The morning begins with a wake up call, breakfast and preparing for the morning hunt. Then the awaited moment arrives; it’s time to draw for stands for the morning hunt. Father and son approach the fireplace to draw their stand number from the old hat of the Hunt master. They then turn to the property photograph on the wall to see what area they have drawn to hunt on for that morning. Then sound of the pickup/drop off trucks were heard arriving; over the excited chatter of the men and boys! It is now Time! Each hunting pair will now load on the truck going to the area according to the stand number they have drawn.[For those of you who have never been on a large hunt of this caliber; the purpose of the pickup/drop-off trucks are to enforce safety. No hunters will be allowed to walk around on the ground, thus removing any possibility of anyone getting near or in another hunters zone of fire. This also prevents hunters from getting lost as most do not know the lay of the land. The drivers were also a big help on pickup as they helped retrieve your deer and load it; as your next stop was the deer cooler.]
All hunters are now in place and awaiting dawns light. The darkness begins to give way to light as the view of the landscape becomes clear and movement of wildlife soon start to be seen. The sounds of morning start to replace the sounds of the night; Hoot-owl’s and Whippoorwills give way to Hawks and Crows. The sun is now breaking over the Pine Mountain Ridge and burning off the dew into a light fog over the fields and woodlands. Rabbits, turkey, squirrels, and birds of all kinds keep your eyes moving as the wildlife dart around begriming their day.
Off in the distance, the sound of a gun shot breaks the silence; another, then another from a different direction. You scan the field again from your stand as it is now evident from the gunshots the deer are now moving. Your son pokes you gently, you look where he is looking and see a young doe feeding 40 yards. in front of the stand. How did she get there undetected? In your mind you know it had been there for a while, hidden from your view in the misty dew fog that had covered it’s movement just enough to go un-detected. Now it’s decision time! Do you have your son shoot the doe (it is doe season) or wait in hopes a big buck will come in (quality buck management is in place here)? As you ponder what to recommend to your son, you see him lower his rifle to the gun rail and look through the scope.You then here him whisper, 1-2-3-4-5 and it’s outside the ears! You lookout the direction the barrel is pointed; you then see what he has seen. 100 yards out near the wood line a large buck is quickly moving toward the doe as she eats in the field. BANG!! You watch the buck fall! He did it, great shot! Your pride is now sitting in your throat as your chest swells; your son had learned all you have been trying to teach him on his past two hunts: patients, good judgment, sportsmanship, and marksmanship. He had stayed within the rules of the hunt and got his first big buck (11 points ).
You sit together in the stand, as you await the pickup to be made, you watched and listened to the things of nature. The birds, the screech of a hawk high overhead, and now the rattling of the pick up truck as he is coming to pick you up.You unload your guns and climb slowly down to the ground. The pickup is here; you can now go to get a closer look at your son’s buck! What a wonderful morning!
All pickups of hunters and game are complete. Everyone will now converge on the cooler, to review the morning kill. Farmhands have come in to field dress the deer, so they were ready to go to a processor on Monday. As this was going on, the hunters retold the stories of their hunt as everyone looked at their deer. It is now time for lunch, everyone heads back to the lodge to eat and rest before the evening hunt. One thing to mention is that each father and son are pre-assigned one meal to furnish and prepare during the hunt weekend, this allows all to share in the cost of the weekend as well as share in household tasks.
The hunt will continue for two days with fathers and sons spending quality time together, making them both better people, with memories that will be told again and again.