Well, it seems to have been a long time coming, but Tom came out with me on his first hunt yesterday morning.
I'd warned him that the rifle might seem loud, that it might be a bit chilly at that time in the morning, there was a chance that we might be out for ages and not even see anything, and that if I did shoot something it might seem a bit gory. Undetered, he virtually bounced out of bed at 04:00, or "daft o'clock", as we christened it, donned his toggs and off we set.
Once we arrived at the farm I briefed him for about the thousandth time that he was to stay behind me and to my left, he must only speak in whispers and to stop walking if and whenever I do. Once he'd confirmed that he'd got all that I tied the dog to my belt, hoisted my rucksack, loaded the rifle and the stalk began. No sooner had we got through the farm gate and I did my first stop to scan with the glasses, a roe buck crossed into our field from the adjacent one at a range of about 50m. Rifle over sticks, shot released and deer down. We'd literally been stalking for about 20 metres. Tom was smiling from ear to ear and dead keen to see the deer close up.
I explained that we needed to wait to make sure the deer didn't get back up, and also to let it die "in peace" if it wasn't quite dead.
Time up, we approached and I showed him how to do the eye reflex test before I let him pose for a "happy snap" and we had a closer look at our prize. I showed him the antlers and teeth, the entrance and exit wounds and explained where a shot needed to go to ensure a clean kill and what it would hit as it went through.
On to the gralloch.
I explained what I was about to do, and told him I'd try to explain each step as I went.
I cut out around the anus and pulled out the "poop tube"...and the heard a soft thud behind me. I looked round and Tom was sat with his back to me, "are you OK Tom?" I asked......"I can't stand up dad" he replied. Poor little bugger had greyed out and only just managed to hang on to consciousness. So, I put him in the recovery position and sat with him until he came round properly and got his colour back.
I let him sit out the rest of the gralloch in the car and once the buck was stowed in the carcass tray we set off for a McDonnalds breakfast. By the time the golden arches hoved into view Tom was back to his usual self and we had a good laugh about his woozy moment.
The good news is, he wants to come out again.