My husband and 12-year-old have been walking all over the hills west of Missoula looking for a buck. The past few weeks of constant searching only to turn up nothing was really getting to my preteen. This is the first year he is old enough to hunt.

He studied hard during hunter’s safety class this past spring and was anxiously awaiting hunting season this year. However, he was starting to get frustrated when time and time again he would go looking for deer and come back home only having seen a squirrel or two.

My husband was beginning to worry that our son would get so frustrated that he would give up on hunting all together. This would be devastating to my husband because some of the fondest memories he has of his father growing up are of him and his dad hunting.

My husband had been eagerly waiting for the day to come when one of his sons would finally be old enough to take hunting. He couldn’t wait to pass on the love of hunting and make memories with his own son.

This past Sunday the wait was finally over. Instead of a disappointed hang-dog look on his face when he walked in the door, my son was grinning from ear to ear. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him or my husband so happy before.

After weeks of endless searching, the hunt was finally over. My son had shot a nice little four point buck. His first hunting season had been a success. He had filled his tag. His deer tag, anyway.

He still has an elk tag to fill.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.