Trophy day: In 2006, at age 14, Ethan Gunnell shot his first deer, a six-point,… (Courtesy)

A few minutes before, I was rattling, and this deer came out of the field to the edge of the woods. My son, Ethan, then 14 years old, was sitting at my side. We were into the woods about 60 yards.

The buck was looking around sensing something. I was waiting for Ethan to shoot, which seemed like an eternity. I whispered, “Shoot! Shoot!”

“A tree limb is in my way!” he whispered back. Then finally, he fired. The deer took off running.

I knew he probably missed by a country mile, but the buck ran sideways swiftly toward us. I quickly sounded my grunt call and the buck stopped dead, broadside of us 25 yards away. Ethan shot and dropped him. His first deer, a six-point buck, 130 pounds.

We walked over to his deer. He was so overcome with joy he started to cry. I think I did too.

He said, “This is bigger than your buck, Dad.”
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