Because Stories Are Meant To Be Shared: JD Stiles

There’s not a square inch of bare wall in my friend JD’s living room; it’s covered up in shed antlers and shoulder mounts. The buck whose story is told here hardly stands out in the crowd, but the memory attached to it might make it JD’s greatest trophy.

If you love the outdoors and you’ve got a family, chances are you’ve dreamed of taking your kids hunting. I know I couldn’t wait until I could take my son, Luke, with me. I didn’t have much hope of killing a deer with my son sitting beside me because I didn’t think he’d be able to sit still, but he surprised me and did really well.

We were perched in a two-man ladder stand well before daylight on a late October bow hunt. As soon as we got settled, I showed Luke my shooting lanes so he’d be prepared if something did happen to wander by. Daylight was still breaking when I noticed some deer movement on the north end of the grove we were hunting. I gave Luke a nudge and together we watched as a bachelor group of bucks filtered in. I thought my boy might get fidgety when a couple of younger bucks squared off in a sparring match, but he stayed stock still. Knowing I had two buck tags in my pocket, I was willing to shoot any bachelor in the group just so I could share the moment with my son. There was one buck in the bunch, though, that I’d shoot any day of the week and twice on Saturdays. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem too interested in coming our way.

It wasn’t long before we had a buck directly beneath us. I leaned over to let Luke know I was going to take a shot at him. My son shook his head no and whispered, “Shoot the big one in the back, daddy.” Thinking there was at least a chance I might get a shot at him, too, I went ahead and drew my bow. My arrow struck the buck below us like a bolt of lightning, dropping him to the ground. I immediately snuck a glance at the rest of the bachelor group. They were definitely curious about what had happened to their buddy but they weren’t spooky yet. I was already easing another arrow out of my quiver, thinking that I might actually pull this off when my son jumped to his feet in the stand and shouted, “You got him!” Every deer in the grove cleared out, and all I could do was laugh.

Luke clearly hadn’t understood that I had the opportunity that morning to do what few hunters are ever able to do – take two bucks in a single sit. But as I think on it now, I don’t know that a memory of taking two bucks would be nearly as sweet as the memory of my son’s reaction when I shot that buck in the grove.

Do you have a story to share? Type up the details of your hunt, and shoot me an email at Include a picture or two. I’ll make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed and publish on this website the story of your hunt for all the world to see. All I ask is that you then share a link to your story with your family and friends and maybe interact with those who might have questions or comments. Because stories are meant to be shared. And hunts are meant to be celebrated.

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