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Father and Sons share bond of hunting

Father and son Pat and Patrick Smith have been through a lot.

When Patrick was 11-years-old, he was having muscle weakness.

In 1997, the Smiths sent a nerve and muscle biopsy of Patrick’s leg off to a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was the only hospital diagnosing mitochondrial disease. When the tests came back, Patrick was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, which is a form of muscular dystrophy, which according to Cleveland Clinic, are long-term genetic and often inherited disorders that occur when mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for the body to function.

Pat said Patrick hasn’t let anything stop him and the pair continue to hunt together.

The Smiths have been hunting together since Patrick was 6-years-old. The last time the duo went hunting together, it was when Patrick was 13-years-old.

They were in their deer stand hunting on their 50-acre property in Natchez. Pat sat in one of the camouflage seats while Patrick was in his black wheelchair. Then, an 8-point deer walked across their sight-line and Pat shot it with his 28-caliber riffle.

On another hunt Pat and Patrick were walking through the woods hunting for squirrels.

“I was singing ‘Where are you tonight’ by ‘Hee Haw,’ an American TV variety show,” Pat Smith said. “We walked up on three 8-point bucks laying on the ground. We didn’t shoot them. I have never seen three of those deer together.”

On Sept. 3, the duo went dove hunting together with other people on a property in Roxie. The duo only shot at male mourning doves and male white-winged doves. Pat was able to shoot two doves on that day. He said the last time he and Patrick went dove hunting, they didn’t shoot one.

“It’s just a sport in trying to hit the dove when it flies by,” Pat said. “It’s hard to hit them. You have to be a good shot and have got it right.”

During the Sept. 3 hunt, Pat killed two doves. Pat said he was happy about his shooting on the hunt.

Another father-and-son duo who hunt together are Jacob Martin and James Martin. The Martins primarily hunt deer and ducks.

Jacob said he hunts ducks in Acme, Louisiana. The types of ducks he hunts are mallards, green-winged teal and wood ducks.

Jacob said hunting with anybody is fun.

“But hunting with your dad has a different aspect to it,” Jacob said. “You enjoy it more and brings out more fun in it.”

Jacob has been hunting with his father since he was 6 years old.

When he was 7 Jacob killed his first deer with his father by his side. After the elder Martin removed the organs from the deer, he began to smear the blood from the deer on Jacob’s face and forehead. In deer hunting, it’s a tradition to smear the blood on the child of their first killed deer. Jacob said it’s basically for good luck.

The elder Martin owns land between Frogmore and Clayton in Louisiana. The duo also work together as millwrights, planning and building mills or setting up machinery.

“I like to be around him and learn from him,” said Jacob, who is now 25. “It’s a privilege to hunt with him. It’s something that brings some people together and drives some apart. But it hasn’t driven me and my dad apart. I love hunting with him.”