On December 10th through December
14th Benefit4Kids sent 13 year old Steven Butts on an Outdoor
Wish hunt for a big buck on the Eastern shores of Maryland. Steven
is on the heart transplant list in New York and needs to receive
a transplant by this summer. Steven was hunting with Steve Rupert
who is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes
to whitetails. The weather during their hunt absolutely sucked
and for the most part kept the deer from moving much. They saw
some deer but no where near what they would have under normal
circumstances. Although they hunted hard they didn't get a deer.
Some might think the hunt was unsuccessful. They couldn't be more
I talked with Steven last night on the phone and you could still
hear the excitement in his voice. Steven did have a few does and
small bucks that he could have taken but he was hoping for a big
buck. They just weren't moving much in the bad weather. Wednesday
brought driving rains, heavy winds and ice and they were unable
to even get out hunting. On Thursday they did see several does
and a small buck and at 9:30 a really good buck but there was
no shot opportunity. Thursday evening they again saw 2 small bucks
but Steven held out still hoping for the buck of his dreams. Friday
once again the weather turned sour with heavy rains moving into
the area again. Friday was also Steve Rupert's birthday and though
he could have stayed home with his family the day found he and
Steven out trying to get Steven his buck. They hunted the whole
day but with the bad weather only saw a few small does. Maybe
Saturday would be Steven's day.
Saturday morning found the deer still bedded down from the brutal
weather from the day before and Steven's chances of taking a big
buck grew dim as they went out for the final hunt that afternoon.
As Steven and his Dad sat in their blind they quietly talked about
the hunt and the coming trip back home. Neither of them expected
what happened next. As they whispered back and forth Steven looked
out the window of the blind to see not one but 3 bucks and a doe
standing 70 yards out in front of them in the woods. One of the
bucks was a big 140 class with a drop tine. It was the type of
buck Steven had hoped to get a crack at during his hunt. Steven
slowly raised his gun as the buck stood there unaware of the hunters
hidden in the blind. Then it happened.
Steven slowly lowered his gun and told his Dad "the shot's
just not right" and they watched as Steven's buck and the
others slowly melted into the woods. Darkness soon came with 2
button bucks and a small doe being the only other deer to come
by them that night. Steven's "Outdoor Wish" hunt had
come to an end. As a hunter I know how hard Steven's decision
was to make and I could not be prouder of him if he had taken
that huge buck. When we talked on the phone I asked him why he
didn't shoot and he told me it was "because he wasn't sure
he could put a good shot on the deer where he was". To me
when Steven made that decision he showed that he was a true hunter.
Although Steven didn't get his "dream buck" this story
isn't over yet. Steve Rupert says Steven is an incredible kid
and has extended an open invitation to Steven to come back next
year for another go at the huge bucks on Maryland's eastern shores.
Steven said after he gets his new heart he's going to go back
and instead of a wish hunt they'll have a celebration hunt. With
any kind of luck they'll have another "successful hunt".
Steve Rupert of Shore Bet Outfitters in Maryland donated Steven’s
Benefit4Kids paid for Steven’s travel, food and lodging.