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aidan 2015 buck
Zeke & Aidan with Aidan’s 2015 Nebraska buck

In “Man on the Run,” I wrote,

“There’s a song that plays in my head several times a week. I hear this tune in my mind when I’m wrestling, fishing, or reading to my children. It’s Pierce Pettis’s song, ‘You’re Gonna Need This Memory.’ With great melody, Pettis encourages men to pay attention to the memory that, right then and there, is in the making. He sings, ‘I’ve seen baby hands reach out, grab my fingers like a vise, grab my glasses, grab my keys, grab my heart by the strings. Hold on, Boy, you’re gonna need this memory.’”

My 12-year old son and I made a memory together last week. We were invited on a father/child hunt to northern Nebraska with a group called Fellowship Adventures. Four fathers and four 7th-graders sat in ground blinds and tree stands for the better part of the week trying to outsmart wary Cornhusker bucks. Sometimes we fathers sat with our children. Other times we sat apart. On Wednesday night, while Aidan was sitting by himself in a ground blind, an old buck jumped a fence and slowly grazed alfalfa in his direction. When the brute was 12-yards away, Aidan took the crossbow off safety, found the buck in the scope, and squeezed the trigger. The deer ran about 60 yards before somersaulting and expiring.

Processing Aidan's buck
Processing Aidan’s buck

I can’t remember ever crying in the field before that night. When I pulled up in my truck and saw Aidan standing beside his 150-inch buck, I was completely taken by the reality that my son was old enough, and capable enough, to shoot a mature buck by himself. In some inexpressible way, I feel like my son and I entered new territory that night—a different experience of companionship as sportsmen. Something tells me we’re going to love this terrain.

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Pressure-canned venison

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