For decades, wildlife agencies around the country are giving youngsters an edge in getting them interested in deer hunting. In Louisiana, a youth hunt is scheduled one week prior to opening day for the remainder of hunters.
For this special hunt, it’s the adults who tag along as they accompany, coach and assist youngsters who are the only ones allowed to pack a firearm. Sometimes the little guys just get to enjoy being out in the deer stand with dad or granddad watching nature do what nature does. Other times, opportunities are presented where the teaching and instructions of the adults get real. That’s when a deer steps out and it’s game-on.
Youth season took place last Saturday and two successful hunts have come to my attention. Breyden Freeman and Wyatt Chandler are a couple of youngsters who had the opportunity to stand over their trophies after following instructions their grown-up coaches told them to do.
Breyden Freeman, age 13, is fortunate to have a grandfather, Greg Freeman, who sees the importance of teaching his grandson the ropes when it comes to deer hunting. Here’s how Greg described what happened on a hunt with Breyden.
“We got in the stand around 6:30 that morning and already, it was starting to warm up. It was not a good day to deer hunt but I decided what the heck; it’s all about being in the woods whether you get something or not,” Greg recalled.
As the sun was just rising, they looked down the food plot and saw a doe and yearling feeding on the rye grass planted there. They eventually left and the duo sat for another hour and a half without seeing anything.
“I told Breyden that if we hadn’t seen anything by 9:00, it was time to leave because it was really warming up. Around 8:58, I told Breyden it was time to go when I looked down the lane and saw a big deer step out at 140 yards,” Greg said.
“Breyden saw it too and with his young clear eyes, he whispered, ‘it’s a big buck!’ I told him to get the crosshairs on the shoulder and shoot while I watched through my binoculars. When he didn’t shoot right away, I glanced over and saw him doing like he had been taught; he was putting on his hearing protector. Finally, he shot, the deer bolted and ran.”
They recovered the buck that ran some 130 yards. The big deer, a beautiful 8 point, weighed 190 pounds.
A few hours later while this action was happening in Jackson Parish, another youngster and his dad waited until late afternoon to hunt in Webster Parish. Clint Chandler and his 5 year old son, Wyatt, climbed into their stand to wait.
“I was so impressed with my son who was experiencing his first time to be in a deer stand with him being the one with the gun. He showed more patience than most adults. At the age of 5, he was seriously hunting; he wasn’t interested in playing like some kids that age; he never stopped hunting,” Clint explained.
Just before legal shooting hour ended, Clint looked up to see a nice buck step out into the clearing at 80 yards. After telling young Wyatt who was sitting on his lap to find the deer in the scope of the .308, put the crosshairs on the shoulder, take a deep breath and squeeze the trigger.
“He did just like I told him, squeezed the trigger and the 8 point buck collapsed on the spot. When we walked down there, Wyatt began crying; I was concerned that maybe he felt he’s done wrong but he said through tears, ‘Thank you Lord for letting me get this deer.’ To be honest,” Clint said, “I shed a few myself.”
Both Breyden and Wyatt are two fortunate youngsters who have a dad and granddad who see the importance of teaching kids to fall in love with the outdoors. Being successful with bagging bucks is just icing on the cake.