My heart skips a beat each time I am told of a kid going into the woods hunting. Such is the case even more when not only do I know the kid’s parents, but also the kid. I love following them, watching them hone their skills, and knowing I watched their parents mature in much the same way.
So goes the story of Nick Mason of Kona. His dad, Brandon, and I have put many miles behind us together. He used to pick me up every Friday and haul me to Russell County when I was in danger of nearing the Silent River. Brandon was just a teen-ager then. He is married to one of Letcher County’s finest, Donna. Not only is Nick a fine son, he is also becoming a great hunter at the ripe old age of 10.
Last December, Nick was one of the lucky ones to draw an elk tag, and with the help of his uncle Robby Baker — and Brandon and Donna, of course — Nick got himself a nice elk. (By the way, I still haven’t picked up my elk meat, but I intend to soon.)
This year, Brandon and Nick headed to Russell County, much like we used to do, for the opening day of modern firearms season. A few weeks prior, they had built a blind and Nick couldn’t wait to hunt from it. About 30 minutes into the hunt Nick saw a buck. Being the seasoned hunter he is already, he put the buck in his cross hairs and down it went. Game over! As Nick and Brandon approached the buck, Nick became somewhat disappointed with himself because it was only a four-pointer. Brandon got him to realize that it was his first buck, and now he can hunt for bigger ones since he is only 10. Nick, you need to remember that I was 20 before I killed my first buck, so you are way ahead of me.
For all the good there is in this story, there is also a down side. This is the first time Nick’s mother hadn’t been along for the hunt, so she feels slighted. That is usually the way it goes. Cheer up, Donna, and take my word for it: Nick will keep growing in his skills and you will have many memories. Maybe one day Nick will invite me along. I am always interested in learning some new tricks.
Next week Anthony Jent of Colson will take center stage. Until then, please be safe.