Dedicated to~~~ Zac McAmis 7/22/95-6/6/09~~~
It was our second year of deer hunting. My son at a tender age was still somewhat in shock from the sudden death of his closest friend. I know my friend Phil was obviously and understandably, still in recovery after the loss of his son.
I wanted to help, however short of praying for him and his family, (and that I did) I did not know what I could do.
God answered my prayers with an idea. I asked my friend to take my son and I deer hunting and, that’s exactly what we did.
Just a few months before this the four of us were setting on a creek fishing together and, running trot lines in the muddy Kansas waters.
These boys were only 13 but had known and enjoyed each other since they were 5. In that eight short years they made lots of memories for themselves, and for me.
If the boys weren’t fishing or hunting together they were talking and dreaming about catching that big fish or shooting those 200 class bucks, they were busy shooting each other, and me, with their air soft guns and teasing me about being a fare weather fisherman (by the way I am). The boys would laugh and carry on about those funny little things that happen while camping. Phil and I both still laugh at the camping funnies the two of them created. Everyone that has camped with two teen aged boys can surely relate to what I am talking about.
I remember that day well. I was at work when I was told my friend Phil’s’ son passed away. I was stopped in my tracks. I was overwhelmed with shock, disbelief and grief. Surely this cant be true, he was fine just last night. The boys wanted to stay the night with each other and go fishing in the morning.
My attention turned quickly to the fragile heart of my young son. How am I going to tell him? O my gosh he is going to be so upset. He is going to be crushed!
I rode my bike to work that day normally a forty minute ride. I was so grief stricken and concerned I peddled that bike home in a record breaking ten minutes. I didn’t know how, or even want to tell my son the news. But I had to, I had to!
It was one of the cruelest hardest blows life could deliver to a 13 year old boy. It was a life changing event for everyone involved.
A few months have passed now and we are gearing up for the deer season. Kiel and I really enjoyed last season,growing not only in experience as deer hunters, but also as father and son.
It was the start of the Kansas youth season and even though Kiel and I were looking forward to hunting together with our bows we were concerned about Phil. I couldn’t imagine what he was going through this first season without Zachary to hunt with.
That next day I was talking to Phil and he told me he has a great place for a rifle hunt. It was obvious to me he was in pain. I have a great idea here. Why don’t you take Kiel and I out to that place and lets shoot a deer. That day after work Phil and I set up a blind on a fence row connecting a pasture and an alfalfa field.
When evening fell we were in that blind. Phil was telling us about all the big bucks in this area. Wait, Shhh! Off to our right I see 3 does coming towards us. Our hearts beating a rapid rate now as the does get closer by the second and stop within 20 yards of us. They looked our way snorted loudly and ran off. Laughing we breath a little more freely.
Within minutes we see a deer come around the end of a tree row directly in front of us and very far away. As this deer walks towards us I can tell it is a buck. He walks to the center of the alfalfa field and I can tell he is a decent 8 point, he is keeping company with several does. Slowly he gets closer and Kiel wants to take him. He raises his rifle to aim. All of a sudden I hear a 4 wheeler at a high rate of speed!
Guess what? Yep you guessed it, not only did we hear it but so did all those deer. They broke and ran for the hills.
Our hunt for that day was over. Disappointed yet excited for tomorrow we headed for the house. The next days evening found us back in our blind. As the evening grew long, about 300 yards out movement caught our eye. It was a buck and he was rubbing his big antlers on the branches of a mulberry tree. A few minutes pass and he came out onto the alfalfa field to feed.
After a few long minutes this buck makes his way to a range we guess to be 200 yards. I asked my son if he wants to shoot him. He replied “hang on dad” and handed me his rifle.
Kiel bent over and said a quick silent prayer. He sat up and answered ”yes I do want to shoot him” He took the rifle back and lined up his shot. He pulled the trigger. CRACK! the buck is hit. He ran 100 yards and staggered. The buck now 300 yards away, and Kiel raises his rifle again and puts a second round into his buck. The buck piled up there in his tracks.
After a few minutes we all stepped out of the blind. Kiel was shaking, he and Phil were both teary eyed. Phil said “you shot that one for Zac buddy” and he hugged Kiel. The emotions were at an all time high there and if I remember right, I probably shed a tear myself.
That hunt seemed to be good medicine for us all. Or should I say GOD MEDICINE for us all.
It was exactly what we needed and it will always be a treasured memory.
Here’s an odd fact about this story. It just so happens the day Kiel shot this buck. Was exactly 1 year from the day Zac shot his big buck he called “split”
written by: Jim Orrison
We are Blessed to be able to do this for all the family and friends touched by Zac. As I am finishing putting this story together the sun is setting over the snow covered woods out back and as a tear roles down my cheek I to feel the Spirit …..LOVE Joe Nighswonger Founder GLBH
In loving memory of Zachary McAmis
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