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Raising an Outdoorsman

By: Brian Harris
| April 1, 2021 |

I didn’t know when my son JC was born back in February of 2009 that he would be an outdoorsman. My extent into this world goes back to my days as a Boy Scout. Monthly my Boy Scout troop went camping. One week a summer I spent at Camp Tuckabatchee just north of Montgomery. It was fun but soon as I completed my Eagle Scout badge at 14 – I was done. 

As an adult, I have a group of friends that would meet together annually near Muscle Shoals at a friend’s farm. We’d stayed in tents occasionally around the 100+ acre farm, but most nights were spent sleeping in a recliner as we watched British comedies on Alabama Public Television in front of a roaring fire. 

My dad took me hunting once. We sat down at the base of a large Oak tree on family land near Greenville, Alabama. I had a shotgun, not a rifle. The biggest thing I remember was getting up at 4 am to be in place by sunrise. It was freezing cold and I never asked to go again. 

JC though – he loves to go fishing. He loves to go hunting. I think he’d sleep every night in a tent if we’d let him. He decorated his room in camo at one point. His Uncle Phillip owns land near Troy and invited him often to come down and hunt with him and his son. 

I learned quickly that for me as his dad to connect with him – I better go hunting or fishing with him. It was going to require me to exit my comfort zone (and my recliner). 

After borrowing a rifle for a few years I broke down and bought him his own. He shot his first deer and later a second. Both spikes – but that didn’t matter, he was having fun. 

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This year – a friend of mine took us to his land in South Montgomery. He set up a tent and JC was determined he was going to get me my first deer. We sat there quietly and within about 15 minutes our first deer showed up in front of us. JC spotted it first.

“Dad, dad, there’s a deer!” he whispered to me. I squinted my eyes looking for movement. “Do you see it?” I brought the scope to my eye and pointed in the direction he indicated. Sure enough, there was female deer, a doe, about 100 yards away. My heart started to beat a little faster. 

“Dad, look behind her. There’s a second one!” He anxiously whispered again. Sure enough, a second deer looked around a pile of brush. Over the next hour and a half, we watched about 8 does gather in front of us. 

“Dad – you’re going to get one today.”

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We kept waiting for a big buck to round the corner but they never came. As the sun set and the end of hunting for the day was nearly complete, I lined up the scope on the largest and oldest doe on the field. “Take a breath Dad,” said JC. I breathed in, exhaled, and then pulled the trigger. 

Our friends came over and helped us find the downed deer and went with us to drop her off for processing. A few weeks later we picked up the benefits of our hunt – about 40lbs of meat. 

We chose to get part of it made into sausage links. Since then we’ve cooked breakfast for dinner a couple of times and included sausage. We’ve cooked spaghetti and meatloaf including ground deer. Our favorite recipe so far though has been the sausage balls we made from the ground sausage meat. I’ll share some recipes in a future post.

Our investment in guns, camo, dirt bikes, big trucks, fishing gear, and knives has increased tremendously in the past 12 years. It’s worth every dime to get to spend the extra time with my son and I’d do it again. 

It’s fun raising a kid that isn’t exactly you. He has his own interests but still loves to go watch soccer games with me (my interest). He plays football, has lots of friends, plays in the mud, and constructs elaborate Lego buildings. 

Often times as parents it’s easy to transfer onto our kids the hopes and aspirations we didn’t complete. Of course, I have dreams for JC but in the end, I love that he knows what he likes. I pray that he will continue through life doing the things he loves to do and have memories of me along the way. 

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