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Campfire

Field & Stream's Best Hunting Story Contest: Final Week (Week Four)

Uploaded on October 20, 2009

Congratulations to "Del in KS," who wins a Leatherman Super Tool 300 for his story about mentoring a young hunter! Next week's winner will be announced on Monday, October 26.

Start writing your entries for Week 4! (Any stories entered into last week's thread after Midnight on Oct. 19 still qualify). Please post all new entries here. Note that this is the final week of the competition, so make sure to post your stories by midnight on October 26th.

Here's how the contest works. Write us a story that's between 300 and 1000 words long (go over and you'll be disqualified). Then enter it into the comments section below. We'll review each one each week and evaluate it based on the following things.

1. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
2. Originality, perspective, and voice
3. Brevity

On Monday of the following week we'll announce the winning entry and open up a new contest. Winners will receive a Leatherman Super Tool 300 (weeks one and two) or a Leatherman Expanse e55 knife (weeks three and four).

So let's get started! ENTER SUBMISSIONS FOR WEEK FOUR INTO THE COMMENTS BELOW. Entries submitted after 12:00 AM on October 26th will not be considered.

Nate Matthews
Online Editor

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from ironsights wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

FIRST BUCK

I still didn’t fully understand at the time what drove a hunter out into the cold fall woods. At thirteen a warm comfortable bed and sleeping in till noon sounded much better than rising before the crack of dawn and trekking out into the cold November woods of Sasakwa, OK. Concerned more with staying warm than harvesting a whitetail, I overdressed and if I recall, over ate as well. The cool sunrise peeked over the horizon as we quietly geared up and left Dad’s truck. The short three hundred yard walk up a washed out oil pump road, through an overgrown field and up the rocky wooded ridge felt like a mile. The extra pair of wool socks and heavy coveralls I wore caused me to overheat, and the sleep I was accustomed to getting was a factor in my not wanting to proceed. Dad calmly persuaded me to stay. We found two big red oak trees to sit against, and I noisily brushed the dry oak leaves aside. Dad sat on the east side of one of the trees and I between the two. Between the day dreams of record book bucks presenting textbook shots and wondering how long the tag ends of an old rusty barbed wire fence had been growing into the red oak, I watched fox squirrels noisily search for acorns and small flocks of songbirds pass through. We could not have been hunting for more than three hours, when glimpses of a deer trotting southwards through the thick shrubby timber caught my attention. It couldn’t have been more than thirty yards away when he bee lined toward me with his nose aimed close to the leaf covered ground. Dad kept whispering, “get ‘em, get ‘em”, and I carefully cocked the old hammer of that 38.40 caliber rifle that belonged to my great great uncle Willie. I remember seeing that little buck angling straight toward me as I lined up those old iron sights on his shoulder and squeezed the cold trigger. Dad swung around the tree and with a smile on his face asked, “Did you get ‘em”. I wasn’t sure if I did, being that close I figured he’d fall right over. Dad reassured me that I did. I guess he could hear him crashing to the dry leaf covered ground. Searching for the blood trail, we eased our way northwards. The old rifle’s sights were true, and we found the five pointer about fifty yards away. Before I even had a chance to admire my first buck Dad snapped a few pictures. Dad skillfully dressed him and cut a small post oak down to use to carry him out. My brother Kevin eased his way to us, and we hauled my harvest out of the woods. This time, the three hundred yard trek felt like a mile with the extra weight on our shoulders.
During the last weekend of this year’s gun season, I noticed that little post-oak tree laying among saplings just off the rutted oil pump road where we had loaded up the deer. The rough moss covered bark was rotted away, and termite mazes traveled the length of the tree. I thought back to that day, and how proud Dad was of me and how proud I was too. I took a deep breath and turned north looking at the ridge that gave me my first buck. The satisfaction of that day is more evident today than it was back then. I thought to myself, that maybe one day, my little two year old boy will make his way up that same ridge in a few years, and maybe his Grandpa will be with us to enjoy his first buck. I now understand what drives a man into the woods. Not only is it the satisfaction of harvesting a deer, it’s the heritage, tradition, and closeness one gets to his family and nature. The lessons learned are timeless and the memories everlasting. I wrote this about 6 years ago, my boy now 8 accompanies us on our hunts as well as my 6 yr old daughter. thanks for reading.

