Turkey Hunt Helps Teen Embrace the Idea of Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone

There’s something to be said about being open to trying new things. Well that’s exactly the mindset that Averie Link had, when she went on her first turkey hunt recently with her dad, Joe, for the Texas south zone spring turkey early youth weekend. The 16 year old grew up sitting in a deer blind with her father, but only recently in the last two years had she actually spent time as a hunter behind the trigger of a gun, rather than just an observer. Over that two-year span, she was able to expand her hunting experiences from deer to wing shooting, and she was excited to pursue Rio Grande gobblers for the very first time.

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A Stick and String Trophy, and Countless Life Lessons

Seventeen-year-old Cade Thomas began pursuing white-tailed deer with archery equipment back in 2017 at age 11.  He started with a crossbow and then progressed to using a compound bow.

This past season, he harvested his personal best whitetail buck on the Horn Ranch & Rancho La Tinaja in Kinney County, Texas where his father, Bobby, leases a spot. The deer was one of the few survivors left after anthrax plagued the property’s deer herd back in 2019, and it scored approximately 171.25 inches.

According to Ranch Manager and landowner, David Price, the ranch lost an estimated 700 deer due to an anthrax outbreak in 2019, and Thomas’s buck was one that survived that event.

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Through a Father’s Eyes: A Son’s First Deer Season

A person will never forget their first deer or their first buck.  Those are moments that are monumental, both as a hunter and as a Texan.  And this season I was fortunate enough to share those special moments with my oldest son, Waylon, during his first deer season as hunter instead of an observer.

Back in November 2023, he was able to harvest his first deer ever, a doe, on our family farm at age five. He made seven sits in a blind during the week of Thanksgiving before getting a shot opportunity at a doe. During one particular evening hunt, he made an excellent shot at a raccoon, right at dark at about 80 yards. There I was disappointed that he hadn’t gotten a shot at a doe, yet the youngster couldn’t have been more elated and pumped up about his raccoon. So you can imagine how excited he was, and how excited I was, when he made a great shot on his doe later that week.

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