. I showed him some pictures of deer in a hunting magazine I’d carried and asked him where he would shoot them. He answered correctly on all of them.
When it was light enough to see, we opened the blind’s windows and started looking around. About 45 minutes later, I spotted a nice 8 point with good mass and high tines. He came through some thick brush and headed right for our feeder. Then he stopped to rub his antlers on a tree.
My son rested his Remington rifle in .243 Win on the window frame. The buck finished rubbing and started to nibble on some tree leaves.
“Dad, I’m going to take him,” my son said. I’d told him to take his time and squeeze the trigger.
As he was looking through the scope, I was watching the deer and waiting for the gun to go off. Then “buck fever” got to my son. He started breathing real hard and was shaking. I told him take a deep breath and hold it. He tried, but couldn’t, so he put the gun down and sat back into his chair, still breathing hard.
While all of this was going on, a doe came out. The buck ran after it, and I lost sight of both animals. I told my son that the buck ran off. He asked why he felt funny. I told him he just had a taste of buck fever.
We sat in the stand a while longer but didn’t see anything, so we went back to the house. My wife asked if we got anything. I told her what had happened. She asked if we where going back that evening. My son said he wanted to, so we headed out about 4 p.m.
In the stand again, I reminded my son to take a deep breath, let it out real slow and then pull the trigger when sighting on a deer.
Around 6 p.m. a buck came to the feeder. It was different than the buck we saw earlier. I asked my son if he wanted to wait. He said, “No, I want to take this one.”
He got his gun ready and looked through the scope. While I was trying to tell him to take a breath, he pulled the trigger. The deer ran about 20 yards and dropped.
I didn’t know who was more excited, me or my son!
We waited for about 5 minutes, which seemed like a lifetime for him. When it was time to go see his buck, he was so excited, you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. We walked up to it and he gave me a big hug and he thanked me for taking him.
The buck was a 5 point with some broke-off tines. The deer weighed 180 pounds. We loaded it into the truck and started home to show the family.
Later, I entered the buck in the Texas Big Game Awards, and my son got a certificate for a first-time big game harvest.