A Young Man’s First Deer
Kevin Felts 04.12.17
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There are many turning points in a young man’s life. One of them should be when he takes his first deer. This is the story of my third son’s first deer and the events on that fateful day.
It was a mediocre, but special day here in southeast Texas. Two months earlier, my son and I had put his rifle on layaway at a local gun store. This was the day we were going to pay the rifle off.
I wanted to teach my son a life lesson. That lesson was that we do not always get what we want right when we want it. One Saturday morning in September, I told my son, “Get in the truck, we were going to a gun store.” We drove 30 minutes to a nearby town and walked into the store.
We started looking at rifles under the pretense that I was buying one for myself. A nice lady walked over and asked if we needed any help. I said “Sure, may I see that rifle?” The first one was a bolt action. I handed the rifle to my son and asked what he thought. He looked it over and handed it back.
After a few rifles were examined, I looked at my son and told him, “Pick a rifle, we are putting you one on layaway.” His eyes got as big as silver dollars. As excited as he may have been, he took his time. Even though we looked at various rifles, there was one he kept going back to, and that was a Marlin 336 lever action with a Nikon scope.
My other two sons had received a Marlin 336 from their grandparents. Every young man should own a lever action rifle. To continue the tradition, my youngest son picked out his rifle and it was put on layaway.
Over the next two months on my payday, my son and I went to the gun store and paid on his rifle. Then the day came that we paid it off. The paperwork was filled out, and out the store we went.
To the Farm
We were now in late November. With plenty of deer season left, I was hoping my son could get a deer over the next month.
We drove from the gun store straight to the farm. A rest was set up and my son sighted his rifle in. The deer feeder was around 100 yards from the stand, and we were only sighting in the rifle at around 50 yards.
I explained to my son about bullet drop. If the bullet was a little high at 50 yards, it should be good at 100 yards. Over the course of an hour, my son probably sent a box and a half down-range. We had the rifle sighted in with the first few rounds. The other box was just for fun.
Time was getting late and we needed to get out to the hunting lease.
The Kodiak 4-wheeler was loaded in the truck and off to the hunting lease we went. Around 20 minutes later we arrived at the lease. The 4-wheeler was unloaded from the truck. My son and I then got on the ATV and drove to the deer stand.
The stand was a box stand on legs that was made out of an old fiberglass porta-potty.
I like to get in the deer stand around 4:00pm. On this day, we were running a little late and arrived at around 4:15. 15 minutes is no big deal.
The feeder was set to go off around 4:30, so we had some time. Sun down was around 5:15 and by 5:40 or so things were pitch black.
It was maybe five minutes after we got in the stand when a nice six-point walked out of the treeline.
My son raised his rifle and got the deer in the crosshairs, but one of the feeder’s legs was in the way. I told him, “If you do not have a clear shot, do not shoot.” The deer took its sweet time eating the corn, but eventually moved to where my son could get a shot.
Young Man’s First Deer
He squeezed the trigger and the round went down range. The deer kicked much like a horse does when spooked, then bolted into the treeline.
My son asked, “Did I get him?”
I replied, “I think you did!”
After waiting around ten minutes, we eased out of the stand and walked to where the deer was standing. There we found some drops of blood on the ground.
Maybe 20 feet into the treeline, was my son’s deer. We approached from the back side and the deer was nudged with the rifle. It was a magnificent specimen of southeast Texas whitetail deer.
We loaded it on the ATV and off to the deer camp we went to weigh it.
My son told me a few weeks later that his rifle is the greatest rifle ever made.