Written by Craig Nyhus, Lone Star Outdoor News Foundation
They didn’t know what to expect. And a text after a first father-son hunting weekend capped the story.
At the Wild Game Supper held by Lone Star Outdoor News in October to raise funds for Lone Star Outdoor News Foundation, hunter and LSON reader Peter Quintero approached Lone Star Outdoor News’ managing editor Conor Harrison.
“How do I nominate someone for a hunt?” he asked. “A friend of my son wants to get involved in hunting.”
After some email exchanges and an essay sent by the friend — 15-year-old Braeden Prejean of Little Elm — the problem was scheduling.
“We’re pretty booked up, but if someone backs out, we’ll call,” I told Braeden’s dad, Vincent.
Someone did, the call was made, and Vincent and Braeden arrived in South Texas in late November.
“Growing up in south Louisiana, it’s hard to believe I wasn’t a hunter,” Vincent said. “But I wasn’t, although most of my friends were. But Braeden and Pete’s son Joshua are best friends, and they are hunters.”
The father and son entered the experience with open eyes.
“When the opportunity came through, I didn’t know what to expect,” Vincent said. “I thought it was going to be at a big lodge with several other kids, with not a whole lot of opportunity for Braeden to have a one-on-one learning experience, or if he would get the chance to shoot a deer.
“From the moment that we pulled up. I could tell this was going to be different.”
Braeden was the model pupil, following to the letter instructions on firearm safety and shooting.
And he and his dad learned a few things along the way.
“The entire weekend was a learning experience, not only in the blinds, but sitting around the fire learning why we hunt and when we should hunt,” Vincent said. “The atmosphere was relaxed and patient — I could feel the excitement when it was time to go out to the blind.”
The first evening hunt didn’t involve any shooting, but the next morning, a feral hog stepped into view and Braeden connected.
“It was amazing to see how proud you were when Braeden was successful in taking an animal, as if he was your son,” Vincent said. “Braeden and I were welcomed in as if we were family. I felt like I had been there before and the three of you (David Sams, intern Cole Ferris and me) were life-long friends.”
That evening, just after sunset, the whitetail came out as a thunderstorm loomed in the horizon. Braeden’s shot was perfect. The next morning, another perfect shot on a javelina rounded out the weekend.
It was the text from their Cajun uncle, though, that caught the attention of all those involved.
“You can now provide food for your family,” the text read. “Now that’s a man.”
Braeden’s thank you note showed that Texas has a new hunter for life.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to hunt last weekend,” the letter read. “I learned the importance of preserving and controlling the deer population, the amount of time and dedication that goes into hunting and how to clean and skin my own animals. I never thought that hunting would be as fun as it is. I don’t think my weekend could have gone any better. I’m looking forward to hunt more and to one day teach my children what I learned. ”
And he’s bringing his dad along with him, as calls were made over the weekend to their hunting friends — they are now looking for a hunting lease.
“I never imagined that we would have had such a great experience and that I would actually say I want to be a hunter,” Vincent said.