Carol Jividen says her 11-year-old son, Clark, has always had a love for the outdoors.
"He is not a TV kid," she says. "As long as it's light outside, the kid is outdoors. He'd say, 'I'm going to go out and get a salamander, mom,' and he'd come home with one."
Carol recalls one time when her son, then 5, went a little crazy immersing himself in the great outdoors.
"He went out and got several bees and made a sign that said '$1 a bee,' " she says. "I said, 'Honey, you can't sell a bee!' He sold $2 worth of bees to somebody. I sold cookies and I said, 'I'm in the wrong business.' "
Clark, a Woodville resident and a fifth-grader at Solomon Lutheran School, got his hunting license at age 9, saved his own money - mostly from trapping muskrats - and purchased a gun.
On Nov. 23, Clark went deer hunting for the first time and used a 20-gauge shotgun to bag an eight-point buck. Some of the antlers were broken off, but Clark, who recently joined the Boy Scouts, didn't care. He and a friend of the family, Bob Brockshmidt of Gibsonburg, went hunting at a friend's property in Ottawa County.
"It was youth weekend (for ages 18 and under, according to Ohio hunting regulations), so Clark called Bob and begged him to take him," Carol says. "Bob's never gone deer hunting. He doesn't know anything about the deer. I went out and got the permit on Sunday and got the plug shells. He went out around 3 p.m. on Sunday and patiently waited for a good couple hours under a tree with camouflage on top of him."
One year ago, Carol and her husband, Jim, hit a deer with their car. The deer ended up on the hood and slid off, according to Carol.
"We were all shook up," Carol says, "but everybody was OK."
You could say Clark got a little bit of revenge last month.
He says he picked out what he thought would be a good spot to hunt deer, sat down with a blanket over him and waited.
"I waited a little while and I saw one buck and one doe, but they were too far away," Clark says. "When I was sitting down a little later I heard something in the leaves and I didn't know exactly what it was. I tried to turn around real slow and there were maybe 15 deer walking by, at maybe 30 yards.
"I had a shot at one, but then I looked next to that one and saw a bigger one. I didn't really have a good shot at it. I was turning around and the deer bounced its foot and they all took off running out of the woods."
It was now around 4:45 p.m., but Clark was more determined than ever to get his first deer.
After the initial encounter with the deer, Clark says he became a little angry. He thought he had lost his opportunity.
"I walked to the end of the woods and there was a cornfield there," he says. "Maybe about 50 yards out, there was a deer and I shot at it. I didn't know if I hit it or not. Then all the deer started taking off. I saw one deer still out in the field, the one from earlier. I think I wounded it. I shot one more time and it jumped into the woods, and I went out there to go after it.
"I was walking around the woods and I didn't see anything. I came right up to it and I saw it laying on the ground. I hit it in a perfect spot, right above the front leg. He was barely breathing. I was really excited and I was amazed that I shot a deer. I went running back to tell Bob and he didn't really believe me. I said it to him a few times and then he believed me. He had to get in the truck because it was way back there.
"Another guy helped us out and we put the deer in the other guy's truck. It was dark and we didn't have time to field dress at that time, so we put it in Bob's car and brought it back home."
Clark says he wasn't nervous using the shotgun.
"I was used to using shotguns," he says. "I've shot BB guns and things since I was young. I was thankful that I got a good shot and I hit the deer. I didn't know if I did. It was a big deer, probably a couple hundred pounds."
Herm Reineck and his brother, Herb, helped Clark field dress the deer, and they hung it over a fence.
"The next morning," Clark says, "we got it checked into a checking station and took it to Hasselbach's Meat Market to have it made into venison."
The Jividens will get their venison from Hasselbach's on Dec. 13.
Clark says he's not done yet. He plans to go hunting again in a couple weeks, and this time he aims to bag a doe.