Bill Brosseau says his son, Max, is a bit different from most of his peers. Specifically, Max absolutely loves anything about hunting and fishing.
“While most 5-year-olds prefer cartoons like Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, Max is usually asking to watch the Pursuit Channel or YouTube videos of people hunting or fishing,” the Troy man wrote in an email.
Maine eliminated its minimum age for hunting — 10 years old — back in 2016. Since then, parents have been allowed to decide when they think their children are ready to head afield.
And on Thursday, 5-year-old Max proved that he was plenty ready.
“To show that he was ready for this, Max had to first target practice, then go out with me and just watch,” Bill Brosseau said. “He got to be right there with us when my girlfriend’s 10-year-old son, Felix, shot a nice little spike horn on youth day. Max had to learn how to be quiet and still in the hunting blind, and he helped me with using a doe bleat and rattling for bucks. He even fell asleep on me in the blind one afternoon ‘trying to be quiet.’”
The duo had been out a few times, and saw some does while hunting in Troy, but a clean shot didn’t present itself. Bill Brosseau said those outings helped Max learn to be patient.
On Thursday, their luck changed.
“I picked him up from childcare at about 3 p.m. after he had just finished his day in kindergarten and we headed home to get ready,” Bill Brosseau wrote. “The whole way home we just talked about hunting. He really wanted to shoot a monster buck. A few nights before he had asked me how to write one hundred thousand, and I told him. A few minutes later he came to me with a picture of me and him shooting a ‘100,000-pound buck.’ We talked about what we might really see, and that once again, the shot had to be right.”
Max and his dad made it to their hunting blind by about 3:50 p.m., and at 4:10 p.m., a doe came out into the field, all by herself.
“I put the rifle, [a 7 mm-08], in the tripod and handed it to Max. He took his time, making sure that he had a good shot, and that the deer was stopped and broadside,” Bill Brosseau wrote. “I had to help him adjust the eye relief and zoom on the scope, and then he was all set.”
About five minutes later, Max asked for permission to shoot.
“I asked him if he had the crosshairs right behind the front shoulder. He confirmed, and I took the safety off for him,” Bill Brosseau wrote. “I told him that when he was ready, he could shoot. He simply said ‘Ok, I got this,’ and after a short pause, BOOM!”
The hunt was over. But the excitement was just beginning.
“I watched the deer drop in its tracks. Max looked at me and said “Where’d it go?’” Bill Brosseau wrote. “I told him that it was on the ground. His response was ‘Yeah baby!”
Bill Brosseau said he and Max spent the rest of the afternoon field-dressing and tagging the deer, then sharing the story on FaceTime with family and friends.
“It was like Christmas came in November for this little guy,” Bill Brosseau said. “It’s a good thing that there was a snow day [from school] the day after because he didn’t sleep much that night. Though the deer only dressed out at 65 pounds, it was a trophy deer for him.”