We'd arrived at our Rappahannock County hunting property earlier than I expected. The weather was warm, and the moon was full, so I told Brett if we saw deer it probably wouldn't be until right before dark.
"But you never know," I said. "If we get in the stand now, we may see a 10-point buck five minutes later."
Brett agreed, but soon after we settled in I could tell he wasn't feeling it. Sunset was at around 5:00, and four hours is a long time for an eight-year-old kid (or his 44-year-old dad) to sit.
"Do you want to just go back to the truck for a little bit?" I asked.
"I don't want to go if you want to stay," Brett replied.
I could have gone either way, but we eventually agreed that we'd head back to the truck for a bit and then pick out a spot to sit in the field closer to dark and hope for the best. The only down side to that plan was what to do at the truck.
"You can play your iPod," I told Brett.
"Just doesn't seem right when we're hunting," he replied. "Can I whittle a stick?"
That sounded like a good idea, so we found a stick and Brett sat on my tail gate sharpening it to a point just as I had done virtually every day at his age. Then he came up with another idea:
"We should make a bow."
I decided not waste time looking for the perfect materials and instead just cut down the nearest sapling so we could go to work. We bent the bow and used parachute cord for the string as well as for the hand grip.
When we were done it was time to get back to hunting. We found a spot on a hill side and set up in tall grass overlooking a creek. Brett waited patiently as it got darker and darker. No deer appeared.
Back at the truck, Brett climbed into the cab with his bow. It took some convincing, but I talked him into letting me put it in the truck bed, and we headed back across the fields toward the road in the darkness.
We still haven't made any arrows for Brett's bow, and I shudder to think what might happen if we do. He sleeps with it next to his bed though, so I guess we made the right choice when we decided to get out of that stand.