My 8-year-old grandson Trevor goes duck hunting with his dad, Tommy Ainsworth, and has sat many hours with him. Trevor has also sat many hours with his Mamaw (me) in a bow blind or a box blind. Trevor absolutely loves to hunt! This year, however, would be his first year that he gets to shoot his first whitetail doe.
Last year, Trevor had a cane pole that his mom and dad had rigged up for him to fish in a real small pond behind their house in Pearland, Texas. Trevor rigged up a ladder to climb over his backyard wooden fence so he could go fishing in this pond. Trevor had a couple of friends go with him, and sure enough, he caught a little perch. When his dad came home and saw the perch, he told Trevor and his friends, "OK, you got a perch so let’s cook it up." Tommy fried it up and gave each boy a bite. Trevor was a hero in the neighborhood!
Trevor is a member at our gun range, so we have been taking him to there to practice during the summer months. Trevor was really excited about getting to shoot his first doe.
We hunt on Dennis Williams’ ranch located in the Hill Country. It’s a beautiful place and the whitetail deer are plentiful. Even during bow season, Trevor could not wait till gun season for him to shoot his first whitetail deer.
This year we bought some Tannerite. At our lease, we placed it inside of some pumpkins. Trevor shot his Papaw’s AR-15 at the pumpkins. The pumpkins became dust clouds. Being 8 years old, Trevor thought that was totally awesome. It was drizzling rain but Trevor did not care; he was having a great time.
Trevor has been practicing shooting his BB gun at our lease for many years. At our lease we have a house that I call "the house that the Beverly Hillbillies left behind." There is a concrete cistern that drains down to a concrete holding tank that is available to water the cows. Trevor practiced his marksmanship by shooting the float in the tank.
His marksmanship was excellent. He shot the float several times until the float sunk, which caused the water to drain away. We hunt in the Hill Country, so the cows come first and the hunters come second. Since the cistern was drained of all of its water, Dennis had to run his windmill to draw more water for the cows. During our first 10 days of gun season, we had no water to wash dishes or for bathing. But, hey—Trevor was a great shot! Trevor had NO idea how the water system worked; he just knew that he hit his target.
Well, we waited till the later part of deer season. Hunting was really hard this season. It had rained a lot and all the deer were really fat. Because they had so much to eat, the deer could not have cared less about coming to our feeders.
My husband Elliott and I took Trevor out to a blind that had a board inside positioned for shooting. The board went from the front window to the back ledge. We wanted him to rest the gun on the board so that his elbow would stay up and make him steady so he could make a great shot. We wanted his first experience to be awesome.
We had a doe and a really great buck come out, but we did not want him to shoot the buck first. We wanted him to shoot the doe first. The Doe was smart; she kept facing the blind. Trevor had the gun on the board, had the doe in the scope, and waited and waited for the perfect shot.
Trevor's whole body shook from head to toe. He couldn't stop. Trevor finally had the doe turn and Papaw told him, "OK, Trevor, take your shot!” At the exact time that his Papaw told him, the doe stepped forward.
Trevor's shot was not a good shot, but the doe just stood there. She did not run off. So Papaw told Trevor, "Give me the gun so I can put another bullet in it." As quietly as possible, Trevor had to take the gun and hand it under the board to his Papaw, and all this had to happen really fast and quietly.
All the while, we were also afraid the buck would take off and the doe would run and follow him. Papaw put another bullet in the chamber and handed it back to Trevor under the board. Within seconds Trevor had the gun back up and on the board, waiting for his Papaw to give him the OK to take his second shot. Papaw then told him to take the shot.
And when Trevor shot for the second time, he made a perfect heart shot and the doe fell right where she stood, about 10 steps away from the feeder. Trevor was so excited that he had finally stopped shaking! All he could do was smile from ear to ear. Trevor had taken his first whitetail doe.
It was an excellent hunting experience for our 8-year-old grandson. We were so proud of his shot and we were very proud grandparents. We came back to camp and Trevor couldn't wait to tell his dad and send his mom a picture of himself with his doe. Trevor helped his Papaw clean and quarter his Doe.
His Papaw fried up some backstrap with gravy. Our family hunts and processes our own meat, and that’s what we all eat throughout the year. Trevor went to bed that night with a really full stomach.
There is no doubt that next season Trevor will get himself a wonderful buck. It’s really hard for an 8 year old to be patient and focused. Trevor will be a great hunter, whether it’s deer or ducks. Trevor loves the outdoors and one day he will carry on the tradition of hunting and fishing and teach his children how it feels to survive off the land, which is a true blessing.