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Passion For Whitetails

By Andrew Francis

Does hunting whitetails mean more than just harvesting a deer to you? The passion for whitetails that I have today started back when, my grandpa and father would leave for a week every year. I took me a couple years until I knew what they were doing. When I was in first grade I remember going into the garage once they got back from their trip and there was a beautiful 9 point hanging in the garage. At the time I knew nothing about it and started talking to the deer and wanted to bring him snacks because I thought he was going to wake up and start walking around during the night. There must have been a little bug that jumped off that deer and bit me because after that moment I had the fever. I went from watching cartoons to watching the outdoors channel.

When I was 8 years old I was lucky enough to go on the trip with them for my first time. Every year there was a group of 14 that included; my grandpa, dad, uncles, and friends. We leave at 5 am Friday and get down there early afternoon. First thing was first check in with all the landowners and see how things were going. On that same night driving back I saw a piebald 6 point. One of the coolest things to see in the woods, not many people get to see them but I was lucky enough to see one with my grandpa.

Fast forward 3 years, now it was time for my first hunt and carrying a weapon. I waited for this trip all year and when they time came I could not sleep the night before. On the way down I got a call that a buddy killed a nice 8 with his bow, already a great start to deer camp 2003. I spent two days cleaning shrubs and branches out for my spot Monday morning.

Opening day was here and I was on stand with my dad not a sound in the woods until 10:34 am. I look to my right and two nice bucks are walking down the path right in front of me. They stopped and gave me a perfect shot, click boom! I started shacking so bad and kept asking my grampsandi.jpgdad if I got him. With the look on his face I could tell that I just missed a nice buck. After that moment I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to give up hunting forever. As you all know that does not last long. The next morning, Tuesday was not real exciting but it was a day that changed my life forever. I made it to the stand a little late, but was sick and throwing up. The worst morning you could picture.  There was noises everywhere, once it stopped a herd of 20+ deer came running by, I was hunting with my dad and we both shot bucks.  My grandpa was hunting 75 yards away and shot a buck with his .45. I went from having the worst day to the best day of my life. It turned out to be the best year ever at deer camp.

It must have been the year to remember because my grandfather died later that year due to cancer. The toughest thing I have ever had to deal with. The one thing I remember about his wake was seeing deer in the parking lot in the middle of the city while the deer camp hunters were all sitting outside. Now being in the woods is more than just harvesting a deer to me its the friendships, spending time in mother nature, enjoying the wildlife and remembering all the great times with the loved ones. That is how the passion that still burns in me today got started.


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