By Kenny Evans
-- Let me begin by saying that I’m a man of faith. I’m a pastor from east Tennessee, and I thank the good Lord every time I get to the woods, especially when I get to take one of my children along. My wife and I have been blessed with three wonderful kids. We have an 18-year-old son, Tyler; a 6-year-old daughter, Savanna, and an 11-year-old son, Lane, who follows me to the woods or lake every time the opportunity is presented.
Maryann and I are the type of parents who can’t stand to see one of our kids heart-broken. To see hurt on their faces is devastating, and it’s even worse when it’s because of something we said or did.
On Nov. 1 2008, Lane and I headed to our buddy stand for an afternoon bowhunt. We had gotten several pictures on our trail camera of a really nice 6-pointer. We also knew that it had gone by the camera the three days prior to our hunt at 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. We headed out at about 11:30 in hopes the buck would show for its 1 o’clock appointment.
As we were settling into our stand, I heard a loud crash right below us. I looked up, and my bow was gone. Lane wasn’t paying attention and knocked my bow off the hook to the ground 20 feet below, shattering the quiver. I didn’t know how much damage was done until I climbed down to retrieve my bow, and you never feel 100 percent comfortable after something like that until you’ve taken about 20 shots to confirm everything is okay.
As I climbed back up, I could tell by the look on his face that Lane was worried — not as much about the bow as how I was going to react. It has always bothered him to think that I would be upset or disappointed in him. The sights and rest were still in line, so the quiver must have taken the brunt of the impact.
I talked to Lane about the importance of paying attention while in a treestand and saw the tears well up. I explained that everything was going to be okay and that we could replace the quiver when his eyes quickly dried up and he said, "Dad, a deer!"
Not two minutes after I had climbed back up, Mr. 6-pointer stepped out and Lane spotted him.
I told my son to be really still and quite. The deer walked about 25 yards in front of us, stopped and offered a perfect shot. I sent the arrow on its way as Lane watched. The buck went about 40 yards and fell to the ground in full view. I turned to look at Lane, and he had the biggest smile ever on his face.
As we walked over to the deer, he was still grinning from ear to ear. I grabbed him and hugged him, telling him what a thrill it was to have my best buddy in the stand with me as I shot my first-ever archery buck.
The deer had a really nice 6-point rack and weighed 170 pounds. I am so thankful to the Lord that he turned my son’s tears into a smile with this awesome hunt.
Oliver Springs, Tenn.