In addition to his family, Brad Smith was blessed with a mentor who taught him something about deer hunting more important than any trophy deer.
“There was a man in our hunting club named Wes Taylor that was just the best deer hunter I think I ever met,” Smith said. “Every year he would kill two or three just huge bucks. He was a bowhunter. When I first met him, he still shot a recurve bow for years.”
Smith spent time with him up until Taylor passed away in 2015.
“He was 89 years old, and he hunted right up until near the end,” Smith said. “I would pick him up in the evening, we would go hunting and then I’d take him home. I learned about hunting from him.”
But hunting isn’t the most important thing Taylor taught Smith.
“I’ll probably never be the hunter that he was, but he was the kind of person that I hope one day I will be able to emulate in other ways,” Smith said. “When he was 70 and 80 years old, he’d still hunt circles around people. He was fun to be around (and) helped teach a lot of people how to be better hunters.
“And he always looked out for the younger hunters. He was a Tomcat Fighter pilot in World War II. He never ran out of unbelievable stories about that and hunting. He never seemed to tell the same one twice. He was a great hunter. He was a great person.”