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Meaningful Hunter Relationships

Discussion in 'Sell - Buy - Trade Hunting and Fishing Goods' started by reowen51, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Building Those Meaningful
    Hunter Relationships

    He walked in the door holding the whitetail deer mount with both hands and the smile on his face took me back to the fall of 1990 when he tagged that seven pointer. At the time he was fourteen years old and the shot had been a perfect bowshot a “double lunger” that also took out the aorta. The shot had been taken from his tree stand and measured just less than twenty yards. His style mimicked mine as he also shot without the use of sites. He used only his fingers and no release. As his Father I was as proud of him then as I was now sixteen years later.

    My son Todd had just completed his first project as a taxidermist and he was again holding that buck that he had arrowed years ago. Having just completed the Taxidermy work on that buck his smile had returned. This smile was that proud smile of his, the one that said see what I did?

    It looked great. It was obvious to me that the artist within him had done very well. This was his first attempt at mounting a whitetail buck. The decision of which of his bucks to mount had not been easy. Todd is an accomplished deer hunter and had numerous bucks he could have selected. Some were arrowed and some were shot with a gun. His decision to mount this buck had involved me. Looking at this buck again with eyes, a nose and fur after hanging my hat on only the rack for so many years seemed strange. This little buck had been reincarnated!

    After processing the buck back in 1990 we had done what we often did and simply cut skull and removed the antlers to hang on the wall as proof that a buck deer had been harvested. We had worked together on this set and mounted them to a plaque we had designed and cut out of a piece of oak with a jigsaw. Later, we stained the wood dark. Then we covered the skull with fabric and hot glued to it the skull. It was given it’s own spot on the wall and had hung there until just a month ago when Todd had announced, “I need to pick one of these racks to use in my taxidermy class. The instructor will provide a cape and if we want to add antlers it is up to us to provide them.”

    When he inquired of me, “Do you care if I use the seven pointer you usually hang your hat on in the hall?” I said, “ That one has always been special to me and I have often wished we would have had it mounted at the time, I can find somewhere else to hang my old hat. Have fun and do a good job with it!”

    A couple of nights a week Todd went up the road to his taxidermy instructors shop and worked hard on the presentation he now held up for my approval. It was beautiful. A real work of art carried out by an avid outdoorsman with knowledge of the whitetail and his look. This buck from any angle looked the way a real deer looks. His eyes and ears were lifelike. I smiled that proud smile fathers get to smile from time to time when their children do something well. I can’t say he remembered it but it was the same smile I had flashed him on the evening he arrowed this buck.

    I have three sons and am very proud of each of them. As hunters all three of them harvested bucks before they turned 14 and all of them did so with a bow and arrow. I know a lot of hunters and have never known any of them to be able to express the same. I announce this not to brag but rather to allow you to get a glimpse of what hunting has meant to my sons and me down through the years. Hunting in our family is a tradition passed down from my Grandfather through my Dad to me and through me to my sons and now Grandsons. We are not always together on Christmas or even Easter but I will guarantee you that we all gather in the same place sometime during Michigan’s deer season. My Grandfather has passed but somehow I think he also is with us.

    So, why was it this seven point buck? Why him and not one of the larger ones Todd had harvested in the years since? Why 16 years after he was harvested does he get reincarnated? Two reasons, tradition and there’s a great story that goes along with it.

    The day of this hunt was like many we had had before. I returned home from work and Todd was already dressed for the hunt and as I changed my clothes we discussed where we would hunt that night. On the drive down to the spot we decided on we discussed who would hunt in which stand. We had two stands on the property we had decided to hunt. One was near a heavily used runway that came out of the woods and paralleled a fence line that divided the woods. It was set in a large oak tree normally heavy with acorns. This year that was not the case. The other stand was set in the corner of a hay field where two fences came together in a tee.

    When we parked the car it was necessary for both of us to cut diagonally across the hay field. Todd chose to take that stand. After making sure he was in his stand I moved past him and down the fence line, over his left shoulder. My stand in the giant oak was yet another 100 yards away. I paused often over the 100 yards, taking about 20 minutes to arrive atop of my platform.

    A light drizzle began to fall. I always hate when that happens because I hadn’t dressed for it and if the leaves got wet I wouldn’t have a chance to hear deer coming out of the woods before I saw them. The brighter clouds of the western horizon told me that darkness was not far removed. I thought I could see Todd silhouetted against them in his tree but there were still enough leaves up to confuse me as to his form. I knew in ten minutes it would be dark.

    Suddenly there was a buck at the base of my tree. He had come from the woods behind me and was walking quickly down the game trail that paralleled the fence line that lead to Todd’s corner of the hay field. I grabbed my bow from the hanger, drew and took aim at a spot just to the right of the backbone and released the arrow. The arrow struck him hard and as the shaft buried itself to the nock. He bolted to the left and had my string tracker just humming as he disappeared fifty yards out into the brush that lined this edge of the woods. I use a string tracker because I am colorblind. Seconds later the string stopped I thought, “Down for the count,” only to have it start up again and stop a second time.

