The joys of a family making hunting memories
By Terri Barth-Mingus (Landon Hooper's stepmom)
I want to tell you a story of a shy child who has been taught a great love for the outdoors by his father and has displayed patience that truly amazes me.
Landon Hooper was only eight when he took his first deer in Fisherville, Kentucky. It was a nice-sized doe. The following year, at the age of nine, Landon got his first buck.
I'm so incredibly impressed a child this young had the patience to sit quietly in a blind for hours waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a shot.
In the fall of 2012, Joe (Landon's father) began teaching Landon how to prepare a spot in the woods behind our house for deer hunting.
Our home is surrounded by woods on nine acres, and there's a very high population of deer on this small piece of land, perfect for a young hunter.
Joe and Landon set up a ground blind overlooking a likely ambush area. As the Kentucky Youth Hunt approached, Landon just knew he'd take a buck there.
On a cold October morning, father and son awoke very early and went to the blind, preparing to wait for the right deer and the best possible shot. While they were outside in the cold, our other two kids Evan and Malayne were snuggled up with me in a warm bed.
Later, around 8:30, the kids came running into the kitchen to tell me they'd heard Landon shoot. I immediately got butterflies in my stomach, and the excitement and anticipation was nearly unbearable!
Soon, I heard footsteps coming up from the basement, and Landon burst through the door, saying, "I got him! I got him!"
We were all so excited! Everyone got dressed and went outside to see this beautiful animal.
We followed Landon as he tracked his deer and eventually found it up on a ridge. What a special moment for a family to share! Landon was so very proud of himself.
Ten days later, it was Joe's turn to score big.
He hiked to his deer stand for an evening hunt and sent me a message about 7:30 that he hadn't seen the first deer. So, I started preparing dinner.
I'd only been cooking 10 minutes when I got a message from Joe telling me to come to his stand with a camera.
I literally ran through the woods in my flip flops with phone in hand!
Joe was still in the tree as I neared his deer stand, and when I topped the hill, I saw a massive buck lying on the ground.
I was not prepared for what happened next. I became overcome with emotion for Joe!
This man had patiently watched so many beautiful deer pass by his stand, but had the integrity to wait for the perfect buck to show up. His patience had finally paid off.
When Joe got down from the tree, he ran straight to me and hugged me so hard and tight that he nearly knocked me over!
Life is about making memories. These are our memories, which will be with us for a lifetime. I wanted to share them with Buckmasters and your fans. I hope you enjoyed it!