This is my brother Darryl’s son-in-law Scott Smiley, with his very nice 7-pointer taken in Branch county. Scott got him opening weekend, and here is the story, in Scott’s own words.
The day before leaving for hunting, Caleb (4 years old) and I were talking about hunting deer. I told him that he needs to pray for daddy to get a nice buck. He decided he wanted to wait for bedtime prayer to do that. Well he prayed a nice prayer, ending with “Thank you Jesus for letting my dad shoot a nice buck.”
So off we go to hunting camp on Friday afternoon. Darryl and I with Derek meeting us later that night. Opening day was miserable, raining all day. I sat through it all except from 11:30-12:30 to dry my gear and grab a sandwich. I did not see even one deer. I called my wife Jodee that evening to see how her and the kids were doing. She told me that I better get a deer because Caleb has still been praying for me to get a big buck, without being prompted by anyone.
We woke up Sunday to 1-1/2 inches of snow. At around 9:00 I saw a buck trotting across the field in front of me, and all I saw was horns. I grunted once and bleated once to try and get him to stop, but it didn’t work. I thought I was going to have to take a moving shot but then he stopped just on the other side of some bean stubble that I had just ranged. It was 96 yards to the top of the small little hill he was standing on. I touched off a shopt with my 12 ga. as I made a slight compensation for the wind. The buck hunched up, and I knew he was hit. He ran toward the woods and stopped short, looked around, then bolted into the woods. Heart pounding and hands shaking, I got on the radio, and said I’de just hit a nice buck. As I waited an hour or so, before tracking, I started second guessing myself.
At that point the only thing that came to mind was Caleb praying with me at bedtime to get a buck. So I started talking to God. I explained to him why I wanted the deer, but what a teaching it would be for Caleb about the power of prayer.
A few minutes later, my father in law Darryl, got on the radio and we met up in the woods to start tracking. About 15 yards into the woods we found a fresh bed, with just a little blood in it. Darryl being the guru he is told me he must be hurt pretty bad to lay down so soon. He told me to have my gun ready, as he might be close by, and we could jump him. Not 10 steps further we jump him, and I see how wide his rack is. I shouldered my gun, and realized my scope caps are closed. Darryl is shooting, as I open my caps and touch off a shot while he is running broadside in full stride. He hunched again as my shot hit the mark!
Darryl asked me “How many shells does that gun hold?” and I replied “5 why?” “Then why did I only hear one shot from you?” With a smirk I replied “Well dad, when you shoot like me, that’s really all you need.” He just chuckled. I told Darryl about Caleb praying for me, as we excitedly took up the tracking job again! About 60 yards ahead we found the deer, and all I could see was horns. I thanked God, and Caleb, then Darryl for the hunt, and for being there with me. He was so excited for me you would of thought it was his deer. Then Derek showed up, and we got excited all over again. I couldn’t ask for a better father or brother-in-law.
My second shot was a double lunger while Darryl’s hit the butt. Of course there was some ribbing about that, and my one shot when I had five in the gun!
I called Jodee and she got Caleb on the phone. The first thing he ask is if I got a big buck? I told him Jesus answered his prayer, and he got real excited. He asked all about the buck, and I let him know that it was his prayers that got him for me, and how good God is to us. It had to be Gods hand at work for everything to fall into place. The deer stopping at a spot I just ranged, he quartered away looking the other way, and without snow he would of been almost impossible to track. About 20 minutes after finding the deer all the snow had melted. There were many more things too, but the bottom line is God is good.
You can see the big smile on Caleb’s face in the picture with me and my daughter Makaylee. I am a blessed man.