Dusty McGehee: Never doubt your dad

Never Doubt Your Dad

One of the most important factors for deer movement is weather changes, especially in the south.  All week long, I knew the forecast called for a cold front coming in on Friday, November 12th.  I let Anders know a week in advance that this was “the day” and we needed to be in the woods to go after our #1 target buck.  This is the second time I’ve given this prediction to him.

Rewind to the 2020 season when I told him the exact same thing.  “The day” fell on another Friday and I was ready to go.  After a long week at school, Fridays tend to be the days where my kids are the most tired.  They are emotional, moody, exhausted, and don’t want to sit still, in fear that they may fall asleep.  As I was preparing for the hunt, I heard the words I’d rarely, if ever, heard: “Dad, I don’t want to go, I just want to play here.”  After 30 minutes of stating my case, he finally gave in and decided to go.  Long story short, he killed his biggest buck to date that evening and told me after the hunt that he learned one thing “NDYD.”  I looked at him with utter confusion and he stated, “Never doubt your dad!”

This past Friday, I was met with the same resistance from both of my boys.  They were flat out exhausted.  I didn’t argue too much and told them I was heading to the woods without them.  I decided to go to the stand where we have been hunting a nice buck for over a month.  I wasn’t going for the nice buck; however, I was going to eradicate a couple of feral pigs that have been messing us up.

As luck would have it, the pigs showed around 4:30 PM and I quickly took care of that problem.  I removed the pigs from the area and got back in the stand.  Hindsight is always 20/20 but I should’ve called it a day at that point and headed home.  Within 20 minutes the deer began to pile out to the food plot.  I had a few small bucks and multiple does within 75 yards, when out of the timber here HE comes.

The largest buck we have on camera, the buck we have hunted every day of the season is now broadside in point blank range with 30 minutes of legal shooting light remaining.  The “shooter instinct” in me said to take this buck right now.  Opportunities on a buck like this only come around maybe once a year.  I thought about it for a split second and the “dad instinct” took over.  So, I called my wife and put Anders on the phone.  “Son, I’ve got the buck we have been hunting out right now.  Can I shoot him?”  He replied with a stern “No”.  I really had no plans to shoot but I would’ve obliged if he had given me the green light.

So being the great dad that I am, I decided to just shoot the deer with my phone camera.  I watched him until the sun faded and was faced with a dilemma.  I couldn’t get out of the stand and risk spooking him, so I stayed in the stand until 8:30 PM.  I watched him under the moonlight feed in the food plot, make a couple of scrapes, and then he finally went back into the woods.  I felt like Bear Grylls up there in the stand, alone, cold, thirsty, and hungry for 3 hours, which felt like an eternity.

When I finally made it home around 9 PM, I reminded Anders of the 2020 situation and asked him if he remembered what he said after killing the buck that now hangs on his bedroom wall.  Holding his head down low, he muttered “never doubt your dad.”  Was it the correct way to handle the situation?  Maybe not, but sometimes our kids need a little tough love.

I’ve already told him the day we need to go after him this week.  I just hope he doesn’t doubt me this time.  If he does get him, I’m expecting a dang good Christmas present this year!