Four-year-old kills two doe

Published 10:30 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

James Futrell, 4, killed this doe on Dec. 24. SUBMITTED

COURTLAND—James Futrell took his first and second deer this season — two doe, each from 20 steps or less away.

James is 4 years old.

“I was very excited for him,” said his father, Brian Futrell of Courtland. “He’s going to be a really good hunter.”

“It was a proud day for us,” added James’ mother, Mandy Futrell.

A member of Newsoms Hunt Club, Brian Futrell has been told his son is the youngest ever from the club to take a deer.

Unlike some states, Virginia has no mandatory minimum age for hunting. Youth 12 and under must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter.

James, who turned 4 on July 11 and is in pre-kindergarten at Meherrin Elementary School, got his start in the woods at age 2.

“I had the gun in one hand and him in the other,” said Brian Futrell. “He carried a toy gun with him — a little over-and-under double barrel plastic one from Walmart. He likes to go with me. He likes the outdoors.”

Before the hunting season opened, Brian Futrell was letting his 10-year-old stepson, Christopher Clapp shoot a .410 shotgun that Futrell’s dad got him when he was 8.

“He (James) wanted to try and I told it him ‘it will kick you pretty good.’”

Standing behind James, Brian Futrell watched James shoot at some targets.

“He said, ‘that thing kicks, but that was fun.’”

Brian Futrell promised to take James hunting this fall.

In November, father and son were sitting in a cutover and a deer came within 20 steps of them.

“We were sitting on a log in the woods,” Brian Futrell said. “I told him where to shoot. He hit it in the side, and she went down about 100 yards (away) and laid down. He (James) was jumping up and down.”

The pair went out again on Dec. 24.

“We were in the swamp, and the deer was coming down the hill. The dogs were running it,” Brian Futrell said. “The deer got about 20 yards from us, he had his gun up and she stopped about 10 steps from us, turned around and was listening to the dogs. He shot her right in the side.”

He sees a bright future for James’ hunting.

“He loves the outdoors and he will learn to take care of the outdoors,” Brian Futrell said.

James’ other siblings are Alexis Clapp, 8; and Mason Futrell, 1. James is the grandson of Tommy and Jane Futrell of Courtland.