It takes a really special dad. Youth hunts allow young deer hunters the luxury of getting into the woods early before there’s any hunting pressure. They’re a great way to up the odds for a youngster to score a deer.
Youth hunts give them a slight edge, but they’re by no means a cinch. There are no cinches in hunting.
With each young hunter goes a responsible dad who’s there as a coach, cheerleader and safety supervisor. Dads are unarmed; AKA: no firearm. Their main duty is to record the event and spend some quality time with junior.
But nobody said this was going to be easy. No one’s counting, but this was the fourth year 13-year-old Eli Midkiff and his guide dad Derek have been chosen to participate in the Louisiana Youth Hunt. They’ve traveled more than a few miles together in search of the very elusive whitetail deer.
The waiting makes it all the more special when eventually the hunter has some success. If you want it bad enough, you have to be willing to pay the price. It is one of the great lessons of hunting that translates to life itself.
They put the rubber to the road, and it was non-stop from Ragley to Rayville, La. The Midkiff boys were up early, and ready to get on the stand. But before they knew it, they were down to the last day, and time was running out.
A heaven-sent doe appeared out of nowhere, and it was show time. Eli had practiced with his rifle and he knew just what to do. He flipped his safety, settled in on the target and squeezed off a round.
And bingo — just like that — a hunter was born. The second best part was Eli celebrating with his very dedicated old man. There were high fives and hugs, followed by the more manly fist bumps. Neither child nor parent will ever forget the good feeling that makes it all worth the considerable effort it took to git ‘er done!
Eli’s super doe hadn’t been missing many meals. It weighed in at a cool 125 pounds. Between Eli and Derek, not a link of sausage from this prime animal will be wasted.
It’s already been a great year for nine-year-old man-child Hunter Shelton who hails from Cadiz, Ken. His dad Mike runs Donaldson Creek Outfitters — a for-real first-class hunting operation complete with bluegrass hospitality.
Their breakfast of fresh backstrap with sawmill gravy and biscuits was worth the trip alone. This is deer and turkey country that’s about as picturesque as a hunter can imagine.
There are beaucoup deer in these rolling hills that need to be harvested to keep numbers in check. Hunter, with Dad’s permission, was doing his part in thinning the herd. Not only can he shoot, but he field dresses and skins his own deer. This young deer hunter is a certified keeper.
It’s hunting season and a cool front approaches. It’s a great time to get out in the great outdoors and soak it up.
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