It was Saturday, November 15, 2003 and the annual ritual of opening day for Indiana's deer hunting. The whitetail rut was finally here. Unfortunately it was a cold and rainy day in the woods' around Fort Wayne. But that did little to impede a great day for twelve-year-old Tucker Smith.
After arriving on Uncle Tom's land before the crack of dawn, Tucker and his dad climbed one of the most popular pieces of equipment used by hunters - a tree stand. Then they waited. Day was breaking and they waited some more. To keep a young prospects interest is hard. Young or old you must put your time in on the stands to bring home the quarry. His dad was probably thinking it wouldn't be long and he would be hearing the groans. "It's too cold." "I want to go home and play video games." But around 7:30am opening day Tucker Smith found himself to be one lucky hunter. Slipping through the timber and making its way down the trail came a deer. What Tucker already suspected from the size and shape of this deer's body, yes, it was a buck, and a pretty good one at that. He was either pursuing does or patrolling his territory and didn't notice the hunters. Tucker was prepared. He knew how to handle the gun, he had taken the required Hunter Safety course. Using a muzzleloader, he sited-in the deer and tracked him through the timber. This heavy horned buck stopped and Tucker shot his first deer - his first year hunting.
Immediately upon reaching the deer, the temporary transportation tag was attached. Tucker and his dad field dressed the deer and dragged him into the pickup truck. On their way to the official deer check-in station, The Bait and Hook Store in Waynedale, Tucker announced, "Dad, we are definitely mounting this one!"
Despite the weather, Tucker's hunting experience is off to a good start. The Smith Family continues their ritual. On Thanksgiving Day, they will be sharing their harvest from the wild with family and friends.