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The Dart: Hitting the bullseye

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Austin Weeks pulls back his Mathews Monster bow as he sights it Thursday afternoon in the yard of his father’s house on Magnolia Avenue. Weeks had just purchased the bow earlier that day, and had plans to take it hunting over the weekend.

NATCHEZ — Children in neighborhoods across the Miss-Lou were outside playing in the cool fall weather Thursday afternoon. But on Magnolia Avenue, where The Dart landed, one big kid was playing with his new toy in his father’s front yard.

Austin Weeks, 23, had just purchased a new Mathews Monster bow and was sighting it in for a weekend of hunting.

“I am just trying to get used to (the new bow),” Weeks said after putting five arrows into a target that was set up against the hedges lining the front of his father’s house. “I just picked it up (Thursday).”

LAUREN WOOD | The Natchez Democrat — Austin Weeks adjusts the string of his new bow as he takes a few practice shots to sight it in his father’s yard. Weeks, 23, started bow hunting when he was around 10 years old.

Weeks started bow hunting with his father, Danny, when he was approximately 10 years old, and he said he still likes to practice his shooting at least twice a week.

Austin works in South Texas, but his schedule — two weeks on and two weeks off — allows him to come home to his new house in Franklin County and hunt with his father from time to time.

As cars passed by the house, some would shoot Austin glances as he pulled back to take another shot, and one man jokingly asked him to shoot one through his back windows at the target.

For long shots, Austin would cross the street and take aim from the neighbor’s yard with a couple of curious children watching from their driveway.

“Some people drive by and look at me weird,” he said.

Austin credits his father with the majority of his bow-hunting knowledge.

“My dad used to put me in his jacket, and zip it up, and that’s how I started out,” he said.

His first kill with a bow came at the age of 11, and he already has two kills this season, he said.

Austin prefers bow hunting to hunting with a gun, he said.

“It’s more of a challenge,” he said.

Danny will occasionally join Austin for target practice when he comes by the house, but Austin said his father has not been able to shoot and hunt as much lately.

“I am trying to get him back in it more,” he said.