Parker is my youngest stepson. We have shared each other’s lives for over a quarter of a century.
When we first met he could hardly talk, much less shoot a bow. My how both of those things have changed!
Two of Parker’s older brothers began bowhunting long before the littlest brother was big enough to draw a bow. I got him started with a youth bow as soon as he was able.
The other brothers still bowhunt, but not with Parker’s passion for the sport. He is a dedicated bowhunter.
The first deer Parker ever launched an arrow at was a nice 8-point buck in Pike County. He will not brag on the shot, but it was his first archery kill and he and I were both very proud of it just the same.
Since that day he has easily practiced with a bow many more hours a year than have I. He tweaks and tunes constantly. He matches his arrows to the perfect broadhead and leaves no archery detail unaddressed.
This is not to say there are no misses in the field. None of us are good enough to say that we have never missed a shot with a bow and arrow. But with every miss, Parker finds a lesson to be learned and a way to improve his odds for his next shot.
His scouting and stand placement programs have also evolved over the years. In the beginning he sat where I told him to sit and stayed there ’til I said we were done.
A couple of years ago I was rifle hunting in Missouri with my best friends. The Good Lord blessed me with a really nice buck right off the bat on opening morning.
As we loaded my deer into my truck I told my buddies, “If you guys don’t mind, I’m gonna take off. If I leave now I can be back in Illinois in time to bowhunt with two of my boys this evening.”
We said our “goodbyes” and I was off.
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As I sat in my stand that evening I thanked God for my blessings. Not only had he given me a fine buck, but here I was bowhunting with two of my boys the same day. Blessed I am.
About an hour before dark I started getting text messages. First from Caleb and then from Parker. They had both hit deer and both were excited beyond belief.
The funny part was that they were in stands only a couple of hundred yards apart. By the time I got there they had helped each other get their deer out. It was a full meat pole that night.
Just last week Parker and I arranged another hunt together. The forecast was ominous but nothing was going to keep us out of our stands that evening. By 3 p.m. we were set and ready.
I heard from Parker that he had several deer in his field. I had seen no movement at all. The rain was light… but steady. It was just enough to be annoying.
At about 4:30 a mature doe made her way down my main trail and stopped in the exact right spot. I watched my lighted nock disappear into her chest. I found her a mere 25-yards into the brush and immediately texted Parker about my good luck.
His response was not what I expected, but it was good news.
“I hit one, too,” is all it said.
Now he and I had doubled just like he and Caleb did a couple of years ago.
Of all my boys, Parker is the one that walks the closest to my own outdoor passions. He is the consummate student both in the field and on the water.
I could not be prouder of him.
(Mike Roux can be reached at 217-257-7895.)