Wyoming hunter Andrew Richardson is helping to preserve the hunting tradition with his 13-year-old son, Tennessee.
When Tennessee turned 12, his dad started him out hunting Turkeys, pheasant, pronghorns, and a doe. Last fall, it was time for Tennessee, named after country and western singer Tennessee Ernie Ford, to put down his first buck.
Together, the father and son team is building a strong bond — and sharing their love for the great outdoors.
Wyoming Hunt Area 117
Andrew and Tennessee got lucky when they applied for — and both received — tags to Wyoming Hunt Area 117. As the season was about to start, they headed up to the hills to set up camp.
Over the span of a couple of days, Tennessee passed on several bucks. Yet, the minute the young teenager saw a familiar rack, he knew in his heart it was “the one.”
Andrew and Tennessee had spent countless days scouting the terrain during the preseason. They had first spotted Tennessee’s deer in July and patterned it through the seasons.
Spending all those months together is what made this buck special, Tennessee told the Powell Tribune. Andrew worked hard to get them in position for the shot.
“I got him within 110 yards,” Andrew recalled, “and he harvested his first buck at 10,500 feet [elevation].”
Andrew says his son was beyond thrilled to finally kill his first buck.
“Since he started hunting, it’s all he talks about,” he said.
A Special Hunt
Sharing a family love for hunting is a pretty common theme in Wyoming, but it’s not where this story ends. Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner David Rael stopped by to say hello to Andrew and Tennessee before doing some scouting of his own in area 62, which overlaps with area 117.
Rael became emotional as he discussed meeting the Richardsons in the Wyoming mountains. Seeing the relationship between the father and son inspired Rael. In addition, it brought up some raw nerves from his own youth.
“I never went hunting with my father,” Rael explains. “He had other things in his life more important than his family.”
Andrew said that he can relate to Rael, as he also grew up without his father in his life. That made the hunting learning curve tough to navigate.
“I didn’t have anybody to show me how to get any of it done,” he said. “For the first 18 years of my life there was just nobody there.”
As a result, most of Andrew’s hunting skills are self-taught. He wanted to make sure that his kids would have a different upbringing, so he spends hours doing research and an equal amount of time soul searching.
“We both learned that whole trip, you know, it wasn’t just me teaching him,” Andrew said. “It was me learning from him as well; I don’t know if I’ll ever experience another hunt as special as this one.”