September 15: Coltin Hampton

We have been preparing for this hunt for the last two months and the anticipation was at an all time high. Rod Owen has been making weekly 3 hour round trips to Kansas to check the cards on our Reconyx scouting cameras. We had been getting some outstanding deer coming in to our food plots over the last month so the expectations were as high as the gas prices. Coltin had drawn a Kansas permit for his second year in a row and we were hoping that he could get an early season buck during the Kansas youth season. We struck out on the 8 hour trip to Kansas City to spend the weekend at Rod's and planned on making the early morning/ late evening commutes to the lease. We arrived just in time for a few short hours of rest before Rods 3:30a.m. wake up call.

Opening morning was 80 degrees and wet. We had already received 4 inch's of rain in the past two days. Great for food plots, bad for filming a deer hunt. A few "milk licker" bucks and two does kept us busy for an hour after daylight. But no shooter showed.

The afternoon was going to be a gimme though, right? Well almost. Three bucks in the mid 140's did show up in the bean field at dark. One look through the view finder proved that with the daylight gone, and the rain dripping off the end of my nose, that it was not going to happen that evening. "Dad I'm on the biggest one", Colt said. "I know son, but we just can't get any footage in this monsoon." Trust me, It was some kind of hard to tell a twelve year old that he couldn't shoot the biggest live deer that he had ever laid eyes on.

The next morning a cold front blew in from the north and we saw nothing moving. The harsh reality was that we were going to be headed back to Monticello, Arkansas without a deer. And that meant it would be two and a half months before we could return. We had packed up our gear when Rod said, " We've got to go try the north field.' Fat Boy' has been there 4 out of 7 evenings and I feel like he'll show this evening after the front has blown through." This would put me driving all night to get home in time for work. But I knew what it meant to Rod and myself for Coltin to get a buck so I decided to stay.

We did not have a stand to get into, so Colt and I sat beside a tree together. Rod sat against a tree 30 yards to our right with the camera and the 3rd arm camera support attached to the base of his tree. with the wind in our face and darkness approaching, I caught movement at the edge of the field. It was a 9 pt that was off limits to even Coltin. He made it to the field when Rod whistled. I turned to read his lips . " Fat Boy! Its Fat Boy!" He made his way from a thick cutt-over. After taking his time to check for danger, He leaped the fence and was standing broad side at 160 yards. After a few baseball coach signals between Rod and I , Coltin prepared for a shot at his largest buck ever. As the Thomson Center Pro Hunter released the thunder, I watched the 250 pound 11 point go down like a one- egged pudding. The celebration was immediate, and this feeling topped anything that Rod or myself had ever experienced while hunting. The footage was awesome and we can now go back and relive the feeling over and over again! Way to go colt ! -Doug Hampton