Missouri Monster

Eatonbuck Michael Eaton of Springfield, Mo., sent us this story of a special November hunt with his 15-year-old son Matheson. Here’s his story in his own words:

_"My son, Matheson and I are relatively new to hunting—about five years. Even so, my son has been extremely successful, tagging sic deer and two turkeys, (one this fall with his bow).

We had planned a father/son weekend on my brother-in-law's land in Texas County, Mo. We got up before dawn Saturday morning with great anticipation. By 11:00 that morning, our anticipation was dwindling and the temperature was approaching 70 degrees.

Since I have yet to get my first deer, we had decided to sit in the stand back to back. Anything my way, I would get to shoot and anything his direction was his. We had been sitting there a good while when I finally saw the buck. It was walking through some thick woods, and I could tell he was big. I reached for our .308. Then stopped.

“Get the gun,” I told my son. I knew the deer would be crossing a small opening, so I told my son to aim that way and to take a deep breathe for what he was about to see. I will never forget the look in my son's eyes when he pulled away from the scope and looked at me. We were looking at the biggest deer we had ever seen in southwest Missouri.

He took a deep breath and fired. The buck jumped a fence and circled around us, giving my son the opportunity for an insurance shot. He fired again and the buck dropped. It was a huge 14-point, 160-class buck.

This was certainly a moment my son and I had that will stay with me forever.

My brother-in-law had been working with my son on field dressing a deer, and for some reason it was important to my son that he field dress this one by himself. I couldn't help but think about the campaign of "Take a Kid Hunting" or "Pass it On", and how
thankful I am that other hunters, some I didn't know, did just that. We have been welcomed on hunting trips and have shared in deer camp rituals. We have had guys
teach us ethical practices and hunting techniques, all with the spirit of "passing it on". Thanks to all who pass it on."_

You couldn’ be more correct, Michael. And congrats to you and your son on a fantastic hunt. This is an amazing story for a father who brought his son into the hunting fold late in his own life. It’s a story seldom heard, but one that everybody who has shared in your development as hunters can take great pride in. For in the end, it’s not so much about the deer that you got that day, but the time together that you spend and the bond such memories will strengthen between father and son for a lifetime. — Doug Howlett