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My First Squirrel

Back in my younger youth we had a squirrel that always hung around the house. He was really fun to watch. my mom would through left over food or nuts out by his tree and he would come along and eat. He stayed around for along time. Then one day he didn't come back for about a couple of month's. We figured something had eaten him. But no, one day he came right back to that same tree and ate his food. That day he came back he brought back a partner with him, maybe it was his friend. But they both came back to that tree and ate with the birds. Then one day his friend didn't come back. We figured like before maybe something ate him or their friendship fell apart. But it was still very entertaining to watch him eat his nuts. Another funny thing is that he came back to that same spot pretty much the same time he did the day before. One day I was out shooting my .22 when i thought I would shoot a squirrel. I think I knew it was (Mr. Squirrel) that I was about to shoot. I didn't think much of it because it was just a squirrel. So I shot it, went over and picked it up and went down to the house to show my mom. After telling me it was Mr. Squirrel I started crying. I felt so bad that I had taken his life. Remember this was back when I was like 7. I don't do it now. But I would like to tell my mom that I am very sorry for killing Mr. Squirrel. And Mr. Squirrel, thanks for entertaining us for all of the years you lived. I have shot more squirrels today and thank god I still don't cry. But I will always remember that.

I hope you guys get a little humor out of this story. Please enjoy.

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from wiegs1992 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Big Buck Moment
During the 2008 bow season i had set my stand in what i thought was the perfect location. I always went hunting with my dad but this day was the first day i was gonna be able to go by myself. I was so pumped and ready for a good day of hunting. It was November 8th, a saturday morning and my field and stream magazine had recommened to hunt this day. It was perfect, and the middle of the rut. So the game was on. I got into my stand about half an hour before sun rise, just enough time to get settled in and for the woods to settle down. It was a little windy but it was in the perfect direction. I was waiting and it seemed like forever till shooting time came around. Then the time came and not five minutes after time a nice 8 point buck rustled in the leaves not 20 yards behind me. I got my bow, stood up, and waited for him to walk behind a tree. I drew back and he walked into my shooting lane. I thought he was about ten yards away or so so i put my ten yard pin on his vitals. I let the arrow go and he jumped like he had gottin hit but it was still to dark to tell. So i sat back down and knocked another arrow. About 3 minutes later, a giant ten point buck was trotting to my right not 15 yards away. I stood up, made him stop, and shot him at ten yards. He ran down the gully and stopped. He acted like he wasnt hit so i was kinda mad and sad. Then all of a sudden he jolted to the left and fell in a creek bed about 20 steps from where he was standing. I waited a minute or so and he had not left the creek bed yet so i knew he was down. So i got out of my tree and went to go see if i had shot the first deer i saw that day but when i got to where he was standing when i shot, the arrow had missed him and he got away. So i went to the spot where i shot the 10 pointer and saw good heart and lung blood splattered on the ground. So i followed it and saw the giant laying twenty yards away from where i shot him. I yelled so loud im sure every deer around heard me. It was the best day of my life and a great start to the years to come of hunting by myself (no offense to my dad who got me started in the sport.)

