published Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Shooting for a trophy

Gun season for deer hunters in Tennessee starts Saturday, and Dunlap's Josh Kidwell has some catching up to do.

He doesn't necessarily feel that way. A father's pride supersedes a hunter's envy, and his 9-year-old daughter, Anna, felled a 10-point buck on her second day out in a youth hunt on Oct. 30.

The 30-year-old Kidwell killed his first deer 12 years ago and averages "probably eight or nine a year," counting bonus hunts at wildlife management areas such as Prentice Cooper and Land Between the Lakes, and a 9-pointer is his biggest.

He's looking forward to getting out with his rifle this weekend.

"I've been to Kentucky and Ohio and all over the Chattanooga area," Kidwell said Wednesday. "I've been to Northwest Tennessee a lot. I've got one friend I go with sometimes, but usually I just hunt on my own."

He and his wife, Tammy, have a 7-year-old daughter, Audrey, who also wanted to go on the first day of the youth hunt.

"I've told them I'd take them when they turn 9," Josh said.

But he had no idea Anna would get a big buck the first weekend she tried deer hunting. Not far from home, he watched her shoot the 10-pointer that field-dressed at 145 pounds at about 5:50 p.m. Central time. The Griffith Elementary School fourth-grader used a 7mm.08 Remington.

"I practiced with my BB gun when I was younger," she said. "I used to go out in the back yard with my father and shoot cans."

The deer she shot was the first one she saw in her two days hunting, and she admitted to being a little nervous as she took aim and fired.

"It was pretty exciting," she said, admitting that she expected to do more hunting as she gets older.

"I hope she keeps killing them bigger than me," Josh said. "I know I enjoyed it a lot, seeing her get that deer. Now I'd just as soon take her as go myself."

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