December 20: Jonathan Durden & Jon Durden Sr.

Let me introduce the whitetail world to Jonathan Durden, Jonathan is a 15 year old deer killing machine that I have come to know fairly well over the last few months thanks to Dr. Marty Brunson with the Catch-A-Dream Foundation. My Dad and I approached Dr. Brunson in July about getting a family that had been touched by Catch-A-Dream to speak at our fundraising banquet we were having for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation this summer. He directed us to the Durden family that live near Columbus, Georgia. Their son Jonathan had been diagnosed at a young age with 5 life threatening diseases and had participated in a Catch-A-Dream hunt in Sept. of 2005 in Missouri and harvested a large 9 point whitetail. That wonderful hunt affected Jonathan’s life, his spirit and had helped play a huge part in dealing with his current condition. It helped him and his family through a time I cannot even imagine dealing with and propelled his life into a miraculous story of fighting thru those diseases and on the road to a recovery. Jonathan’s story of courage and how he had benefited from the Catch-A-Dream Foundation was one his father Jon was happy to share with us at our banquet in front of over 500 people and when he finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

After the banquet was over we invited the Durden family to come hunt with us this fall if their schedule allowed. Well, after working around some busy schedules, we decided upon the afternoon of the 21st. Jonathan, his brother Nate and their Dad, Jon, were all coming down to hunt in hopes of pulling off a Durden family triple. Jonathan still deals with his diseases on a daily basis and his Dad felt this hunt would certainly encourage Jonathan and the rest of his family.

We had a few days to plan and we were able to locate a couple of good bucks coming into our Biologic Full Draw plots and it just so happened when the 21st rolled around, it was the coldest day of the year and we had the southwest wind we needed! I was going to take Jonathan and film him, while Lil’ Jon was going to take Nate and my Dad took their father. We got in the stands super early and about 4:30p.m., Nate struck first with a big mature doe. At this point, Jonathan and I hadn’t seen a deer but I told him that I didn’t think they would move until 5p.m. And sure enough, just like clockwork 3 does came out about 200 yards right at 5 o’clock and started working towards us. We had decided that we weren’t going to shoot a doe until right at dark in hopes of a big buck showing up to give us a crack at him. As we were watching the does I spotted a deer on the edge of the field eating in some briars, I immediately knew it was Mr. Split and I knew he was in big trouble! He came out into the Biologic and fed to about 80 yards giving me plenty of time to get nervous! Jonathan kept wanting to shoot but I was holding him off because I was having a hard time holding the camera still, that was a first for me! After a few minutes and what Jonathan called forever, I gave him the green light- Boom! He hit Mr. Split perfect, took out his heart, he ran 20 yards and tapped out. Jonathan and I started celebrating and just enjoying the moment while sending the Big Buck Down texts to everybody. We then loaded him up on the Bad Boy Buggy and took him to camp and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive to show off Jonathan’s trophy.

Everyone was super excited with Jonathan’s buck and my Dad informed us that their Father had shot a “doe”. We loaded up in the trucks, went to retrieve the “doe” only to learn Jon had shot a deer we called Moose! A big 19 point non-typical that just widened the smiles on all our faces and made us realize this night truly was magical! The Durdens had rolled into camp for their first hunt of the year, all 3 got a deer and on video to top it off! The Durden family provided us with a night of joy and brought out the true fun in hunting that is so easy to take for granted in these long seasons. My Dad and I have been fortunate enough to film all Fall for Dream Season Celebrity and this night showed us a true celebrity in Jonathan Durden. Our lives will be forever changed after that night and we want to thank the Durden family, Dr. Marty Brunson and the Catch-A-Dream Foundation for letting us be apart of truly awesome experience!  -Jeff Lindsey