There are so many things that make moms proud of their little ones. It starts with ultrasound pictures before the little guys are even born. Then come all the “firsts”; first solid food, first steps, first words, first successful potty visit. As time goes by, first scrawled pictures, first book read, first awards in school take the place of previous achievements.
The household of a deerslayer family takes this a step further. First rifle, first buck, first pig, first field dressing are held in high esteem among members of the family and extended family. Even I, as a former educator, have to admit that I was very pleased when my two junior deerslayers each harvested a doe this year. We’ve had plenty of trophies over the years but the tender, delicious meat from a whitetail doe can’t be beat in my book The elder junior deerslayer skinned and gutted hers with minimal assistance and the younger watched carefully and learned as Dad proceeded to field dress hers.
In the Deerslayer clan, being a National Merit Scholarship winner and valedictorian paled in comparison to getting one’s first buck. Early on, I was stymied by the mindset. As I’ve adopted the hunting ways, and grown in years and wisdom, I think I finally understand. Academic knowledge is wonderful and opens many doors in life. In the grand scheme of things, though, being able to sit around a campfire with family and friends, building and nurturing those relationships that will truly be lifelong, while providing healthy, lean, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat for one’s family is truly something to be proud of.