Dr. Kevin Bryant with his sons, Patrick and John, and dog, Beau
One perfect Christmas morning 17 years ago, Patrick and John received their first rifle.
In their stockings was a note promising a hunting trip to Uncle Ben’s farm. “On that trip, on the same day, we both got our first buck,” John remembers.
Patrick recalls that first trip with fond memories as well. “We were riding around Ben’s property, tracking a deer, and Ben looks at us and goes, ‘Guys, I don’t know about you, but I’m loster than last year’s Easter egg!’ Then John and I looked at each other like, if he’s lost on his property, then we’re definitely lost,” Patrick laughs.
Kevin’s favorite memories include the anticipation of the trip. “The questions were constant from two excited 7- and 8-year-old boys,” Kevin explains. “Then, that first morning (like many mornings after), it was a scramble to find the lost glove, a ‘where are my socks?’, ‘my zipper is stuck!’ and just a scramble to get to the stand before daylight. Looking back, all these years later, those are some of my most cherished moments.”
That first hunt, full of precious memories, set the tone for all the rest. “Dad never let us have a bad time,” John says. “He planned hunts well, but he also taught us that time spent together was more important than a successful harvest. It was about enjoying time together. He instilled that in both of us.”
Patrick recalls many life lessons from his father that he learned through hunting, including the importance of focus and goal setting. “Walking through the woods, I would always be concerned where I was stepping. My dad would say, ‘Pick up your eyes. Look ahead; don’t worry,’” Patrick recalls. “It’s the same way in life. Keep a forward mindset.”
“It’s not just about the hunting. I feel there is a friendship with my sons, and now my son-in-law, that has been reinforced with a common passion for hunting,” Kevin says. “It allows me to share life lessons and also just have fun with my boys.”
“I’m thankful for a dad who made the investment in time and taught us a skill,” Patrick shares. “I hope I have the same opportunity one day with my kids and my nieces and nephews.” SG