photo of a deer killed by Bo McNairphoto of a deer killed by Bo McNairphoto of a deer killed by Bo McNair

Hunter: Bo McNair

Points: 9 (5L, 4R)

County: Clay

Season: 2022-2023

Hunt Story

Redemption We were looking for a buck known as G2, named after his extended G2 tines and unique rack. He was frequenting the area at night. We had failed in seeing him in daylight hours. School was out and all I could hear was, “Daddy, when will you be home? When can we go hunting?” A Wednesday afternoon date was set. December 21, we nestled into a ground blind in a stand of 30-year-old pines. This spot was supposed to be his bow blind; somewhere new and dedicated to bow hunting. A spot that had already proven itself with the stick and string. We arrived to the blind a little after 4. We saw a little 6-point at about 4:30 and a doe at 4:45. Deer were on the move. About 5:30 I noticed some does easing away from us up a hill about 100 yards away. Fifty yards below them out stepped a buck. I raised my binos for a closer look and he started towards the does. “Oh, my who is this?” I thought. It’s a 10-point that is at least 20 inches wide. His rack is so wide it appears as if I could sit in it. As he walks away, I position the 6.5 Grendel attached to a tripod in his direction. Bo takes up position behind the rifle. As he tops the hill Bo whispers, “Oh my, he is a giant. I want him.” I let out a “Meehh,” to stop him at 100 yards away, quartering. Bo sights in, squeezing the trigger. All we hear is CLICK. We scuffle to load another round but it is too late. We had a loading malfunction with our AR and the bolt did not carry forward. It was the first time I let him load on his own. Dejection sets in. Tears of frustration. “Why didn’t the gun shoot? What happened?” It’s everyone’s fault- but his. I ask, “Bo, do you feel like you could throw up?” He replies in a whisper, ”Yes.” Two hours later the same question gets the same response. Everyone knows what it is like when a big one gets away. When the big bass breaks off. When the longbeard flies away after a miss. This was the first heartbreaker for this 10-year-old. We have all been there but this is what builds character. At 10, Bo is already an accomplished outdoorsman with many a success but this was his first real failure. The first big one that got away. All I could do as a father was encourage him to get his head out of his butt and PUSH ON. PUSH ON came the very next evening. We climbed back in the same ground blind about 4:00 in the evening. In no time we are seeing deer. A young 8-point with a spread at the ears came in. Bo begged to shoot him. “No, he is too small and not on the hit list,” I sternly replied. In no time we are covered in deer. Does and a small buck are feeding 20 yards away. Several passed within 10 yards of us; so close we could hear them chewing. We were frozen. I was watching a couple of does about 100 yards away when Bo whispers, “There’s a STUD!!!” I can hear his breathing increase and feel his heart beating in my feet thru the ground. I look in that direction and respond, “Bo that is smaller than those we have let pass. You are crazy.” He said, “No, the next one.” Suddenly he comes in view 50 yards away. Bo is right. He is a stud. Now my heart is pumping. I have Buck Fever and I don’t even have the gun. I go into coaching mode. “Be still. Breathe. Be Patient.” The does on the hill bolt. They head our way. It’s about to go down with him on their tail. They run no more than 10 yards from him. He doesn’t flinch. He just keeps making scrapes and rubs. We can only see glimpses of him but can smell him he is so close. The charging disperses the group feeding. The deer are skittish but unsure of what is going on. We take the opportunity to reposition the gun towards the Stud. We do not have a great view of him but anticipate him white-flagging us at any second. A doe swings around behind us. I am afraid he is going to follow her. After what seemed like hours, we finally get a show of his chest, neck and face. His rack seems to glow in the fading daylight. It’s now or never. “Poke one in his chest,” I whisper. The Grendel barks and sends him tumbling backwards. The whoops and the cheers are released. The shaking is uncontrollable. Bo scrambles out of the blind to see him. He can’t wait to get his hands on him, sit on his back and marvel in his majesty. In just 24 hours the good Lord smiled down. Turning a goat into a hero. God does not send us what we want when we want it. God teaches us humility and patience. He teaches us to be resilient. Then… one day he will provide Redemption. Sometimes redemption is a Big Ol Buck Deer
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