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Carter's First Deer

PerezBy Tony Perez

-- My eight-year-old son Carter's "Papaw" is a deer-hunting fanatic, so imagine Carter’s excitement when Papaw announced that he was going to take Carter to his deer lease in Brady, Texas, for a whitetail hunt.

I went out and purchased Carter a Remington model 770 .243 and began to take him to the range to become comfortable with the gun. The 100-yard shots were a bit far for him, so I was a little nervous about how he would do. Time passed quickly, and we went up to Papaw's deer lease on Friday, Dec. 26. We got there a little early, because I wanted Carter to take a couple of shots in the wild, away from the shooting range and its hectic, noisy environment.

I set Carter up a 100-yard target and let him take a couple shots. The first shot was a bit wide, and the second shot scoped his eye. I told him to put the rifle down, take a deep breath and relax. I knew he was putting too much pressure on himself, and once he calmed down, he started to put the shots right in the bullseye. I felt much better.

Saturday morning arrived and we got in the stand. It didn’t take long before a couple of 8- and 10-pointers came out. Carter wanted to shoot, but I told him that the deer were not old enough to harvest yet and had to explained the importance of taking a mature deer -- a concept that’s difficult for an 8-year-old to grasp.

The morning came and went, so we went back to the cabin for a sandwich. The evening hunt came around and we were in the stand before 3 p.m. No sooner were we settled before a young 8-pointer walked across an opening -- talk about building excitement!

At 4:15 Carter spotted a deer behind us and said, "Dad, big deer, big deer!” I thought he was pulling my leg, but I turned around. Sure enough, there was a big, mature deer headed our way. It looked like the buck might be heading back into the brush, so I grunted at it. The buck looked up and immediately began to head our way again.

About 40 yards closer, the deer angled for the brush once more, so I repeated the grunt call. The buck stopped and stared and then began to head to our left through some brush and mesquite.

When I was sure it would cross the track in front of us, I ranged the deer: 72 yards. I immediately put Carter on my lap, opened the side window with one hand and picked up the grunt call with the other.

As the buck crossed the road, I stopped it with a grunt. Carter immediately put a shot right behind its shoulder and through both lungs.

I looked at Carter and my first thought was that he was going to pass out. He said, “Dad, I shot him right behind the shoulder; I know it."

We waited 20 minutes before getting out of the stand and walking to where the buck crossed the dirt track. Sure enough, there was blood. We tracked it 42 yards, and there in some cactus was an 11-point mature white-tailed deer. We went crazy, and Carter said, “Call Pawpaw! Call Pawpaw!” He was there in minutes.

This story might not win your contest, but it was one of the most proud days of my life, and I wanted to share it.

Tony Perez
Humble, Texas

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