By Matt Kirksey
-- It was November 2006. The Alabama deer season had just gotten underway, and I was itching to get in the woods with my oldest son, Hunter. All week he had been telling me he was going to go. However, as 12-year-olds are apt to do, he changed his mind at the last minute. Suddenly, my youngest son Eaton, who loves to go everywhere with me, saw a golden chance to go hunting on opening weekend. I told him to put on his hunting clothes.
Hunter then asked, “What’s he going to hunt with? I told him I had picked out a deer rifle for him, but since he wasn’t going, his brother Easton would use the gun.
Soon, Easton and I arrived at our hunting area and got into a stand. Within 30 minutes of sitting in it, a 5-pointer walked out at 40 yards, and Easton dusted his britches with his older brother’s rifle. He was not only gleaming at the fact he just taken his first deer, but the fact he did it with Hunter’s rifle under the circumstances that had given him the chance to go hunting in his brother’s place made it even more memorable.
Soon, Eaton called Hunter to brag. Hunter was trying his best to hide the fact he knew he had made a mistake by not going. I tried my best to understand what he was going through, but I also hoped it would get him fired up about hunting so he would want to hunt with me more often. It worked! Since then, he has been with me on every trip, and on the last weekend of the season, he dropped his first deer, a high-antlered 4-point. Of course, the youngest picks at him because his deer has more points, but that’s how both my boys are. They compete in athletics and in the deer woods. That just suits me fine.
-- Matt Kirksey
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