September 22, 2010
Who says we're not passing on the hunting tradition to the younger generation? If last season was any indication, at the rate our youngsters seem to be harvesting trophy whitetails, there may not be anything left for the "over the hill" generation!
Brittany Koenig, 17, Wisconsin
BRITTANY KOENIG, WISCONSIN
My mother, Tammy Koenig, has been involved in the outdoor industry since about the time I was born. Although I'm 17 now, I've been shooting a bow since I was 6. I remember looking forward to the time when I would actually be able to hunt. Fortunately, over the past five years I've been able to go with my mom on several hunts after bear, deer and elk.
Last year in late December (three days after Christmas) we went on an exciting bowhunt for whitetails in Minocqua, Wisconsin. The weather was very cold, windy and blustery. Deer movement was not good, and we spent many hours in our tree stands without seeing a single animal. During my third day out, we tried a brand-new stand location. It was very cold and windy. The oak leaves were rustling in the high winds, and that helped cover the sounds of movement on the unforgiving platform of my stand.
After sitting for about 30 minutes, I saw an outstanding buck coming my way to the left side of my tree stand. I slowly worked my way around in my stand to prepare for a shot. The buck seemed fairly unaware of my position as I readied my bow. As he walked closer, I raised my Mathews Drenalin. When I came to full draw, he stopped. I settled my pin on his vitals and released my arrow at the broadside buck.
My shot looked perfect! He ran away and after only 40 yards he stopped, got wobbly and fell over. It was one of the most humane harvests ever! I was so excited I wanted to jump right out of the stand! After a few minutes I calmed down enough to unhook my harness and climb down to see my buck.
He was a beautiful deer. We had him measured later, and his nearly perfect 10-point frame measured around 135 P&Y. My mom was so proud of me! We both harvested great deer on this hunt, and both of our deer fell within sight of our stands. It is awesome when a lot of practice pays off! I love to hunt with my family, and I encourage all of you young girls to do the same! (Note: To follow Brittany and Tammy Koenig's exciting hunting adventures, go online to www.leadingladiesoutdoors.com.)
KRISTOPHER HAVELKA, MISSOURI
On the afternoon of Oct. 27, 2007, opening day of the Missouri youth hunt, my dad and I headed to our stand. My name is Kristopher Havelka. I'm 15 years old and live in Owensville, Missouri. This was my last year to hunt the Missouri youth season. I was fortunate to take a doe and a nice 6-point buck during my previous youth season hunts. Dad and I have a tree stand set up where we'd seen good deer sign and where I killed a doe earlier in 2007 with my bow. However, we had not seen any bucks from this stand and we didn't put out our game camera.
Oct. 27 was a good evening to hunt. We had been sitting for a while when a 5-point buck came within shooting range. I decided I would let him go because I was hoping to see something bigger. About an hour before dark, we heard something coming toward us. It was a big buck, and we were sure it was bigger than any deer my dad had mounted and hanging on the walls at home.
Kristopher Havelka, 15, Missouri
This buck came walking in with no idea we were there. He got about 15 yards from us. I was shaking so bad that I was having trouble holding my gun still. Dad told me to take a deep breath and shoot when I was ready. Even though I was shaking, I was able to calm down long enough to put what I thought was a good shot on him with my open-sighted Marlin .30-30 lever-action. I was sure I hit him, but we watched him run off. We didn't want to push him, so we stayed in the stand for what seemed like forever. Finally we climbed out of the stand and headed for the house.
We thought we would need help tracking the buck because the woods are very thick, so we called my uncle and cousin and told them I'd shot a nice buck and asked if they would come over to help us track the deer. After about 30 minutes, my uncle showed up with two of his friends, and my cousin arrived later. We headed back into the woods to look for my buck.
The buck only ran about 60 yards from where I shot him, so it didn't take us long to find him. It wasn't until I walked up to him that I realized that I had killed a buck with a large body and an incredible set of horns. This was the biggest buck that any of us had ever seen. My dad was so proud and excited he told me he wouldn't make me field dress this one. All of us were so excited that we could hardly wait to get it to the house and examine the massive horns. This non-typical buck has 12 points on the main frame, 2 lobster-claw-shaped points on the back of the base, and 7 stickers around the front of the base, for a total of 21 points. He field dressed at 210 pounds.
