Deer hunting with dad Essay
Deer hunting with dad
Some of us have had that life changing experience spent with our fathers or mothers. The bond between a father and son can be something truly magnificent whether it is a small or a large event. The accumulation of memories is what makes a relationship so special and deep, and what keeps a parent and child so close throughout life. Such memories become embarrassing stories in front of new dates, toast at weddings, eulogies at funerals, and lifelong memories of someone who might just not be around any longer. This is an account of the single most incredible bonding moment I have ever had with anyone, and fortunately it is a memory of the coolest man I have ever met, my father.
For twenty years I have been gathering memories of my father and while some are bad, ninety nine percent of them are great ones. The one funny thing about memories is that you never realize they are going to be memories until long after the occurrence takes place. For instance when I was very young, if I were to misbehave in public my father would take me on what we now call “spankin’ walks” where I would be lead out the door by the wrist while my father spanked my lil’ bottom until his message was clear. At the time it was not such an enjoyable walk, but now I can look back and laugh with an appreciation for how I was raised.
Unable to predict the magnitude of such an experience, at the age of twelve my father took me deer hunting for the first time ever. It was late October and as a high school football trainer, he finally had a Friday evening off and wanted to make the most of it.
We drove south to my uncle’s farm in Owen County, Kentucky, and stayed the night in his very primitive trailer to stage an early morning hunt. That morning my father and I headed into the woods with our muzzle loading rifles; his was a hand made replica of a Kentucky Long Rifle and mine was a $100 starter rifle. We took our spots in a tree stand we built the Saturday before. The stand was perfect for two people; sitting back to back we could each see our respective ends of the fields as well as a decent distance into the woods on the opposite side of the stand.
Most of the morning went by without any action at all, but I grew to learn just how squirrels prepared for the winter. As the afternoon approached, my Dad asked me if I was ready to go back to the trailer for lunch to which I replied “in a lil’ while, I’m not too hungry yet.” About twenty minutes later in a blur came a deer out into the field in front of me, so I shouldered my gun, took aim and fired.
My father was half asleep and with no warning of my shot he almost fell out of the tree stand. When he turned and looked he saw the same magnificent eight point buck that was just as scared as he was. The deer took to running and Dad spun around his gun and took a desperation shot at the sprinting whitetail but his bullet found the side of the ridge instead of his moving target.
With the deer out of sight we began to look at my gun and to see why the weapon had malfunctioned when I pulled the trigger. Upon further investigation, we found that after the hammer struck the cap to ignite the spark, the spark did not ignite the powder that was lodged in the barrel resulting in a misfire. Disappointed and disgruntled we made our way out of the tree and began the journey back to the campsite.
Upon returning to the trailer, my Uncle and his three friends were waiting to hear a success story after hearing several shots coming from our area of the farm. After explaining the event we began to disassemble my gun and figure out the reason for its malfunction. At the bottom of the barrel we found a small piece of cloth that my father left in the barrel after cleaning the weapon. At that point I do not know who was more disappointed, Dad or me, since my golden opportunity was spoiled. I placed no blame on him, but I could tell his guilt would haunt him regardless.
Since that day Dad has lost interest in deer hunting for reasons unknown to me, but he did spark a passion in his son to succeed at a task that I have yet to master. Eight years later I still have not had an opportunity at a trophy like the one that eluded us that day, but I have tried every fall and winter since then. The drive that I have to go into the woods for hours on end every season might have subliminal reasons that I have not truly thought about until I began to brainstorm for this project. I have begun to realize I might be trying to put a perfect ending on a nearly perfect afternoon with my father.
Like any other memory, this one had no significant meaning until much later in life when the misfortunes can be laughed at due to a much deeper meaning of the tale. It is a story I can be proud of when it is recited in front of dates, at my wedding, or, God forbid, in a eulogy. It’s a story that is only a portion of the memories that I have accumulated over the years. It is a story that I will never forget and will always recall when I need it. Since then my father an I have become closer and this experience will bond us together for the rest of our lives. I can only hope that my father can provide such a memory for my twelve year old younger brother.