Not many second-graders would be excited to move from one end of the state to the other, but it was OK with Brad Smith.
His father, Dr. Mike Smith, relocated their family back home to Bastrop from Rayne some 30 years ago, and the younger Smith was glad to be moving closer to his grandfather J.W. Smith and his uncle Pat Smith because all they talked about was deer hunting.
“I was hooked on deer hunting at an early age, and my family is the reason why,” Brad Smith said. “My earliest trips with them are great memories. My first deer hunt was with a .410 shotgun and one single slug shell.”
His Uncle Pat, who gave him his first bow, lost his eyesight and had to give up hunting. But they never quit talking about it — constantly.
Now he understands how they felt watching him grow up hunting.
“My kids — Allen, age 14, and Hannah, age 12 — have also been drawn to hunting,” Smith said. “They’ve already killed good deer, and Allen got his first big one with a bow last year. He’s just like me.
“That’s probably the most exciting thing for me now, watching them. I get more excited about it, more nervous about it, than they do. Hannah is all girl, but when she goes hunting, she sits still and quiet and doesn’t need an iPhone. She’s got more patience for it than me. What a great way to spend quality time with your teenage kids. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even when they want to go every weekend.”
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have an understanding wife who approves and encourages all that away-from-home time.