A Member Story from Scott Dewitt
In the spring of 2018, I decided my 6-year-old son Jaxton was ready to shoot his first deer. Before taking him hunting in the fall, I wanted to make sure he knew about gun safety and could shoot well enough to take an animal. I started him on a .22 LR, and he quickly moved up to shooting a .223. Then, he graduated to a 6.8 SPC.
Jaxton was ready to go. All that was left to do was to wait for a chance to take him hunting on a family friend’s land. It’s located in the Texas Hill Country. It’s perfect for kids because the deer are fairly relaxed and there’s always a lot of wildlife action.
Jaxton’s first hunt would come on Thanksgiving. We went to our friend’s place for Thanksgiving lunch and visited for a while. Then, we were on our way to the woods. We got to the stand at about 3:30 and I spread a bunch of corn about 50 to 75 yards from the blind between us and the feeder.
I wanted to make sure the deer were spread out and would stick around for a while. At about 4 p.m. a single doe came in and Jaxton started to get the rifle up, but she was spooked and ran away. At 4:30, the feeder went off and within minutes we had four does in front of us eating corn. I could tell Jaxton was very excited and very nervous at the same time.
I spent a few minutes going over his breathing, trying to get him to relax. Then, he was ready to take the shot. He got the rifle up on the windowsill and had the deer in his scope.
“Are you nice and steady?”
He replied, “Yes.”
“When you’re ready, put the crosshair right behind her shoulder.”
Then, he fired and she ran off. I knew instantly he shot right over her and buck fever got the best of him. We went and looked for blood or any other sign of a hit, but found nothing. Then, I watched the video and could clearly tell it was a miss.
Jaxton was very sad, but I told him to get back in the stand and maybe another doe would come. About 10 minutes after getting back in the stand, a group of hogs came in. Jaxton made a great shot on his first hog. After recovering the hog, we checked another feeder in hope of finding a doe to shoot.
Sure enough, we stalked up to another feeder and saw three does. I set up the tripod and Jaxton made a perfect shot right behind the shoulder and took his first doe. I could not have asked for a better Thanksgiving or a better deer season at that point.
My friend asked if Jaxton and I wanted to come back out and shoot some more hogs. I said he would love that. The day we were scheduled to go there, he called and said he had an old six-point that has been showing up regularly. If I wanted to let Jaxton take the buck, I could.
This was an offer that I couldn’t resist. Jaxton had been doing great in school and I felt he earned this opportunity. I decided not to tell him because I did not want him to get too excited and nervous. Also, I did not want him to be disappointed if the buck did not show up.
I told him we would go hunting for hogs. We got to the ranch and I spread 25 pounds of corn around the feeder and we got in the blind. Jaxton was very excited and kept saying he hoped hogs would show up. However, I kept thinking, “God please do not let hogs show up.”
Deer started coming in around 4 p.m. There were five does and three bucks, but none of them were the old six-point. We sat patiently, enjoying watching the deer. Then, at about 4:30 the feeder went off and the deer scatter, but quickly returned.
Ten minutes later, Jaxton said, “Dad; there is a buck to the right of the feeder in the woods.” I looked through the binocular, saw the big forks, and instantly I knew it was the big six-point. The buck walked in and started eating corn right in front of the feeder pen.
I raised the window and then Jaxton looked at me, surprised. He said, “What are you doing, Dad?” I said, “You’re going to shoot that buck.” He then said, “I thought we were not allowed to shoot a buck here this year.”
That is when I told him our friend gave the green light to shoot this big six-point deer. Jaxton’s face lit up with excitement. Jaxton calmed down, we got the gun up on the windowsill and Jaxton got very steady by using another windowsill to prop his elbow.
“Are you steady? Can you keep the crosshair on the buck’s shoulder?” He said, “Yes.” Then the buck turned towards us. I heard the safety click to fire.
Jaxton took a deep breath and took a shot. I heard the impact and watched the deer bolt behind the feed pen. Jaxton was ecstatic, but I was nervous after watching the video because the deer was slightly quartered towards us. Also, the shot hit slightly back from where I would have like it to be.
I decided we needed to wait at least 30 minutes to allow the buck to expire. Afterward, we climbed down to check for blood, and boy, was there a lot of blood. We followed the blood trail about 20 yards, and then Jaxton spotted his buck lying about 30 yards away. I told him to stay there while I checked to make sure the buck was dead.
After checking, I told him to put his hands on his buck. I have never seen my son so happy and so proud of an accomplishment. I am so happy that this surprise hunt worked out like it did. This is by far the best season I have ever had!
My happiness has everything to do with introducing my son to the brotherhood of hunting. I could not be more proud of my son.
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This article originally appears at Texas Trophy Hunters