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November 10: Eli Hampton

The number 1 goal for the past 2 years was to get my son Eli a buck. He had a swing and a miss last fall on Dream Season The Journey, and it totally devastated him. But he saw himself on the show & told me "dad, I'm killing me a buck this year for sure!"... I was excited that the hunting bug had finally bit! I could tell that he was fired up about hunting now, so it was my job to find him some deer.

I planted my food plots late this fall with Trophy Oats. I managed to time them perfect by catching 2 big rains, 6 days apart. I had previously limed them, and spared no expense using the proper amount of fertilizer. Man did it ever pay off! The Reconyx cameras were set and the oats just blew out of the ground. It didn't take long to know that the plot was gonna pull deer in like crazy. There were numerous "Eli bucks" on the hit list.

I tagged out in Iowa just in time to make it in for the Arkansas gun opener. So now back to that goal! Eli was pumped to get to the stand this fall. His momma shared the stand with us for the first few afternoons, but none of the bucks made an appearance. It was now time to try the food in the morning. Coltin, my oldest son wanted to go on the morning hunt to bring us some luck... And it must have worked! Not long after daylight, a few does made their way into the plot. Eli wanted to wait for a "big ol' buck". So as I was watching to the left, Eli said "there's one dad!". I raised the Nikon's to see that it was actually a deer that I had not yet got any Reconyx pictures of. Eli saw horns and went to grabbing for the gun. The buck put on a show, making a scrape & working a licking branch. He turned and began walking straight away. He began walking at an angle when I whistled and he turned to us but quartering away. Eli squeezed the trigger and the buck nearly hit the ground! Eli had a reaction like I never imagined! To say it lightly, he went nuts! I watched the footage back and saw that he had hit a little back. We decided to give the deer some time. It was a good decision. The buck had not went very far before expiring.

I can't wait to share this hunt with everyone on Dream Season The Journey!... And as always, I want to thank the Lord for the awesome experience I got to share with my family. Without him, none of this is possible... Good luck hunting & be safe!