By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Expect the best but prepare for the worst. That’s something most of us only get half right sometimes. We want the best and we expect the best. We expect to harvest that trophy buck or catch that big bass every time we go out. But we rarely prepare for the worst and if it does happen, many of us just quit and go home. George Arrington had an exciting hunt recently on Thanksgiving Eve, but would he be prepared for the task at hand, harvesting a trophy buck if the opportunity presented itself?
George is a sixth grade student at Lamar and an avid angler and hunter and an accomplished one at that. The young man is following in the footsteps of his father, Lamar, and grandfather, Dr. George Arrington. It doesn’t take much to imagine that he’d be an accomplished outdoorsman with a passion for deer hunting even at such a young age.
George and his dad were joined on the hunt by my daughter Mikayla Giles and me. After developing trouble on the way in we texted Lamar and told him about our problem. Arrington sent George on his way to the stand and came back for us. It didn’t take long and we were on our way to our stand as well.
We had just settled in when I heard Arrington owl hooting almost constantly. I answered him with a hoot of my own and then he responded and kept hooting. Sensing something was wrong I got down from our stand and quickly joined him.
“George is lost,” Arrington said. “I’m going to look for him and you stay right here in case he comes back.” At that, Arrington took off owl hooting and calling out loud for George. After about 20 minutes Arrington directed me on a route to see if the lad had taken a different route to the stand and he took off on his four wheeler in search of George.
With the sun sinking fast on the western horizon it was obvious that George’s dad was very concerned and things were looking grim. I said a quick prayer requesting George’s safe return and took off on my own direction.
A few minutes later I heard voices talking up the hill and knew that George had finally heard the commotion and made his way back. Before long they were standing in front of me with looks of dejection on their faces. George was worried that he’d spoiled the hunt for Mikayla and us.
“What do you want to do,” asked Lamar? I responded that we were already here so we might as well just hunt the rest of the afternoon and before long we were on our way back to the stand. Mikayla saw several deer but passed on taking a small buck and shooting a doe. As the last rays of sunlight were disappearing over the horizon, deer poured into the area near George. First some does and then a small buck came in. The buck was legal but not what George was looking for.
“I see a buck, and I think he’s a shooter,” said George. “No, I don’t think he’s a shooter,” responded Dad. Seconds later the elder Arrington spotted the deer that George was looking at back in the woods as it strode out into the patch. “Get your gun ready because that’s a shooter,” responded Arrington.
Ka-boom, roared the .243 rifle and the buck whirled and disappeared out of sight. Minutes later the father and son were on the trail of the mortally wounded buck and found him just outside of the patch! The 180 pound buck sported a fine tall eight point rack and was a trophy for the excited youngster.
A lost boy in freezing weather can spell doom and tragedy. However, little George wasn’t really lost, just turned around when he took a wrong turn on the trail. He kept his cool and backtracked to the area and promptly met his relieved father.
While George could have quit and gone home dejected and disappointed, he chose instead to keep hunting and was rewarded with a trophy buck; valuable experience and a lifetime Thanksgiving memory!
Contact Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.