We had it officially scored by a Boone and Crockett measurer. It gross-scored 214€‚2/8 inches and net-scored 207€‚2/8 inches, with an inside spread of 19€‚7/8 inches. The length of the right G-2 was 14€‚3/8 inches, and the length of the left G-2 was 14€‚2/8 inches.
My family was so excited for me to kill such an impressive deer. I doubt if I'll ever be lucky enough to see another deer like this one!
BRANDON HOVICK, ILLINOIS
It all began over a plate of chicken fingers and fries at Steak 'n Shake on Nov. 17, 2007. "So where do you think we should hunt?" my father asked me as
I dumped globs of ketchup onto my fries. "I don't care," I replied, "Wherever we'll see the most deer, I guess." My father looked at me, took a drink, and started to think.
"Well, we know there's a nice buck at the Ten Acres," he replied as he grabbed some of my fries and popped them into his mouth. "But there's also a great stand at the edge of the field at Big John's that could land us a deer."
So after much deliberation, we decided to hunt our "evening" stand that had never been hunted in the evening at Big John's property. We rushed out there as quickly as we could because it was getting dark fast and we didn't want to blow a chance at a deer. When we arrived it was about 3:30 p.m., so we had about an hour and a half of light. We quickly suited up and headed out to the stand. It was the perfect time for an evening hunt. The
sun had just started to descend towards the horizon, and the deer would be coming out to the cornfield to feed.
Brandon Hovick, 14, Illinois
It was then that I realized my blunder: I looked down at my feet and saw my tennis shoes. I had forgotten to put on my hunting boots! I cursed my stupidity, but it was way too late to go back to the truck so I just sat tight and hoped that this wouldn't affect the outcome of the hunt. After a bit, my father and I started to remark about the beauty of the woods around us.
As time began to slip by, I started to get a little distracted. Suddenly my father suddenly squeezed my leg. As I turned to look at him, he squeezed me again and nodded in the direction behind me. Walking along the edge of the woods was a monster buck! As I stared open-mouthed at it in awe, my father asked me in a whisper how many points it had. I looked over and then whispered to him in response: "Eight, no 10 -- oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!"
Although I couldn't exactly count the number of points it had, I could see that this deer was a monster. It was pretty obvious that this deer must have been the granddaddy of all the other bucks out here! My father handed me the gun -- an H&R 12-gauge single shot loaded with a Lightfield sabot slug -- and told me to take the shot. I pushed the gun away saying, "I'll miss. You take the shot." He reasoned quickly that he was on the wrong side of the stand and I was closest, so I had to take the shot.
My heart must have been beating a million beats a minute as I raised the gun and steadied it on the rail that surrounded the stand. As I zeroed in on the buck, he must have decided that he didn't like the woods because he started walking away from us out into the field. (My dad told me later that the buck was downwind from us and busted us with his nose.)
My heart skipped a beat. I didn't have a shot! As I stared blankly at the deer that was going to get away, Dad had an idea. He stood up in the stand and grunted. The deer didn't stop, so Dad tried again. On the third try, my dad basically yelled at the deer! The buck finally turned and looked. Seizing the opportunity, I aimed right above the deer's left shoulder and fired.
Bam! My shot rang out, and when I looked up, my deer was running toward the forest on the other side of the field. Had I aimed too high? It was a pretty long shot, at least 65 yards, but would the bullet drop that much? After all, the scope was sighted in for a 40-yard shot.
"I missed!" I groaned as tears started to form in my eyes. I turned to face my dad and was about to cry when he suddenly jerked and said, "No, Brandon, you got him! He's down!"
My emotions suddenly turned took a 180-degree turn. "I hit him!" I yelled as tears started rolling down my cheeks. I hugged my dad just like you'd see in one of those silly Kodak moments commercial and then we climbed down to see my deer. The buck turned out to be a true 6x6 12-pointer with a drop tine on the right side. He later scored 193€‚2/8 non-typical B&C points.
People keep telling me that I'll probably never get another deer like that in my lifetime. They're probably right, but I'm just glad I got to shoot it with my dad right beside me in possibly the best father-son moment that I will ever have!
BEN KOZAC, WISCONSIN
My name is Ben Kozac and I'm 17 years old. My family owns 105 acres in Shawano County, Wisconsin, where my father and I like to hunt. We enjoy hunting with both bows and guns. Last Nov. 17, opening day of the Wisconsin gun season, Dad and I were out hunting on the property.
