This past weekend was a big moment in the Maas Family. You see, my youngest son, 11-year-old Luke, shot his first buck, a handsome Wisconsin 4×4. The state offers a special youth-only 2-day firearms hunt, and the cost to our family was only a $7 nonresident license, which comes with both a buck and a doe tag! Now that’s what I call a killer deal.

Luke Maas with his first buck.
Luke Maas with his first buck.

A year ago, during the same youth-only weekend in Wisconsin, Luke tagged his first-ever deer, a mature doe on public ground. So my little man is two-for-two, and he’s helping to feed our family. Nice!

Earlier today, while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I ran across another first-buck father-and-son story, but this one has a unique twist.

An 11-year-old boy in Kansas was taking part in a special youth-only deer hunt, and state regulations dictated that he could shoot antlerless deer only. According to a post on the Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism – Game Wardens Facebook page, both father and son watched a deer from their stand, they thought it was a doe, and the dad told his son to shoot. Unfortunately, when they walked up on the downed deer, they immediately saw that the boy had shot a buck.

Can you say “teachable moment?”

The father called a game warden and explained the mistake. He was prepared to accept whatever penalties came with shooting a buck during a doe-only hunt.

But here’s where the story has a happy ending. After a brief investigation, the game warden handed the hunters a written warning, AND allowed the boy to keep his first deer.

I’m proud of Luke for shooting his first buck. But I’m even prouder of this father for doing the best thing and showing his son that owning up to a mistake is what builds character. And kudos to the Kansas game warden for making a decision that will impact a young boy in a positive manner for the rest of his life. Well done!

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