Fink was impressed. "Wow, I need to give this young man a call and see what he's all about," he thought.

With all the political chaos and divisiveness going around now, it can be very easy to get discouraged, bringing thoughts about will our nation and its people survive this mess we have seemed to get ourselves in. I sometimes have doubts myself.

But then a story comes along that makes you just say, "Wow!" So here's the story of Bam Fink and Peddie Brooks.

I've had the privilege of knowing Bam Fink for a few years, knowing him as an avid outdoorsman. He and his daughter, Ashlee have sent in outdoor photos to Ascension Outdoors TV that have graced our picture segment on more than one occasion.

Bam is 56 years old and started his hunting career back when he was three years old. He was born in Nevada as his dad Roy "Rabbit" Fink served our country in the Air Force but soon moved back to Gonzales where he was raised.

"My older brother got a BB gun for Christmas so I pitched a fit to my dad about getting me one," Fink stated. "He told me if I could cock the gun, he'd go down to the Gonzales Sport Shop and get me one. I cocked it and he went and got me one. That's how it all started."

These days the Bam Fink family has a small lease in Livingston Parish where they deer hunt. Returning from an afternoon hunt Bam Fink accompanied with Ashlee found a hand-written note on his trailer.

Fink picked it up and read it: "Hi, can you give me a call at (phone number). Last year I was told I could hunt on the property before the gate, and I couldn't kill anything. I see that you look like a good hunter and wanted to know if you could teach me how to hunt. Thanks, Peddie."

Fink was impressed. "Wow, I need to give this young man a call and see what he's all about," he thought.

Enter Peddie Brooks, a 17 year old junior that attends Walker high School who's had a desire in his heart for the outdoors since he was six years old. "I'm not interested in playing sports at all and nobody really hunts in my family," Brooks said. "I started out just shooting guns so hunting came along sort of naturally."

Brooks started out hunting small game like rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons. "I really got interested in big game hunting last year, but I never saw anything," he said. The property he hunts borders the Fink property. "I saw this truck and tried to catch whoever was hunting to talk but never hooked up. The truck looked like it belonged to an experienced hunter so I just found an old piece of paper and wrote a note. I was hoping he would help me."

So began a new relationship between an experienced hunter and his student who was hungry to learn. The pair walked the property allowing Bam Fink to discover the lay of the land, pointing out the best spot to put a stand.

Brooks had found an old 16' stand that needed some repair and a new seat. After the repairs were done, Fink helped him put the stand on a straight, sturdy tree ensuring that the young hunter would be as safe as possible.

Fink helped Brooks clear out some brush, cut some small trees, and make some clear shooting lanes. He put out some corn and even let him use his 12-gauge Remington 1100 shotgun with 00 buckshot for ammo. The first two hunts were unsuccessful as far as seeing a deer or getting a shot.

The old saying "The third time's a charm" came to pass on the next hunt though, for Brooks. It was an afternoon hunt around 5 p.m., just about primetime for the deer to get some last minute feeding accomplished before bedding down for the night. Brooks saw some movement.

A nice-sized spiked buck was trotting toward the stand and stopped about 25 yards away. Before the buck could wind and smell anything amiss, Brooks put a load to the kill zone with the Remington. Another round was added when the buck tried to get up, and it was done!

"I'd never fired a shotgun before, but my adrenaline was rushing so hard that I didn't even feel the recoil from the shot," exclaimed Brooks. "The buck weighed in at 145 pounds. It was so great! I now have a friend and hunting buddy, and I'll never forget it. He even helped me clean my deer."

This wasn't the first time Bam Finks helped another person to kill their first deer (double digits), but this one was quite special. "This was one-of-a-kind feeling and something cool from not knowing him to just a week or so forming a friendship," Fink said. "And now I have a life-time hunting buddy. The smile on his face was worth a million bucks to me."

Bam Fink helped Peddie Brooks accomplish his dream of a lifetime. It came as no surprise to Ashlee Fink (Bam's daughter): "I was there when dad found the note on his trailer, and it was so touching as it meant a lot to daddy," she said. "Peddie was so grateful for someone to help him. Daddy called me, and Peddie told me the story of his first kill, and you could hear the pride in his voice. I'm not sure who was more excited."

This story could bring a warm spot to your heart and a tear to your eye.

I also had the opportunity to bring a kid to the outdoors as my Grandson, Canaan Watts joined me on a fishing trip on the Diversion Canal and the Amite River. We spent about five hours on the water and brought home 35 sac-a-lait, 2 bass, 2 bream, and a catfish caught on jigs. Canaan wore the same smile as Peddie Brooks as he landed some really nice fish!

Pay it forward by introducing a kid to the outdoors. It usually brings you as much or more pleasure seeing the youngster have fun. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Be safe in the outdoors, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.



Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman's League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel & Rabbit Season: Oct. 5-Feb. 29, open statewide on private lands only. Daily bag limit 8 and possession limit 24.

Hunting Seasons: Ducks: Nov. 16-Dec. 8, West Waterfowl Zone. Ducks: Nov. 23-Dec. 8, East Waterfowl Zone. Deer/Modern Firearms: Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Areas 1, 4, 6, still-hunt only. Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Area 5, still-hunt only & bucks only except Nov. 29-Dec. 1 either-sex weekend. Nov. 16-Dec. 6, State Deer Area 9, still-hunt only & bucks only except Nov. 16-17 & Nov. 29-Dec. 1 either-sex weekends.

Open Recreational Offshore Fishing Seasons: Red snapper weekends only, including Monday, Nov.11 (Veterans Day) until further notice; and, all groupers except closed for the take of goliath & Nassau groupers in state/federal waters.

Amite River Christmas on the Bayou: Dec. 7 starting at dusk traveling from Chinquapin Canal stopping at Red's and Manny's—Santa will hand out stockings to kids at both spots. Decorate and enter your boat for $25; all info on Facebook page. Amite River Christmas on the Bayou.

Expedition Paddle: Dec. 8—8 a.m.-3 p.m., held on Bayou Lafourche in Golden Meadow-Leeville. Fee $10-$12. Call BREC 225-272-9200. Website: webtrac.brec.org. Email: outdooradventure@brec.org.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net