You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’m an avid hunter. And you probably guessed that I enjoy deer hunting with family and friends, including my 11-year-old son, Kade.
But you might be surprised to know that Kade has harvested a bigger buck than I ever have. He’s taken a 10-pointer with a rifle that had a 9-inch drop tine and scored 157 on the Boone & Crockett system. I haven’t taken anything nearly that big. Kade also has three mounts…which is three more than I have!
Of course, I’m not jealous. I’m just a proud dad looking forward to my next hunt with my son, and I’m grateful that we both have a passion for the sport. By the time you read this, there’s a really good chance that Kade will have taken his first deer with a bow.
Our pecan farm is overpopulated with does right now, so I’m hoping Kade can harvest one or two. We enjoy the venison, of course, and we want to manage the property as best we can, so targeting does is important.
If you’re a hunter, you know how very different it is to hunt with a rifle (even a muzzleloader) versus hunting with a bow. Apart from the added physicality of hunting with a bow — drawing the arrow and holding for the release — there’s the proximity of bow hunting. Kade will have to be super close to a deer to get a good shot — 15 to 20 yards at most. That can make any of us nervous, but especially a young hunter who’s never shot a deer with a bow.
I know he’s going to do well. Though he’s only 11, he’s already taken four bucks and a doe with his rifle, so he understands how important it is to be patient, to be sure of a good broadside shot, to remember all his checkpoints for getting his shot off safely and on and on. I made sure he was ready for the experience long before he ever had a weapon in the stand. Just as he practiced with a rifle, Kade has had a bow for a few years and has become really good with it through lots of practice on the ground and in a stand. Now I have a young hunting buddy with the proper respect for the animal, the harvest and the experience.
For me, it’s all about father and son time. I know that when kids are young, their entire world revolves around the parents and the parents’ interests. That’ll change as Kade gets older, develops interests outside of my experience and becomes more and more his own person.
It’s why I really treasure these things that we have in common now — things we can share. Because I’ve worked hard to instill the right values in Kade, I’m hopeful that we’ll have these father and son connections for the rest of my life. I’m sure that many of you have had the same experiences, either with your parents or with your children or — if you’re really fortunate — both. It’s something I don’t take lightly. Children grow up fast these days and keeping connected with them seems like more of a challenge than ever.
I’m grateful for anything and everything that helps us stay close.