Earlier that Saturday morning, I had passed up several small bucks and does. Later on, I was looking down my shooting lane watching two does walking through a swamp when I noticed that they stopped and turned to look at something deeper back in the swamp. Suddenly I saw another doe running across my shooting lane.
Thinking there might be a buck behind her, I grabbed my gun and got ready. Sure enough, a big buck stepped out into the lane and stopped. The limbs of a tree covered his shoulder, however, and I couldn't get a clear shot. I kept my gun up, hoping for a shot, but he finally disappeared. I waited nearly 20 more minutes and started regretting not taking the shot.
All at once, the doe stepped back out in the shooting lane and stopped. Seconds later, the buck stepped into view just several feet behind her. I was hunting with a Remington 1187 special purpose "Deerslayer" shotgun topped with a Leupold scope. I clicked off the safety on my gun and waited for her to clear the way.
A few seconds later, she moved forward and I fired. The buck went down instantly. I didn't know how truly big he was until I walked up on him. He has 13 points (6x6 with one abnormal) and an inside spread of 18 inches. We had him green-scored a few days later. He grossed 170€‚2/8 and netted 163 inches typical!
MICHAEL EVANS, OKLAHOMA
My name is Michael Evans. I'm 14 and I live in Elmore City, Oklahoma. Last season, my dad and I went hunting on Sunday morning, Oct. 28, 2007, during the muzzleloader season. I really wanted to kill a big buck because my 11-year-old brother had already killed three deer during the 2007 season. One of them was a really nice buck.
We were hunting separate tree stands, and my dad had told me that we had to get down out of our stands by 8:40 a.m. so that we could make it to church. About 8:35, only minutes before it would be time to leave, this big buck suddenly walked out on my left side. I was waiting for a good shot when he turned and went back into the trees. A few minutes later he came back out in the open and walked right in front of me. I yelled "Hey" to make him stop, and when he stopped I took my shot.
When Dad got there we went to look for him, but he had run so far that we almost gave up. But finally we found him! My trophy buck had a 26€‚1/2-inch outside spread and his antlers measured 19€‚1/2 inches inside. He weighed 180 pounds field dressed. He was a lot bigger than my brother's buck!
HUNTER NORRIS, MISSOURI
My name is Hunter Norris and I am 10 years old. I have been deer hunting for four years, and so far I've taken three deer. On Oct. 25, 2007, my dad and I headed out from our home in North Carolina to participate in the two-day Missouri youth whitetail hunt.
We arrived at the Kansas City airport looking forward to spending quality time together and also hoping to get a shot at a nice Missouri buck. We spent the Friday before opening day visiting Cabela's, buying our licenses and getting the supplies we would need for our hunt. Opening morning, Oct. 27, 2007, found my dad and me sitting in a friend's box stand in Caldwell County waiting for sunrise.
The action started quickly when we spotted a small 6-pointer chasing two does to our left in the CRP field we were watching. A few minutes later we saw a large buck crossing the field at a distance of 300 yards. Dad told me to get the crosshairs of the Remington Model 700 .25-06 on the deer and to get ready to take the shot. The buck stopped. Dad told me to hold high on his shoulder and for me to shoot when I was ready.
The first shot found its mark behind the deer's front shoulder, and he turned and ran toward us. The buck stopped about 250 yards from us and gave me another broadside shot. That shot also went right behind his shoulder, and the buck ran about 30 more yards and fell. We watched him to make sure he was down for good, and he was. My dad and I high-fived and hugged each other. After allowing our nerves to settle, we called my mom and the landowner to tell them the news. Then we climbed down from the stand to go and take a look at my first Missouri buck.
I ran ahead of my dad so that I could be the first one to see how big he really was. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the size of the horns. My buck had 10 points and an 18-inch spread. My dad took lots of pictures, and we made more phone calls to let our family and friends know about the buck I had just taken. After the required drying time, he officially scored 140€‚5/8. This was truly an exciting hunt, and I'm thankful my dad took me to Missouri. I can't wait to go back next year and try for an even bigger buck!
