TERRE HAUTE —
As I stepped around the corner of the skinning shed, a young man was smiling from ear to ear, looking at a very nice doe lying in the snow he had harvested.
Nine-year-old Nicholas Winchell was hunting with his dad on Dec. 31 in 32-degree temps with snow falling. They knew deer would be moving and in groups.
During hard times, deer as well as turkeys will group up for the knowledge of others on food and shelter. More eyes the better for spotting hungry predators.
Lad and dad were sitting on a knoll overlooking a field and wooded area. Of course, regular camo would make you stick out like a pimple on a super model.
Lawn chairs and some of mom’s white sheets were strategically borrowed from the house and the sheets were perfect for snow camo as well as breaking the wind.
As the deer story was unfolding to my ears, this hunting team was cutting up its harvest while standing at a table with the short one using as much skill and dedication as his dad. What a learning experience!
They set up at about 4 p.m. and the one-hour wait was well worthwhile, because in the next 20 minutes they saw 11 different deer.
At about 5:10 p.m., a group of three followed the fence around coming to the hunters. The rear doe presented a clean shot until she went into the woods, so the front doe became the target.
Nicholas had practiced many times and was coached on making the perfect shot, so the animal wouldn’t suffer, which he did! A Harrington Richardson single shot, in a 44-caliber with a scope, was his choice of rifle and with the first shot she walked 10 yards, stopped and he put the next shot about 11⁄2 inches from the first, directly in the kill zone of the shoulder.
With pure joy, he yelled, “I can’t believe I got it!” Dad was hugging him with tears of joy forming in Nicholas’s eyes. A bonding moment words cannot describe.
Here I sit watching this young man help cut up a deer and anticipating the taste of the deer steak for supper. He is wearing his Carhart bibs and camo hunting jacket with John Deere boots. Every dad’s dream of a son.
Six squirrels have ended up in the cooking pot from his shooting skills, so if any of you kids at Rio Grande need any hunting advice, look up Nicholas.
As he showed me his deer tag from his deer, he said he was so excited that his penmanship looked like a pre-schooler’s writing. Next on the seasoned hunter’s list is an Elk in Kentucky. There’s a herd of Elk well established inland between the lakes.
There’s no doubt this young man will accomplish anything he takes on.
Standing together cutting meat, dad said with a touch of sarcasm, “I got my deer with one shot.” Nicholas smiled and rolled his eyes. This lad-and-dad team is fun to hang out with; they make forever memories (everyday).
Kenny Bayless can be reached by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (812) 877-4688.