Whitetail Properties Land Specialist Jeff Heil has instilled the importance of letting a buck grow in his son, 11-year-old Gage Heil. Two years ago, Gage passed up a buck in the hopes that it would become a big bruiser in the years to come, and that's exactly what happened. On November 1, 2014, in Macon, Mo., Gage's patience paid off when the same buck, older and with more tine mass, came within shooting distance. Gage, with the guidance of his father and a .243 Savage in hand, harvested the monster buck.
Here's what happened in Jeff's own words:
It was a cool crisp morning, the kind you dream about as a whitetail hunter. Hunting out of a Banks blind, we sat all morning without much action, and finally at 10 a.m. this buck came cruising through. I stopped him and Gage made a perfect 70-yard shot. It all happened very fast and I was not able to get it on film, but we were very happy to harvest him anyway. He only ran about 50 yards.
We new this buck lived in the area, and we were fortunate to meet up with him on this morning. The best part of the story is that Gage passed this buck up two years prior in hopes that he would get bigger. Well, it worked out just as planned. I have footage of Gage passing this buck two years ago, so it has really helped Gage understand the importance of letting them grow.
NRA Family InSights: At what age did you allow your son/daughter to begin hunting, and how did you decide when the time was right?
Jeff Heil: He was 8 years old. I waited until he was comfortable with firing the weapon.
NRA Family InSights: How did you decide on the right equipment to help make him successful?
Jeff Heil: I make sure to hunt in a blind with plenty of snacks, books, and games to keep their time spent on stand enjoyable, even if we are not seeing much. Obviously, when hunting mature bucks you have to be able to put in plenty of time. I have tried to instill the philosophy of not harvesting a buck until he is at least 4 years old. Fortunately, my kids have been fine with that and they still enjoy going even when we are unsuccessful.
NRA Family InSights: What's something you've learned from taking a youth hunting?
Jeff Heil: When you take a youth hunting and you are successful, the reward that comes with it is much greater than if you would have harvested the deer on your own.
NRA Family InSights: What's the best part about going hunting?
Gage Heil: Spending time with friends and family.
NRA Family InSights: What's something you've learned from going hunting?
Gage Heil: That being patient is a great quality.
About Whitetail Properties: Founded in 2007, Whitetail Properties Real Estate has exploded into North America's top place to buy and sell recreational hunting, ranch and farm land. Whitetail Properties has expanded operations into 20 states and counting, enlisting a staff of hard-working, knowledgeable and passionate Land Specialists. Whitetail Properties TV airs on The Sportsman Channel showcases the benefits of owning land with heart-pounding hunts and land management tips.To browse prime hunting, ranch and farm land currently for sale or to contact a Whitetail Properties Land Specialist, visit WhitetailProperties.com.