TAYLOR DRURY, MISSOURI
On Nov. 4, 2007, 12-year-old Taylor Drury arrowed this outstanding buck while hunting from a tree stand in northern Missouri with her well-known dad, Mark Drury. Since Mark was videotaping the hunt for Drury Outdoors television, Taylor may be the youngest female hunter to have ever taken a buck by bow on video.
Even more amazing, this petite young lady weighs in at only 67 pounds, and she was shooting a 30-pound Browning Micro-Adrenaline bow (nearly half her body weight!). Taylor started out shooting a 20-pound bow and worked hard before the season to get up to 30 pounds.
She made a perfect 10-yard shot on the 3€‚1/2-year-old buck, and the arrow made a complete pass-through. (Taylor's buck had experienced a previous leg injury, causing its rack to be slightly deformed on the left side.) Is this young bowhunter a chip off the old block or what?
ADAM HASENJAEGER, MISSOURI
My name is Adam Hasenjaeger and I live in Marthasville, Missouri. I'm 15 now, and I've been hunting everything I could since I was 10. Last season I bowhunted every day after school on my grandmother's 100 acres, and I only saw one decent buck. When the Missouri rifle season started, I decided to put down my bow for a while and hunt with a rifle.
On Nov. 11, 2007, the second day of rifle season, I had been hunting out of my bow stand on one side of a small food plot. I had been rattling, grunting and bleating since daylight when I decided to move to a rifle stand across the food plot. (The bow stand was very uncomfortable.) At about 8 a.m., as I was going over to the new stand, I set out a Knight & Hale doe estrous scent bomb in the corner of the food plot about 50 yards away.
After sitting in the new stand awhile, I heard a lot of noise coming from the cedars on one side of the food plot. Soon a doe walked out of the cedars 10 yards past my doe estrous bomb. I was eyeing her through the scope, and I kept looking behind her when suddenly this big guy stepped out! I couldn't believe it. He did the lip curl right in front of me. I waited for him to walk into one of the clear spots.
As soon as he did, I tried to bleat with my mouth, but I was speechless. He was in between the two clear spots, and as soon as he walked out I kind of yelled out a bleat and he stopped. I put the cross hairs of my Savage .243 on his heart and pulled the trigger. He did the mule kick, ran up the ridge, stopped, swayed and crashed. He only ran about 60 yards. After that I was overcome with the shakes.
Everything had happened in less than 30 seconds. I thought he might be a nice 10-pointer with a few big kickers, but boy was I wrong. He ended up having a 6x5 main frame with 7 abnormal points. He grossed 196€‚3/6 and officially netted 186 non-typical B&C points. I just couldn't even imagine shooting a deer like that. I stood in awe for probably 10 minutes -- thanking God for the greatest day of my life and the greatest deer I will probably ever shoot!
RYAN RICHARDSON, TENNESSEE
On Oct. 27, 2007, 12-year-old Ryan Richardson was hunting with his dad, Rex, during the "juvenile weekend" on family property in Lewisburg, Tennessee. On three different occasions they had seen a big 11-pointer running with several other bucks, and they hoped to see him again on this special day.
Shortly after daylight at about 6:50 a.m., this giant 11-pointer appeared. Before Rex could even get the deer in his binoculars, Ryan aimed and fired with his Thompson/Center .25-06 Encore. The buck ran about 10 yards and dropped. Ryan had made a perfect 60-yard shot!
"We had Ryan's deer officially scored at Bass Pro Shop, and he scored 160," Rex said. "This is the deer of a lifetime in our area!"
MATT SEIBOLD, OHIO
My name is Matt Seibold. I'm 11 years old and I live in South Vienna, Ohio. Nov. 17, 2007, was the first day of our youth hunting season in Ohio (shotgun or muzzleloader only). My dad woke me up at 5:30 a.m. so we could get to the woods and get in our stand by before daylight. About 20 minutes after daylight, a 10-point buck came right in on us. He was about 10 yards away, but I spooked him as I tried to get my muzzleloader in position to shoot.
The next buck we saw went running right behind us chasing after a doe. Then, at about 8:05, another doe appeared about 60 yards away. My dad told me to get my gun ready because he thought a buck might be following her. Dad was right! Sure enough, here he came!