    After ten minutes of waiting with no more string movement and darkness totally surrounding me now, I removed my string tracker from my bow and tossed it to the ground. I do this just incase the animal moves again after I take up the trail. A jumped animal will continue to take string. If I had cut it and they run again well the now I’m back to colorblind blood trailing and it’s difficult to do.

    When I hit the ground I decided to go get Todd and have him help me trail the buck. As I moved along the game trail flanking the fence line between Todd and I, I was mindful of the deer I had just shot and monitored the brushy area to my left with my flashlight and ears. I arrived at the base of Todd’s tree to find a very excited young man. I asked Him, “Do you want to help me track a buck?” He said, “Did you see me shoot? “No, did you shoot too?” I asked him. “Yeah,” he said, “just a few minutes ago I shot a buck out here in the field. He ran over there,” and he pointed. He’s down I heard him hit the fence!”

    Several minutes of confusion followed as we tried to sort it all out before we finally decided which buck we would go after first. I enacted the parental decision rule after determining that he shot later than I did. We went back to the head of my blood trail and picked up my game tracker spool. I began collecting the string and Todd commented that it was a good thing I had a string tracker because he wasn’t seeing any blood. I explained to Todd that I didn’t think there would be a blood trail because he was shot in the back, the arrow was still in him and I didn’t think I got enough penetration to poke through the brisket. The string is all we have!

    Fifty yards out the string turned hard to the right and was headed towards the hayfield. Fifty more yards and the buck crossed the fence and entered the hayfield. The string was broken and snagged on the top barbed wire strand. Todd said, “Dad we shot the same deer!” “ No way!” I countered. This is right were I first saw the one I shot!” “No way” I repeated. I’m telling you he’s going to be right over there where I told you mine hit the fence.” He insisted.

    “Do you see any blood here in the field?” I asked him as I swept the flashlight beam in an arch across the hayfield. “Nope, come on over here.” He insisted, as he started towards the spot he had pointed out to me a few minutes ago. I fell in line and followed my son as we cut kitty-corner across the field. He stopped briefly, looked up at his stand and said, “This is where he was standing when I shot him.” I glanced back over my shoulder at where we had crossed the fence line and thought to myself, “No way!” Let me have the light Todd said and I willingly gave it to him as we walked side by side towards the place where he said his buck was down for the count.

    About Fifteen yards from the fence he directed the light towards the “spot” and there we saw the tell-tail white of a deer’s underbelly. Todd’s buck was down right where he said he would be. Only one more question remained to be answered.

    As we walked closer we could see the deer was lying on his left side and he had Todd’s arrow shaft sticking out of his right side. You could not have walked up to that deer and stuck that arrow into a better place for a clean and humane kill. “Who’s going to tag it?” he asked as he moved the flashlight beam up to the deer’s back. There buried to the fletching was my arrow. I couldn’t believe it. On that evening one buck provided a great thrill for a father and son, hunting companions still.

    Whenever and wherever hunters gather and tell stories I have rarely heard of two archers hitting the same buck with fatally placed arrows. My broadhead was lodged in the seven points heart. I have never heard of a father and son doing it. I will say that it is events like these that bring my family together every fall to continue the wonderful tradition. Stories like these are what keep you coming back to the fall woods with family and friends. Many people will never understand this activity we engage in. They will never know what they were missing. Building meaningful relationships with people we love, admire and respect is an aspect of this sport that often gets overlooked. The respect I learned for my son that evening will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    When he smiled at me with that mounted buck in his now powerful hands, sixteen years later, I have to tell you we just created another of those moments. Todd chose that seven pointer as his taxidermy project as much to honor himself and the buck as he did to honor me.

    By the way, he tagged it sixteen years ago but it hangs on my trophy room wall today. Can life get any better than this?

    Success is a Decision;
    Bob Owen
    Motivational Speaker/Author
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2007
  2. Back to the front page in case anyone missed it. I put about 7 hours into this post don't want to see it off the front page till it gets at least 100 looks!
    Success is a decision;
    Bob Owen

  3. I thought that I had commented on this, but I hadn't. Very good read, reowen!
  4. Excellent post.
    And very similar to my very first deer hunt with a bow 30 years ago.
  5. What are the odds! Very cool read.
  6. Why was this thread moved?
  7. I don't know - I didn't move it
  8. When I replied to it it was in this forum.
  9. Maybe it's becuase this is a sales pitch hence you are selling something.
  10. Probably right :)
  11. That's funny as I have posted no less than 4 such threads over the last few months and none of them were moved? I haven't had any sales calls either. I included my web page as part of my signature mostly to give readers insight to me as a person. I don't expect to sell books on motivating kids on a hunting site nor do I expect to pick up speaking engagements here either. It's funny how the world turns with everyone putting their own spin on things.
    So can someone tell me if we can put it back where it was without my web site appearing in the post? Who was the phantom mover?:confused:
  12. ccavacini

    ccavacini Super Mod Mod

    I moved it here because of your second post...couldn't figure out why you needed 100 looks.