Avan Griffin’s Thanksgiving to remember

first deer

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Author : Susan Griffin

On Thanksgiving Day, (Nov. 23, 2023), my 10-year-old son Avan and I settled into the Randolph County, NC deer blind about an hour before daylight. Avan and I had stayed up way too late decorating for Christmas the night before, and we had almost decided to sleep in and go hunting in the afternoon instead. Then around 20 minutes before daylight, two small does walked into the corn pile and stayed for a long time. Avan begged and begged me to let him shoot one of the does, but I remained firm in encouraging him to wait and be patient. The two does finally left the corn pile.

Avan was sad because he thought there was no hope in getting a deer. It was a cold morning and Avan was ready to go home. I encouraged him to wait until at least another 30 minutes. All of a sudden Avan’s hope was restored as this huge buck walked out in to the corn pile! We sat and watched the buck in amazement and waited for the perfect opportunity to take a shot. It seemed like an eternity before the buck finally turned broadside. As Avan slowly clicked the safety off, the buck quickly lifted his head, and I thought his chance was over. However, the buck continued to eat and slowly meandered around. At last, the buck turned in the perfect position and took a step forward. Avan yelled “Meh” and pulled the trigger. We both watched in sheer disbelief as the buck fell to the ground.

I remember being so excited to call our friend James to come help us with the buck, that I could barely dial his number. This was Avan’s first deer and a buck at that! It was so special for me to be by his side and witnessing this special moment in his life. Avan’s dream has always been to go hunting with me and to get his first deer. As a single mom, I knew I had to make this event happen for him.

Patience pays off with first deer

Once we took the traditional photos with Avan’s buck, we loaded him and headed to Josh Dunn Deer Processing in Seagrove, North Carolina. When we arrived to the deer processor, other hunters who had also harvested deer, greeted us. While I was talking with Josh and trying to figure out how I could pay for the deer processing and the taxidermy, the other hunters were being so kind and were really making a big deal in congratulating Avan on getting such a nice buck. It made Avan feel like he was on top of the world.

I was nervous about coming up with the money to pay for the deer to be mounted, but I knew I had to make it happen. I just so happened to have the taxidermy deposit money in my wallet, so I paid and we left. Later in the afternoon, I received a surprising phone call from the processor telling me that different folks had come by and donated money for our deer’s processing and taxidermy. The cost had been paid in full! I was so blown away and humbled by the generosity. Avan and I felt thankful and so blessed for what had been done for us.

Thanksgiving gave us not only so much for which to be thankful, but it also taught Avan patience and gave us precious memories we will cherish forever. In addition, it taught us that there are still many good people in this world.

Footnote: Avan and I would like to say thank you and recognize James Murray. James graciously allowed us to hunt on his land, provided us with a deer blind, and kept the area baited with corn. Otherwise, we would have never had the opportunity to make Avan’s dream come true. James mentored Avan and helped him prepare for success in harvesting a deer.


Bag A Buck Contest

Congratulations to Avan, who is now in the running for our monthly prize of a free 1-year subscription to Carolina Sportsman Magazine, a Mini Maglite, an 18-ounce Yeti Rambler, a two-pack of Lowcountry Seasonings, as well as our Grand Prize, which includes a 3-year-subscription to Carolina Sportsman Magazine, a 2-day two-person hunt at Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge in Chesterfield, SC, and other prizes to be determined.

See all the bucks entered so far, and upload yours at carolinasportsman.com/bag-a-buck-2023, or email photo and detailed info to images@carolinasportsman.com.

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