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from Big O wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"Beauty To Behold"
When I was a young lad(4 yrs. old) my father took me hunting for the very first time(squirrel's).
Back then deer season was 2 weeks long with 1 buck allowed.(BIG change now huh?/Oct 1-Feb 28, 4 deer).
As we are going through the autumn woods. He starts to tell me about the tree's,plants, and other "wonders" of the "big,wide,world" that I'm seeing for the first time.
As we "slip through the woods", as only a father and son can. He teaches me what to look for, when hunting for game. Trails, rub tree's, acorn caps that squrrel's and deer have eaten and the difference in the two.
We have my dog "Stormy" with us, and we are doing GREAT( to my four year old mind). We have taken 3, WITH NO MISS'S !
My dad asks me if I'm ready for my mom to come home with my baby brother ? I tell him yes I think I am. He then tells me what a GREAT responsibility I have as a "big brother". As how it is "my job" to help look after him, keep him out of trouble, and harms way when we are out playing. This is alot for a four old to come to grip's with. I'm four !, I tell him, I'm a "big boy" and am more than up to the job ! Then I ask If I get to help teach him how to hunt and fish too ? Of course he say's that's one of those "importarnt" things a big brother is supposed to do. As he laugh's.
As we make our way back to camp, we come put on the "main road/Military Rd. and look towards camp. With the big wall tent, a roaring fire, and laughter comming from there. We step into the road bed when we hear a noise behind us and turn.
There "he" is, a "perfect" 12pt. buck, that has also jumped into the road bed with us. We all stand "stock" still. The buck looks at us then, the dog, and back to us. No one, and nothing makes a sound( for to a 4 yr old seems like an hour). He seem's to bow head to us and walks down the road and into the woods again.
My head starts to "spin like a top" with questions.
Why did'nt you shoot? It's not season, son. And that would be wrong.
Why did'nt stormy chase him ? Respect for his elder son, I guess.
Why did he just stand there ? He knew we were not a threat to him son, dad said with a smile that I will remember forever.
As I look back, that smile seemed to say. "That my boy's will be outdoors men, with respect for their fellow man, and mother nature and ALL of her beauty.

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from Rick Jaxon wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

After 25 years of virtually no hunting to raise my three boys and two girls, we found a good, family oriented hunting club in Warren County, Georgia. I had really only deer hunted about twice with my cousin, "Del in KS" (As he's known on the Field and Stream Forum), who knows more about deer than deer do. Therefore, I had little knowledge of my own to share with my older sons. But both, being Eagle Scouts, must have learned some things on their own.

My story is about my 21 year old son, Jack, a college student and his first buck. He and his elder brother, Eric, were in their ladder stands near our food plot early last November, separated by about a hundred yards. Jack had studying to do so nestled behind the camo skirt on the shooting rail of his stand, he read his college textbook until he fell asleep. Shortly, a monster 10 point buck just below his stand, rudely woke him up. Jack didn't move and couldn't raise his rifle under such close scrutiny. The buck turned and jogged about 25 yards away and presented a broadside shot but in very high weeds.

"All I could see, Dad, was his head and a wide, high rack," he said. Calmly, he estimated where the shoulders were and pulled the trigger. It turned out to be a perfect shot on the biggest deer taken at our club in now three years.

"It's all downhill from here, son," I told him jokingly, as did others.

That was at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Within 30 minutes, at the other end of our property, I took my first deer with my 44 magnum open sighted pistol. It was a day of two "firsts" in our household!

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Good luck Rick, Hope you win one for the boys!

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Good job del.

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from hunter1849 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

