« BuckTracker: First Velvet Sighting! | Main | Whitetail News Roundup »

May 13, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/whitetail-365

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Whitetail 365 at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/whitetail-365.

BuckTracker: On Young Hunters

You hear all the time about the decline in young hunter numbers these days, that there aren't enough juniors replacing us oldsters as there used to be. It's tempting to let such statistics depress us, but sometimes I wonder; maybe it isn't always about sheer numbers, but quality. Perhaps if the folks who replace us are more passionate, articulate and committed than we are, then hunting's future might not be so bleak...

As evidence, I offer the following short essay, submitted by young hunter McCall Casey from Dallas, Texas. You'll also find a photo of McCall posing with his grandfather when he was eight. Clearly his love of hunting has continued to grow. Please give it a read and let me know your thoughts.


A Day On The Ranch
by McCall Casey, age 13.

I wake up at five in the morning and the darkness covers the ranch like a cold blanket. The stars gleam with a feeling of company in this darkness.

I hurry my pace to get out of bed. I get my gun, bullets, and binoculars, that is all I need. I don’t need scent lock, no bugle, and no rattling horns. I step out the door with a feeling of satisfaction. The mist tickles my face. I have to hurry up before the sun comes up.

I arrive at my blind as the sun arrives over the horizon. I settle in as the mist disappears. It has been an hour and the doe and fawn roam but there is still time for that one buck to come.

Wait!! Something in the shadows catches my eye. I lift my binoculars and my heart skips a beat and I stare with my mouth dropped as a monster buck comes rocking in. He comes in with his old torn, tattered, and tough skin. He knows he is the boss and all the deer get out of his way because they and I know he’ll make you get out of his way.

I suddenly snap out of my awe. My heart feels like it went into overdrive. My hands start to shake, voice quivering, and adrenalin passing through my veins. I take my gun and take aim. I lay the crosshairs on his shoulder.

I go through a check list in my head; bullet in chamber...check, safety off...check, don’t jerk the trigger but pull slowly...ok. The buck gives a perfect shot. Aim, aim, aim...BANG!

A perfect shot the deer leaps for its life and jolts running. I watch with my binoculars. The deer gets to the edge of the field. It tugs, it trips, and it tugs on. With its last moment of being king; he goes down. Peace.

He lays at the end of the field in peace, peace, peace.

I score him at the cabin that night. In my own awe he scored 350 B&C.

For my whole life I’ll remember this very second, this very hour, this very day on the ranch.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference BuckTracker: On Young Hunters:



Dear Mr. S. Bestul,

Congratulations on a fine article!
So much we read on here is bitter commentary on the sad state of affairs that seem to engage us on a daily basis. To read a fine article by, apparently, a fine young man is enlightening!
I am so moved by this article, I am suggesting that Master Casey be rewarded in some manner, not only for his love of the outdoors and hunting, but for his writing skills also.

Any suggestions!?


I'm in school right now

That's beautiful. I love the part where he doesn't wear any scent or bring any rattling horns. It is just him and the outdoors.



Beautiful! What a great hunter and great writer. Just amazing! Wish I lived on a ranch.


Great article, but the 350 b and c might be a little over kill... other then that, very enjoyable.

Alex Williams


Are you serious? this is a kid's dream (even though he isn't much younger for me). when you were his age did you not dream of a deer that big? you shouldn't put down the kids imagination just because you are jealous he still has one.

tim walmsley

A GREAT story! Unfortunatly, here in Illinois, the future for the little McCalls of the world is bleak unless his family owns a "Ranch". Outfitting has pushed deer hunting lease prices to an average of $30 to $40 per acre, with highest I've seen at $82- And the demand has drove up land prices to $3000 and $4000- Minimum- A hard working family with kids simply can not afford to pay anything close to that, and I know quit a few dads whom have had to tell their young kids sorry, but we can not afford deer hunting any longer- very sad-
Wonderfull to hear a heartfelt story like McCalls- Tim Walmsley


Awesome story...

All I have to say to that boy is keep on hunting and one day you might get a chance to shoot one that big! Maybe one of these day's I'll get lucky enough to shoot a little six pointer :)


Bubba: I agree; the boy can write!I may have to sift through some goodie boxes and send him a token of our appreciation!


As stated above, the # of hunters is generally decreasing. I personally along with a few of my friends are hunters. All picking up the sport in the last few years. My first year I was lucky to connect with a deer and I've had the "bug" since. My second year, which was last year, I tagged a nice buck with my bow and a nice doe with my rifle. This spring turkey season I tagged out getting two gobblers (one 9" beard and a 10" beard). My buddies and I can't get enough of it. My fiance and future brother in law are both looking to take their hunter safety class and get their licenses as well. I think, from my point of view, that there's alot going on during the life of a young adult and that's a reason why our numbers are generally decreasing. Sports, high school, college, etc. I took up hunting b/c there was some down time after I graduated from college and came home. Hunting has filled a void where I don't know what I would be doing otherwise. Everyone needs to introduce someone to hunting & fishing.

Jon R

This is an issue that all hunters need to be concerned. Each of us--the hunters of today--needs to recruite at least one younger hunter to the sport. I have three sons, and all three are hunters, and currently have two grandsons (age 4.5 and 1.5 and the Dad and I are already making plans to get them involved in hunting as they grow older.


Hell, I'm happy as all get out for young Mr.Casey. He's not only fortunate enough to have access to land to hunt but most important family who care to give him direction to a great tradition. Telling a good story is icing on the cake.


I'm 13 and I love to hunt. I just wish more kids at my school would like it. Apparantly its not "cool" to hunt or its only for rednecks. I just hope hunting will continue and I will be able to pass it just as you "oldsters" are passing it on to us.


hey i'm a new hunter. just past the ten hour safty course. i have mentor hunted before and i decided hunting is better than fishin.any way i think there are a lot of new hunters (though some seemed like assholes)because it seemed like there was about 60 people in the class.

Tattoo Contest

Send us a photo of your deer tattoo. Our pick wins this Leatherman, worth $80!

Name: Email Address: Attach photo here:
Tell us why you got this tattoo!

100 Top Public Lands
Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

Choose a state below:

Our Blogs