By James Hotelling
-- One of the proudest moments of my life was Nov. 5, 2005, when I sat in a treestand with my 13-year-old son Alex in South Georgia. The weather was still pretty warm outside, and the mosquitoes were out. It got pretty uncomfortable in the stand rather quickly.
We had been up there all day, and it was starting to get dark. Around 5:30, we were about to get down and call it a day when we heard crashing through the brush. A second later, a doe stepped out around 170 yards. This was to be my son's first deer.
He took the shot and dropped the doe right where it stood. While I was congratulating him, a buck stepped out at about 200 yards. This was unbelievable: Alex had just shot his first deer and was getting an opportunity at a second.
But in all the excitement, when he ejected the casing, he did not pull the bolt all the way back to catch the next bullet. He stepped up to take a shot at the buck and the gun just went "click." However, with an act of divine intervention, he was able to calm down and compose himself. Calmly, he slipped in a new bullet waited for the buck to turn before he took the shot that dropped it.
So not only did he get his first deer, he got his first two within 5 minutes. His grandparents were back at the camp, so we were able to share this awesome moment with them.
I know this is a memory that we will both have forever. Alex was the talk of the camp for the rest of the season. He was the only one to get two deer at once. He earned some pretty serious bragging rights. The doe weighed around 150 pounds, and the buck was a 7-pointer, weighing 140 pounds.
You can take one look at the picture and see that life does not get much better than that. We now look forward to each hunting season, as we wait, not so patiently, to get back out in the woods.
Orange Park, Florida