There’s nothing more important for us as avid hunters than getting new people into hunting. It’s a responsibility and a privilege. Getting our youth involved is a crucial part of that responsibility, and whenever we have the chance, I love getting to share the stories of folks doing just that. Today we’ve got a terrific story from Bryan Lape, as he shares the awesome experience of witnessing his son shoot his first buck. Huge congrats to Bryan and Brayden – I’m sure this will be the first of many for Brayden! – MK
By Bryan Lape
Brayden’s first hunting experience began last year when he was able to harvest a doe with a cross bow. We had close encounters with a couple bucks that year and that gave him the itch that all we hunters now have… the need to harvest a buck.
Fast forward to this year, Brayden loves to go hunting and shooting his cross bow. We practice shooting our bows together in our basement throughout the year and he has become a great shot. This year while we were practicing I asked him if he was going to shoot a doe or hold out for a buck. I had a huge grin on my face when he said he was holding out for an 11 point buck! He said he wanted to shoot one bigger than moms.
On the first day of the Michigan youth season we were bummed to find out that the neighboring property owner of my mom’s (Nana) was riding four-wheelers and cutting trees very close to where we were going to hunt for the night. I decided to call a buddy of mine to see if we could try out our luck on his property. He wished us luck and we were on our way. We didn’t see any deer that afternoon but we did see over 15 turkeys and they all roosted in the trees right above us. Brayden thought that was awesome.
The next afternoon we headed back to Nana’s house and quietly snuck into the deer blind. I quickly swapped the card in the game camera and began to look at the pictures with Brayden after we got settled in. There were three bucks that were there only two hours before we got there. I knew they would bed down close so I reminded Brayden to stay quiet so we wouldn’t bump them out of there.
About an hour later I saw the three deer coming down the trail heading straight for us. The buck he wanted to shoot was in the front. I helped Brayden get his cross bow set up on the tripod and began to film the deer coming in. It happened pretty fast, I remember telling Brayden to wait until the buck turned broadside before he shot, but Brayden was not wasting anytime. He made a great shot on him and the celebration began!
The buck was not the biggest in the woods, but having the opportunity to watch my 7 year old son shoot his first buck and catch it all on film definitely gave me buck fever just as if I was the one hunting. We gave the deer plenty of time to retire and then began tracking him. As I was looking for blood I heard Brayden shout… Is that my buck!!?! Sure enough he was right. The buck only went no more than 10 yards further than we saw him run.
I believe that the Michigan youth Hunt is a great opportunity for younger kids to get out in the woods and experience the great outdoors that God has provided for us. It’s a time that parents and their children can create lasting memories that we can cherish forever. – Bryan Lape