The older I get, the more I realize that every day is precious, and every day that I get to spend hunting or fishing is a treasure. However, there have been days in the woods that I would consider epic, days unlike any before, once-in-a-lifetime days, halcyon days.
While scrolling through posts on Facebook last Thursday, I noticed that Dec. 17 was one of those days for Trey and Chandler Little, who had both harvested big bucks. However, it was only after I talked to my friend and their father, Dave Little, that I realized just how special the day has been historically for this hunting family.
For the Littles, deer hunting truly is a family affair. “It’s a family thing,” Dave told me, adding, “Me and Dad and Chandler and Trey, we all do it together. It’s all about us, the four of us. We love it.” He went on to say, “It’s something that I did with my dad and grandad. It’s one of the things I am most thankful for in this world. It was passed down from grandaddy to daddy to me, and now we are able to pass it down to the boys. It’s family; it’s sharing the experience.”
As an only child, I gained a much better understanding of the competitive nature that exists between brothers after talking to each of these young men about their hunts. Along with that, I got to see firsthand the appreciation the two have for what their father and grandfather have passed down to them.
Trey and I talked between hunts with his “Pap” David Little on Saturday. He told me that he and Chandler arrived Thursday morning just before first light and were in the stand a little before 6:30 a.m. He said that he had only been in the stand for around 30 minutes when he looked up and saw a good buck walk out.
“I looked at him through the scope to make sure he was big enough and realized he was a good buck, so I shot him,” he told me.
I laughed when he explained that he had to drag the deer out by himself because Chandler wouldn’t come to help.
“He was in another stand and he didn’t want to come out yet because it was only around 7:30, and he didn’t want to risk missing an opportunity at a buck,” Trey explained.
Trey’s nine-point buck weighed between 165 and 170 pounds, and he told me it was his “second or third biggest deer.” He took his best, a nice buck that scored 139 2/8 inches, when he was 11.
When I spoke with Chandler later that day, he told me that on the way back to hunt that afternoon he thought about his dad telling him that Dec. 17 was the day in 2013 that Dave and Pap had both killed bucks while hunting together.
“We had not hunted the first field on our property, so I figured that would be a good place to go,” Chandler explained. He said he had only been hunting about 30 minutes when his girlfriend, Marley, who was accompanying him on the afternoon hunt, told him that she saw a deer.
He said he looked up to see a buck standing in the edge of the field about 100 yards away. When he was glassing the buck through his scope, he said he thought about how awesome it would be to get a buck on the same day as his brother — as well as the same day his dad and Pap had taken bucks years earlier.
Chandler said his shot dropped the deer, but it regained its footing and ran into the woods. At that point, he and Marley backed out and waited rather than risk pushing the deer. After about 30 minutes, they returned and found his buck only a few yards from where he had been shot.
The brothers are competitive. I told Chandler that while Trey had staked his claim to being the best hunter in the family and taking the biggest deer last week, he did admit that his older brother (currently) held the title for the biggest deer overall in their hunting history. Their competitive nature again surfaced when Chandler confirmed, “My deer scored exactly one inch bigger than his, and he was pretty mad when he found out about that!”
Dave, who owns Little & Associates Insurance, said he was working in Biloxi last week when Trey shot his deer. He told me that Trey called him immediately to tell him about the buck and minutes later sent him a picture of the deer with a funny text that said “You wish!” Again, the competitive nature came out. Shortly after that, Dave said another text came in that simply said, “I wish you were here!” An emotional Little told me, “That’s what it’s all about. That made my heart swell!”
Based on what I have seen, our hunting future is in good hands with young hunters like Trey and Chandler Little. Mentoring is the key to that future, and the more family members that are involved in that process the better. I look forward to seeing what these two hunters accomplish in the future, and I look forward to seeing you out there in our great outdoors.
Email outdoors columnist Brad Dye at email@example.com.