My Son’s First Hunt!

(From a Mom’s perspective, this is my son, Brad’s first hunting experience.)
God gives us what we ask for. I bird hunted when Brad was young, but Brad just watched, since he wasn’t interested in hunting. For some reason, when Brad went to college he became interested in hunting. Brad’s 2009 Christmas wish was to learn to hunt. So we took the 2009 hunters’ safety class where we met Ted, and his son, Alan. Over lunch, Ted and Alan told us about the Safari Club and its youth hunting program. Ted thought the program was limited to youths under 18, but gave us Darryl Taylor’s email address to see if there was any way to get Brad involved, even though Brad is 20 and in college. Fortunately, Darryl said the youth hunt may be expanded to include truly interested college-aged youths.[1]
Lo and behold, we received an email inviting Brad to his first hunt. Brad had sooo many questions. Finally, I said, “If you want to hunt, trust the process and experience it.”
What an experience it was. Riecke Baumann and Gerald Russell were the Safari Club representatives on this December 2009 hunt at The Patio Ranch [2] in Hunt, Texas. An added bonus was that Ted and Alan, who had introduced us to the Houston Safari Club, were also on the hunt. I was blessed to be present for Brad’s first hunt. Brad got to ask his questions, learn how to sight in a rifle (Brad didn’t have a deer rifle – we are looking for a deer rifle the family can share), and much more. Gerald lent Brad his rifle, then taught Brad hunting etiquette and a few lessons on patience. After a scrumptious barbecue lunch, Gary Ploch, the Patio Ranch Manager, personally took us out and tutored us about the various species of animals on the ranch, and his 30 years of managing the ranch. Brad was fascinated. He was a sponge.
At one point, Gary and Brad were stalking a ram, on foot, through thick and thin. The ram spooked and ran away, teaching Brad a bit more about the value of patience. If the animal is spooked let it go: some things can’t be forced.
There was then a Barasingha buck that Gary determined needed to be culled because of its genetics were not good for breeding. Gary offered to allow Brad to shoot the deer if he would share the meat with the ranch. [3] Gary even lent Brad his rifle, walked Brad through the shot and told him when to shoot. This majestic animal shot up on its hind legs and collapsed. Brad and I were beside ourselves with excitement. Yes, we took lots of pictures. Gary taught Brad how to field dress the animal. Experienced man and eager young man worked side by side. This time, Mom was thankful to be a fly on the wall.
Every other hunter shot one or more animals. We then went to help the others field dress their animals and prepare the animals for transport home or to a meat processor. Brad was anxious to learn more and to help, and did. After a long day of hunting (We were up at 5:30 a.m. but did not leave the Patio Ranch until 8 p.m.), all I wanted to do was get something to eat. We learned another lesson in etiquette. Riecke suggested that we go back to the motel and clean up before going out to dinner, because we had blood on our clothes and we would not want to offend anyone or make people resent or think badly of hunters by storming into a restaurant all bloody. Each step of the way we learned hunters’ etiquette.
You know it was a special time for both Mother and son when for Christmas we gave each other remembrances of this wonderful experience. I gave Brad a European mount of his first deer and Brad gave me a framed a picture of him and me with Brad’s first deer.
I believe the Safari Club and the Patio Ranch, in general, and Riecke, Gerald and Gary in particular, shared their passion with Brad and introduced Brad to the wonderful world of hunting. We thank the Safari Club, the Patio Ranch, Riecke, Gerald, Gary, and Darryl for sharing their passion, their treasurers and their time. How awesome.
Today, January 2, 2009, Brad is going to Kerrville to pick up the meat. Brad has many stories to tell, pictures on his phone and meat to share.
Brad, his friends, and his Mom will definitely be attending the Safari Club Convention later this month – the first of many.

[1] The Patio Ranch hunt is somewhat reserved for college students, because they can get away earlier and will more quickly enter the world of business – and can sooner brag about HSC and The Patio Ranch.

[2] The Patio Ranch, Texas’ first exotic ranch, was once owned by Eddie Rickenbacker, The famous WWI ace who is credited with shooting down the Red Baron. The ranch is chock full of history and lore, like the unique Stumberg rams and pictures of John Wayne and other celebrities who have visited the family and hunted at The Patio.

[3] What a deal! The retail value of this hunt shows just how generous the Stumberg family and the folks at The Patio Ranch are. The Patio is about much more than the bottom line: they just love hunting and the outdoors