Thomas' First Deer

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Thomas is my middle son.  He will be 24 years old this December.  I have written several stories with and including my youngest son, Nikolas, as he has been out hunting most with me but this one will focus only Thomas.

Thomas is a very mild mannered young man.  He has been that way ever since his childhood.  He really showed no interest in hunting so I did not push it on him.  I had taken Thomas to the farm many of times and was providing him bits and pieces of hunting aspects so as to trigger that curiosity… I just thought hunting may not be Thomas’ interest.   I waited patiently until that day finally came.  It was the spring of 2004 and I was getting my bow and firearms out to review for cleanliness and to provide any needed maintenance.  Thomas happened to be in the room and asked me if he could do some hunting with me this year.  A small set of fireworks and a parade was my vision in mind at the time because I really didn’t think Thomas was going to be a hunter.

It was time Thomas had his own firearm so I took him to the sporting goods store.  Thomas picked out a Mossberg model 500 20 gauge pump shotgun.  It came with a deer slug barrel - a good first shotgun for him.  We then did all the right things that summer when introducing a person to the sport of hunting.  Thomas enrolled and completed his Ohio Safe Hunter certification.  He got used to firing his shotgun at different yardage.  Thomas turned out to be a pretty darn accurate shooter.  I took Thomas rabbit and squirrel hunting as I wanted to see him harvest something.  He did just fine.

Fall had come and with it the Ohio November gun season.  Now it was time to see what Thomas could do Deer hunting.  He was going to miss 2 or three days of high school but that was okay as he was doing excellent with his grades.   Monday morning opening came and Thomas was awaken by alarm at 5:00am.  He is not a morning person so we almost had to drag Thomas out of bed.  We set Thomas up on the stand behind the barn.  This is one of the first homemade wooden stands Dad and Brother Dave had erected.  It was at the edge of a 5 acre field and was a deer haven for their travel from the neighbor’s property to Dad’s.  Thomas was able to shoot a buck or a doe – whatever presented itself to him.

Thomas was in the stand at first light.  There is a chair in the stand for comfort.  Thomas was in the stand no more than 30 minutes and he was falling asleep.  Not having the same 1st day excitement driving the adrenaline through his body like maybe you and me, Thomas decided he was going to lay the chair in front of him so he could hunker down behind it and “rest”.  Just as he laid his shotgun down in front of the chair while he was behind it he looked up to see a small but respectable 8 pointer coming down the deer trail that leads to right in front of the stand about 30 yards out.  Now Thomas was in a fix.  He had to do a lot more maneuvering in order to get a shot off.  Thomas waited until the buck put its head down to nibble on some clover before he leaned over the chair and picked up his shotgun.  The deer caught no movement and continued feeding.  Thomas used the chair now as a steady rest for his shotgun and using his open sights he placed a shot in the shoulder of that buck.  The deer went down right where he had shot it – there was no death run as the slug hit its mark with heart and lung being destroyed. 

Thomas came down to the barn, the normal meet spot after a hunt was completed.  His Uncle Dave and I were already at the barn with our Does.  Thomas told his story of his hunt to the both of us.  We shook his hand and gave him a (manly) hug of congratulations.  I then had Thomas take me back to the deer and guided him through his first field dressing of a deer.  Thomas was proud of his first deer and buck.  His antlers to this day remain atop Grandpa’s pole barn with a slew of other antlers as a legacy to his hunt and something he may show his son or daughter some day in the future. 


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Always love hearing the story

Always love hearing the story of someone's first deer!  I still tell mine quite often, if anyone is willing to listen.  I have a good 5 or 6 years until I am able to take my oldest son on his first big game hunt.  I can't wait to be able to talk about his first deer, or share a "manly hug" with him. Hopefully there will be many, many hunts like your son's.

Thanks for a great story Retired! 

COMeatHunter's picture

Another great hunting story,

Another great hunting story, thanks Retired.  It's great to experience a first kill with your kids all over again.  I'm lucky in that my son is just getting started big game hunting.  We've had some success but lots more memories.  I will never forget my son's first deer either.

Here's to many more hunts for you and Thomas.  Keep making memories!

groovy mike's picture

It sure sounds like both of you did everything right!

Thanks for sharing the story of Thomas first deer.  It sure sounds like both of you did everything right.  Right from not pressuring him but allowing teasers to set the stage, through buying a shotgun and setting him up on a fantastic stand for opening day.

Like Jaybe said - the only problem is that after an opening experience like that -  he just might have the idea that deer hunting is EASY ! 

I have a friend who falls asleep in the woods every year.   He has hunted with me for at least ten years and he has never even shot at a deer.  I have another friend who does crossword puzzles on stand – he kills a deer every year.  So I guess that it CAN be done, but I am too a friend to do anything that might distract me from spotting a glimpse of an elusive sneaky buck.  Like you Retired2 hunt -   I have only fallen asleep once that I recall.  I was moose hunting in Alaska.  I did not bag a moose that hunt despite seeing moose that were not legal for me to harvest every day of the ten day hunt.  It would be just my luck that the big Bullwinkle walked through when I was snoozing! 


Leopard1 – I hope that you know that all of us here in the United States are jealous of your hunting opportunities in the Republic of South Africa!  I agree that it is exciting helping new hunters learn.  This year I am taking my son deer hunting for the first time that he can harvest a deer.  I know that I would rather see him harvest a buck than to take one myself.

SGM's picture

That is a very cool story and

That is a very cool story and your son sound like my youngest boy Tim. He has never hunted with me, at least not yet, but his love for fishing sure has exploded the past few years. He is now 22 and in the Navy but he has talked a little about going hunting one of these years which is a huge step forward. Putting the antlers on the pole barn sounds very cool too. Nice family tradition and I am sure a true sense of honor when you get to put a set up there.

Leopard1's picture


A great story on Thomas. There is nothing better than teaching new people about the great out doors. I am from South Africa and have been hunting all my life. Teaching new people how to hunt is very exciting for me.

numbnutz's picture

Very nice story on Thomas's

Very nice story on Thomas's deer hunt. That is a really nice looking white tail there. I have had the problem of being on stand and starting to doze off myself. That is the main reason I guess I prefer to either still hunt or spot and stalk. I just get to bored sitting and waiting for a deer to show up. Now when I sit in my blind I will bring a hand held game like yahtzee or something and turn the sound off just to keep me busy. Anyways. Congrats to Thomas on the fine deer.

Retired2hunt's picture

  yes i swear my younger


yes i swear my younger brother has Attention Deficit Disorder too!  He has to play a vidoe game while in the stand or he will bring the morning newspaper crossword puzzle with him and work it with every now and then looking out into the woods and fields for movement.  I have only taken a nap in a stand once and that was bear hunting and only after driving all night to get up to the place of hunt and staying up all day getting the gear to the cabin.  I probably slept through an 800 pound brut at the bait pile!  LOL!!!


jaybe's picture

What a great way to begin a

What a great way to begin a deer hunting career! I hope getting a nice 8-pointer like that doesn't spoil him for the future.

I have a cousin who always reads a paperback novel while he's on stand - says he doesn't want to "waste the time". For me, just watching and listening to the different sights and sounds of the woods is all the entertainment I need. Besides, I don't want to miss that deer that's sneaking through the woods just at the limit of my shooting distance.

 Thanks for the story and great picture.

 Congrats to Thomas.