FATHER AND SON
By: Jeremiah Doughty, “From Field To Plate. The Wild Chef.“
“Shhhhh! There they are 600 yards away! I’ll back up the truck. Get out quietly and grab your gun! Here we go, Dad. The hunt is on.”
For years my dad had taught me things like how to tie a knot, how to drive a boat and how to speak to a lady. He was there when I took my first shot on my first hunt. He was there to share in the joy of my first kill, and he showed me how to clean and cook the dove that day. My dad has always been there teaching and showing me how to do everything, but today it was my turn to teach and show him.
My dad had never hunted any game larger than a turkey and never harvested anything on four legs larger than a rabbit. So when he said he wanted to go on my next antelope hunt, I was excited since he had never been able to accompany me on my hunts over the years for big game. I was thrilled to purchase his tags and sight in his rifle for him. He had received the rifle as a trade for some handyman work and had never shot it before this trip.
With the valley grass just low enough in our unit in Wyoming, the rifle rested on our bipod with the scope just barely peeking over. We were peering at a herd 175 yards away after belly crawling up a ridge as the wind swirled around us. Our friend, Wade, and I pick out the largest doe of the group and tell my father to look for “the big one on the right.”
“Dad, aim right behind the shoulder, wait for her to turn and show her side. Okay take the shot whenever you want.”
I held my breath, looked through my scope and watched with excitement for what would be one of the proudest moments In our father-son hunting adventures.
My dad took a deep breath, steadied himself and pulled the trigger. BOOM! The bullet perfectly hit its mark as the pronghorn bucked. Thrilled, I shouted, “Smoked her! Got her! Got her!”
I looked over and saw the joy and excitement on my dad’s face. This must have been what he saw on my face the first time i harvested my first dove. Wade shook his hand and I run over and high-five him screaming, “You did it! You did it!” My dad had just shot and harvested his first big game animal. On top of that, it was one of the toughest, fastest animals in the harshest of landscapes.
We head over the ridge to where the antelope had fallen and as we approached, we realized that it was a perfectly placed lung shot.
I gave my dad a huge hug and started to tear up. Here was a man who had showed me so much and now I, the son, was able to show him something.
My dad kneeled down, placed his hand on the antelope and simply smiled. He turned to me and asked, “Now what?”
For years my dad had heard me speak about my joy of “from field to plate”. He had eaten my meals, seen the pictures and heard the tales. But today my dad got to see what it was all about. I taught him how to field dress his game, how to hold the knife and where to cut. I showed him how to skin, quarter, and clean his kill. I felt like a proud son coming home and showing his dad the picture he drew at school.
When I tell people that I hunt for the meat and for the adventure, most don’t understand why I don’t just buy my meat at the store like everyone else. My dad now understands it. He has seen the start and the finish. He experienced what I feel knowing that my hands are the only ones that touch my meal. When you grow a carrot in your garden you tell everyone that it’s the best carrot you’ve eaten. Try harvesting your own fresh, wild organic meat and see if you’ll ever eat store-bought meat again.
My dad and I will share this moment forever. We will look back on this day and tell the tale about the one shot, one kill. About throwing it on our shoulders and hiking 2 miles back to the truck. About the time that the Son taught the Father and the Father made the son proud!
Tight Lines and Big Tines!
Jeremiah is a self-proclaimed “Organic Meat Harvester” and hunts for the joy of knowing where his food comes from. He strives to teach others that the meat you put on your table can not only look great, but taste even greater at “From Field To Plate. The Wild Chef.“