Hunting tradition dictates that fathers pass the knowledge they’ve acquired from years of experience in the field down to their sons, who years later repeat the same process for their own kids.
So on the opening day of youth season in Area 2, when Shawn Seward recommended that his 13-year-old son Carson change stands for a better shot at a buck, he thought he was giving out sound advice.
The elder Seward was in the process of getting his 8th grader at Grant Junior High settled in a lean-to stand overlooking a cutover on the edge of a logging road in Catahoula Parish when he suggested making a move.
“What happened was when we eased in there, as soon as we got to the stand, a deer started blowing at us, and we could kind of hear it run off. But it just kept blowing at us,” said Seward, who works as an adaptive PE teacher with the Grant Parish School Board. “And Carson started climbing the stand.
“I said, 'Carson, we scared them. They’re not going to come back. Let’s go to our other club and you can get into another stand. We can be there in 10 minutes.'”
But this was Carson’s first crack at hunting on a lease his dad had joined just this year, and he was intent on staying put that Saturday morning, Oct. 10.
“He said, ‘No, I want to stay here.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’re not going to see anything,’” Seward said. “But he said that was where he wanted to hunt, so I let him stay there.”
Since it was youth season, he headed for his truck after he got his son situated, figuring Carson would come to regret his decision and learn a valuable lesson.
“I eased out and got to my truck, which was only about 100 yards away, and I could still hear the deer in there blowing,” Seward said with a chuckle. “I thought to myself that he wouldn’t even see a squirrel — that he would learn.”
But as the events of the morning unfolded, Carson would actually be the one teaching his dad a lesson.
“I wasn’t even gone 20 minutes, and Carson called,” Seward said. “He said he killed a big one. And I thought, ‘Yeah, right. He’s 13, it’s the first buck he’s ever killed by himself… It’s probably not that big.’”
Turns out the kid was right again.
Since they were brand new to the lease, Seward said he didn’t have a clue a big buck was even in the area. He had put out some corn and had some trail cam shots of deer, but nothing that prepared him for what he saw when he returned to meet his son.
“When I got back there, I was like, ‘Oh my,'" Seward said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Carson had drilled a big 12-pointer from only 30 yards with his 7mm-08. The buck had a 17-inch inside spread, and was green-scored at 153 ⅛ inches at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop. (At Spotted Dog in Columbia, the buck was scored as a 13-point, and stretched the tape to 157 inches.)
“He said the deer actually came from the woods and headed to the cutover. Carson had his head down playing on his phone,” Seward said. “The deer kind of snorted and he looked up and he was standing there at 30 yards with his head in the corn pile. Carson said he just eased his earmuffs on, and shot him kind of angling away from him.
“He hit him just really perfect, a little back, and it came through his front shoulder.”
The big buck — bigger than any the elder Seward has ever killed — will go up on a prominent wall in the family home, he said.
“I have one in our living room/kitchen, and my wife said we can only have one in there, so I think mine is going to have to move upstairs,” he said. “Carson’s will go in there.”
So despite defying conventional wisdom, the 13-year-old’s gut instinct to stay put was dead on. Hopefully he and his dad will get to share lots more memories — and teachable moments — in their time together on the stand.
“I couldn’t believe a deer like that would walk up there after all those deer blew like that,” Seward said with a smile. “I told Carson I wouldn’t have killed him because I wouldn’t have sat there in 100 years after what happened when we got there.
“I guess that’s the reason I’ve never killed one that big.”
Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.