I’ve been bowhunting deer for 30 years now. I’ve learned a lot, but I know luck has had a lot to do with my success. It’s always been that way in all my outdoor pursuits — turkey hunting, waterfowling, upland game, fishing — even looking for shed antlers or picking mushrooms.

How many times does an outdoorsman’s luck change when you least expect it? Too many times to count. You might be in a place in which you have zero confidence and like a miracle, your luck changes.

This year, I was blessed to get my buck Nov. 22. I did not make the best shot, but was lucky the deer died quickly. My boy, Matt, decided last year to give bowhunting a try, so I helped him set up his bow, practice and set up stands. Last year, he was fortunate to shoot a doe. It seemed to grab his interest as he hunted a lot harder this year and again took a nice doe. Matt and I went way up north to talk to a few farmers and set up two stands for him. I told him (jokingly) this way he wouldn’t be messing up my stands.

Matt decided to head north on the afternoon of Nov. 24. When he got to his spot, he met a firefighter who said he wouldn’t be hunting there, as it was all on fire. So he had to go to his other spot. Now, when we put up this stand, it did not look good, as there was little deer sign. But he had no other place to go, and it was getting late.

With little faith, he went ahead and walked in to his stand. On the way in, he spooked several deer. Well, like a miracle, Matt made a perfect shot on a nice buck. It died within seconds. He called me, and I was able to drive up and share the experience with him.

When we found the deer, I told him he needed to thank the Lord. Matt told me he already did many times, and that when he got into his stand, he prayed to God to let a buck walk by his stand tonight. These statements made me so proud of my son. Another example of luck. So many factors had to come together for him to shoot this great deer.

The perfect season. After Matt shot his deer, most people didn’t even want to talk about my deer, only Matt’s. Isn’t that great.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis.