For 9-year-old Easton McPherson of Williams Township, N.C., taking his first deer was a top priority this year. And after hunting almost every afternoon, it was looking dismal until the afternoon of Oct. 18 when a massive 140-inch, 13-pointer stepped out 100 yards from his tree stand. But, buck fever almost foiled his plan.
For years, Easton has wanted to hunt with his father, Travis McPherson. And when his father felt he was old enough to shoot a deer, he got a crossbow and a .22-250 rifle for this season.
“We had some bad luck and we only missed five afternoons since the bow season started back in September,” Travis said. “We weren’t seeing many deer and the deer we did see were blowing at us before they would get in range. Easton was upset and was losing his drive until he started watching hunting shows on the Pursuit Channel.”
His father got home from work that Wednesday and Easton was decked out in camouflage and ready to head out the door.
And they were off.
Ten minutes after slipping into their stand, the show began. A buck ran a doe across a path in front of them and out of sight. A few minutes later, another buck ran a doe past them and then they were all gone. Easton started to get excited looking for anything to show up in range. He wanted a deer about as bad as any hunter ever has.
A few minutes later, Easton looked up and saw movement.
“There’s a buck,” Easton said.
But, Easton was real nervous and shaking like a leaf.
“I told him calmly, if you can’t hold it still on him and you aren’t sure if you can kill him, please don’t shoot,” Travis said.
Easton held the gun still and got ready to pull the trigger. Then, his father noticed the deer was acting nervous and began looking back where he came from.
“Wooaaa son, don’t shoot. Hold on a second,” Travis said.
He felt like there was something else coming and he wanted to see what it was.
“Daddy, there’s a monster standing there,” Easton said.
Sure enough, the huge 13-pointer they had trail camera photos of was strolling up to the corn pile without a care in the world. But, Easton was extremely nervous.
Again, his father told him not to shoot if he didn’t think he could hold the gun still and he would take the gun and shoot the deer for him if he wanted him to.
“Oh man, when I said that, he melted on the gun to hold it still and a few seconds later he fired,” Travis said.
The huge buck bolted off into the woods and crashed a few seconds later. They climbed down and walked over to the deer and his son looked up into his father’s eyes and told him how much he loved him.
“It was the first time he ever shot his gun at anything besides a target,” Travis said. “It was a real special time for us. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything in the world.”
Easton immediately called his mother, Susan McPherson.
“I got a monster,” Easton said.
As they brought the deer back home, they were met by dozens of friends and family that wanted to join in the excitement and congratulate Easton on his big deer.
“Local family and friends came pouring in and it made the experience wonderful for all of us,” Travis said.
Easton’s first deer is likely be one of the biggest bucks he will ever encounter in Columbus County. A local taxidermist scored the deer at 140 inches.