Great Family Memories
My son, Steve Adelman, now 57, was 10 on our first deer hunt. The day was far more instructional than productive. At 11, he joined me while carrying an empty 30-30. We found a 4 page line drawing on how to field dress a deer in a Sports Afield hunting issue that year. He cut it out, folded it, and carried it everywhere.
Fast forward to when he was 18. My wife, Gerry, had been deer hunting for 5 years and was still awaiting her first shot. My son arrived at the ranch intersection, where we met after dark the night before opening day. As we caravaned to camp, we spotted 2 bucks crossing a small opening off to our left. We decided to hunt there the next morning. After setting them up, I took off around the hill in order to push back in their direction. In short order, I heard 3 shots. Gerry had finally gotten her first shots on the GR's Baxter Ranch. One of the bucks had wandered from cover about 140 yards from my wife, and upon closer inspection, had 3 entrance holes from her 243. As it's so hot in California, we did the necessary work and took her buck to Covelo in order to hang it in a cooler. My son stayed behind to hunt out of camp 3.
Upon returning to camp, we found my son sitting in the shade acting very nonchalant, not his normal attitude in hunting camp. The grin gave it away. He had gone out after we left and harvested an awesome 4X4 in an oak studded canyon. The buck was too large for him to haul out by himself, although having that deer hanging in camp would have made his day. When we all went to assist in the retrieval of his buck, I commented how well he had done when field dressing the animal. You know where this is going. He pulled out and unfolded that four page line drawing & followed every step exactly as diagramed. The bloody fingerprints on those pages make it all the more valuable.
So there you have it. The proudest, happiest and most fulfilling day of deer hunting one could ask for, all without ever raising the rifle to my shoulder. Fast forward, as we're planning our next hunt, every minute of that day so long ago is as vivid in my mind as if it had happened yesterday.