It was the biggest buck I had ever seen. I asked my dad if I could shoot. He told me to wait for the deer to get closer. Finally, at about 50 yards, the buck turned broadside. My dad said shoot. BOOM! The doe took off running right by us. My dad asked me if I'd been aiming carefully, because the buck did not move. Then the buck tried to follow the doe. He went about 10 yards and fell down. That's when we realized I had made a perfect shot with my CVA .50-caliber Wolf muzzleloader.
My dad reloaded the muzzleloader. He told me to shoot again if the deer moved. We got down out of the stand and I called my mom to tell her I had killed a monster buck. The rack was higher than the bed of our truck. It took us 2€‚1/2 hours to drive the five miles to our house because everybody wanted to see my deer. They all asked: "Where did you kill this buck?"
All I would say was "in the woods!" My buck field dressed at 190 pounds and scored 171 3/8-net as a typical 10-pointer!
MCKENZIE YOUNG, IOWA
The 2007 Iowa youth season was fast approaching, and my 6-year-old daughter McKenzie wa
s looking forward to her second chance to score on a trophy whitetail. My wife and I own and operate True Trophy Outfitters in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. McKenzie has grown up with hunting and she is no stranger to big whitetails. In 2006 we hunted hard for the entire youth season, but things never came together for her. We hoped 2007 would be different.
McKenzie practiced all summer long with a CVA Optima Muzzleloader and she got very confident with it. I set it up to shoot 50 grains of powder with a 245-grain PowerBelt bullet. This load is a great combination for a young hunter. It's accurate and it doesn't pack that much of a kick.
On Sept. 15 we decided to hunt an alfalfa field late in the afternoon. The wind was out of the south and would be perfect for the hunt. We found a spot between two hay bales and enclosed the area with several sheets of burlap to make a little blind. We saw several deer, including several small bucks. A yearling walked up and fed to within five yards of us, but McKenzie passed on him.
As the young deer fed behind us, a big storm front pushed in on us. It started to thunder and lighting. This was not good, but we decided it would be safer to stay put in the hay bales rather than walk across the field with so much lightning around us. After a few brief showers, it looked like the front was going to pass. So we decided to stick it out and see what would happen.
After another close encounter with a nice buck that spooked and ran off, I was convinced that our chances were over for the afternoon's hunt. McKenzie was, too. She looked at me and said, "Dad, I'm not going to shoot a deer tonight, am I?" Even though I had my doubts, I looked into her eyes and said, "Hang in there -- it could still happen!"
A few minutes later, I cautiously stood up to survey the field and see if there was any activity going on. I saw a doe at about 150 yards, and then, as I looked around, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly I saw a giant buck walking out of the bedding area in the woods right at us. He was only 20 yards away!
He paused for a minute and looked back over his shoulder. When he did, I slowly dropped to my knees and got McKenzie ready. As we were getting ready, he started to walk right at our blind, closing the distance to just five yards! He paused for a moment to feed on the alfalfa, and this gave McKenzie her chance. I told her to shoot. She said, "I can't see him."
I kept saying, "Shoot." She could not see him, though, because he was so close. All she could see in the scope was brown, and she could not find the shoulder to aim at. As she tried to get the shot off, he started to walk. He walked around to the other side of the hay bale where we were sitting. As he was walking, we slowly turned around in the blind and got ready again.
When he walked into sight, I told McKenzie to shoot. Again she could not shoot because he was so close. He continued walking and disappeared behind a couple of hay bales. I knew we had to do something, and quick. So we quietly climbed out of the back of the blind and moved over two hay bales. When we looked in between those bales, there he was, 15 yards away. He was feeding broadside in the alfalfa. McKenzie set up and looked through the scope. I said, "Can you see him?" She said, "Yeah!" Then she pulled the trigger.
When the smoke cleared, we could see the buck running down the center of the field. Just then, he slowed and went down. It was over and McKenzie had her first deer! When I turned and looked at her, the expression on her face was priceless.
The walk across the field seemed to take forever. The deer had come to rest in 3-foot-high grass, so we could not see him from where we were. I let McKenzie walk ahead of me so she could be the first to find him. As we were walking through the grass, she paused for a minute and then said, "Ahhh, Dad, there he is!"
