Super proud Daddy moment
Our morning started out in Gadsden County with an early visit from a doe. It was too dark for an attempt with iron sites, but I slid my scoped 30-30 out the window and Mason said he could see her through the scope. As soon as I cocked the hammer back, she bolted out of the patch hearing the click.
About an hour later, we had a pickle fork spike come into the patch on our left, but he quickly turned and started walking away from us. He was about 75 yards out when he turned and started grazing. I put the 30-30 out the window and Mason found him in the crosshairs. After a couple of minutes, he whispered that he couldn't hold the crosshairs steady because he was shaking like a leaf! After a few minutes the buck left the patch and the disappointment on Mason's face was heartbreaking. We discussed how he had taken the responsible course of action since he didn't feel he could make a solid, ethical shot.
Another hour passed and I noticed a doe entering the far left end of the patch. She was followed by 6 more does that took the next half hour grazing their way toward us. Mason put the rifle out the window and was again shaking like crazy. We whispered back and forth and worked our way through the jitters. Three of the does managed to graze right in front of our stand and Mason drew down on the largest one. He hesitated and then whispered that he was "scared" I asked if he was scared of the rifle (he had never shot the 30-30) or if he was scared to shoot the deer. He said he was scared he would miss the deer or wound it. I encouraged him to take his time, think about everything we had talked about and that I had taught him. Take a couple deep breaths, settle the crosshairs, gradually squeeze the trigger and believe in his abilities. As he lowered his head back to the scope, the lead doe saw the movement and perked up in an alert stance. I whispered to him that he had to take the shot now or never and I saw his finger move to the trigger. Just as my eyes got back on the doe, I heard the shot and watched her roll over and lunge into the brush. Mason looked up, looked at me and screamed, "I got her!" After a few congratulatory hugs, fist bumps and back slaps, we calmed ourselves and Mason offered thanks for the opportunity and for the life he had taken. Hearing him do so brought a big old boy to tears. We climbed out and recovered his doe in short order.
As we walked out to get the truck, he informed me that he wanted to hunt with the 30-30 from now on. I guess I can live with that.