By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
As far as first deer stories go, plenty have been told from atop a bar stool, but my little boy may be the first to actually accomplish the subject of his tale from that spot.
The guys Walker Tate will someday think of as his Old Men spent the late summer and early fall of the past year preparing the way for him to collect his first deer.
My father-in-law provided the territory and the rifle, my dad cut the stock down to fit Walker’s youthful frame, I located parts to finish the fitting and found a rifle load suitable for both the shooter and the game. David Carr, a gunsmithing buddy, worked the trigger to make it crisp and smooth. Food plots were planted and carefully left alone, an elevated shooting house was placed in just the right spot.
We practiced Walker’s shooting with a BB gun, with and without a scope, then ultimately with the rifle itself. The window he was to shoot out of was high, so we’d planned for him to sit in my lap, the better for me to monitor his firearm safety and communicate about what was going on and what to do next.
After the first couple of trips, each of which resulted in deer encounters and a doe miss, it dawned on me the ideal seat for him to use would be something other than my leg. When it was actually time to shoot the seat didn’t really matter, but in the hours waiting for that moment to arrive it left a good deal to be desired in the way of comfort and I was afraid he’d get miserable before he got a deer. With three of us filling the interior of the shooting house, as my father-in-law was rolling video of the attempts, the perfect seat for Walker would need to be not very big or wide, but fairly tall. It would need to have a foot rest and some kind of a back on it and, ideally, it would be height-adjustable.
Some time after the second doe miss, I was at Room to Room Furniture in Tupelo on a domestic errand and spied just the thing: a chrome and black art deco bar stool, height adjustable by way of gas cylinder, complete with a low back and on sale to boot. Now, I’ve been married for 13 years, so I haven’t made or contributed to any furniture purchase decisions in at least that long, but I knew what I was looking for when I saw it. The shiny surfaces didn’t matter since it would be inside an enclosed stand and well below the sill of the window.
We tested it out a few days before Christmas and, two height adjustments and a seven-point later, Walker’s first deer was a done deal. If anyone questions his veracity in years to come, he’ll have pictures and video to prove it.
Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.