He was lying right at the tip of her toes. If she had taken one more step, she would have stepped on him. When she picked up his beautiful rack, it was the proudest moment in my life. This was a big, heavy-bodied mature whitetail that we all dream of. Our hunt together will be a hunt that neither of us will ever forget! (Note: For more information about hunting with Tim, Maria and McKenzie Young at True Trophy Outfitters, call 641-446-7119 or visit www.truetrophyoutfitters.com.)
CAMERON HUGHES, MISSOURI
It was Nov. 17, 2007, and the end of the Missouri firearms season was fast approaching. Nine-year-old Cameron Hughes was hunting with his dad, Jim, in Crawford County, Missouri. Shortly after 7 a.m., Jim noticed that Cameron was shaking from the cold. So being a good dad, Jim unloaded Cameron's Remington Model 700 Youth .243, climbed down from their stand and retrieved a camo sleeping bag that he had left at the base of the tree. He got Cameron wrapped up and repositioned, and the father-and-son team settled in and planned to sit for the next two to three hours.
Within minutes, Cameron whispered, "Dad, here comes a deer!"
Sure enough, a young doe was headed right toward the two hunters and would pass by at about 20 yards. Suddenly Cameron blurted out, "It's got antlers!"
Jim thought Cameron was suffering from the cold and seeing things, but Cameron insisted the deer had antlers. Without getting too excited, Jim figured that Cameron might be looking at a small buck. He told his son to shoot when he had a clean shot. After a sickening "click," Jim realized that he'd forgotten to reload the gun after getting the sleeping bag. He quickly chambered a shell and asked Cameron if he could still see the deer.
"Yes," Cameron answered. "It's still standing there." Although Jim had a large oak tree blocking his view, he told Cameron to shoot when he was ready.
"He's down right there!" Cameron exclaimed excitedly. Jim still could not see the buck. By this time, the doe they'd been watching was no more than 10 yards away. Jim had killed a 20-inch-wide 10-pointer on opening weekend, but he still had a doe tag.
"Shoot the doe!" Cameron said. So Jim aimed and fired. The doe ran about 75 yards and fell.
Cameron was too excited to stay in the stand for more than a minute, and father and son were soon down on the ground. As Jim was gathering the pair's guns at the base of the tree, he looked down the hill and saw his beaming 9-year-old son holding up the buck of a lifetime. That .243 had dropped the buck right where he stood.
Jim spent the next few minutes wiping happy tears from his eyes and hugging his son. After a bit, Cameron said, "Dad, if you hug me again I'm going to smack you. It's just a deer!"
Cameron's awesome main-frame 10-pointer, truly the buck of a lifetime for the young hunter, grossed 156 inches.
ADAM BOUCH, OHIO
Adam's dad, Joe, spotted this monster buck while hunting in Mahoning County, Oh
io, on Nov. 29, 2007. He hung a stand the next day for Adam, 14, to use. On Dec. 27, after nearly a month, conditions were perfect for Adam to hunt the stand during late muzzleloader season. Adam climbed into the stand as Joe did a slow drive through a nearby bedding area. The cagey buck tried to sneak by Adam's position, but Adam dropped the bruiser at 35 yards with his .50-caliber muzzleloader.
"My dad had already filled his tag," Adam said. "When he spotted this buck, he said it was the biggest buck he'd ever seen in 30 years of hunting. We decided I'd better hold onto my buck tag. After Dad put the stand up, the wind was never right for me to hunt it. But finally on the first day of muzzleloader season (Dec. 27), the forecast called for a southwest wind. My dad doe hunted the opposite side of the 80-acre woods that morning while I was at basketball practice. As he was leaving the woods, the big buck jumped up in front of him and ran toward my stand. Dad knew there was a dense bedding area near my stand, and he assumed the deer would stop there.
"Dad picked me up at basketball practice, and I went home and took a shower and gathered my gear. We approached my stand from a downwind direction. Once I settled in, Dad circled the dense bedding cover and allowed his scent to blow back toward the area where he expected the deer to be hiding. Dad slowly moved back and forth through the area, hoping the buck would sneak toward me. And he did! My buck had 14 points, and he grossed 180 non-typical and 173 7/8 typical. I'd like to thank my dad for his help. My hunt would not have been possible without him!"
(Editor's Note: After reading these 13 stories, you might think we're partial to Missouri, since five of the 13 bucks discussed were taken in the Show Me State. It just happened that way, although Missouri certainly is home to many superb young hunters, and awesome parents!)