When I was 12, I accompanied my dad, brother, and uncle on what would my first of many hunting trips. As the days grew fewer until I would be hunting, I grew more and more anxious. I read books, magazines, and watched all the hunting shows I could so I could tune my senses for the big day. My weapon of choice, a 12 gauge Remington pump action shot gun. As I packed my bags to leave, thoughts ran through my head of the day to come. Would I see a big buck? What would I do when I shot one? My dad, brother, and I all left for my grandma’s the night before the first day of the deer season. We arrived at my grandma’s and met my uncle Jim. We sat around for a little while and talked about previous hunts. As I laid in bed I could barely lay still. I tossed and turned all night. Minutes seemed to take hours. Then I was being shaken by my father to get up. We all got up out of bed and got ready to go. As we headed out to the farm, we discussed the plan for that day and where we all would be sitting. I would be sitting with my dad on the south side of the farm. It seemed like it was taking us forever to reach the farm, but it only took about fifteen minutes. As I stepped out of the car, I could feel the cool, crisp air on my face. I grabbed my camouflage suit and climbed into to it. Then my dad handed me my gun and told me to walk as quietly as I could. As we began to walk in to the woods I could smell the leaves and the plants. But the most pungent smell was the cows. About ten to fifteen minutes later we reached our stand. My dad told me to go ahead and climb up into it. He went and sat next to a tree not too far from where I was. As we sat there waiting, the anxiety kept building. Would I see a deer? Would it be a buck or a doe? Could I get a shot at it? Then the first shots of the season echoed through the woods. My dad said they had came from the farm next to us. At around 10:30 we started to walk across the farm to see what had happened. As we walked through the fields of grass and corn, we talked about my father’s many hunts on the farm. When we reached the other side of the farm, we found my uncle who told us Brad had shot a doe. My dad and uncle discussed what to do since it was approaching lunch time. We decided that my uncle would accompany me back across the farm to sit for a little longer while my dad helped my brother field dress the deer. My uncle told me that we were going to go sit on a hillside for about 45 minutes, and then we would go pick my dad and brother up. When we reached the hill, my uncle sat on the ground, and I climbed into a old, rotten stand that we didn’t use anymore. No more than ten minutes must have gone by when I saw it. A deer had run out into the field but was not coming our way. My uncle jumped up and started running up the hill and yelled for me to follow. I was unsure of where he was going at first, but the I realized he was heading for the dry dam. We ran at a dead sprint for about 200 yards, and then my uncle stopped. I kept running and passed by him to a opening on top of the hill. I couldn’t believe it there it was. The deer was just jumping the fence and heading up the hill towards me. I raised my gun to my face and felt the cold steel on my check. As I put my sights on the deer she spotted me. She made a sharp turn and cut into the hill where I couldn’t see her. Then boom, boom, my uncle shot and the deer turned back towards me. Still holding my gun and ready to shoot, the deer came my way. As soon as I got a clear shot, I squeezed the trigger and boom, my first shot at a deer rang out through the air. I pumped the gun as fast as I could, placed the sights again and boom. This time the deer fell to its knees. Again I pumped the gun and squeezed the trigger, hitting the deer once more. Somehow the deer was still not dead. My uncle then approached me and told me shoot the deer again, but this time I missed. He told me to wait and that he would go get his knife to slit the deer’s throat. The thought of that made me feel weird inside. Just the thought of holding a deer in my hands and cutting its throat upset me. Unable to find his knife, my uncle told me to shoot the deer again. This time I did not miss, and the deer fell over. We then field dressed the deer and dragged it up to the car and loaded it up. We went down the road to where my dad and brother were. We got out of the car, and they asked what had happened. We told them the story, and they both congratulated me. We took the deer to the check station and then went to lunch. I didn’t see anymore deer for the rest of that season. But it made me realize so much. It made me realize the power that you can hold in your hands. From that point on, I gained more respect for the animals and the land than I had ever had.

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from Derrit wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I went hunting one morning and just as the sun was rising I saw a nice looking deer with a decent rack-I pulled the trigger and the deer went down. I field dressed him, skinned him, cut up the meat, cooked and ate him. The end.

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Hunt For A Club Footed Hog
Sunday morning, I hunted a ground blind and what an awesome morning it was. At 7:00 the feeder went off and the birds flew in for breakfast. A Rio Grande turkey stood at 40 yards, and a five-point buck stood at 50. At eye level I watched the woods wake up -- a totally different view on the ground compared to the view from a tree stand. It was 27 degrees and I wore every piece of clothing I could pile on. Once the sun came up I started taking gear off. By noon, it was short sleeves and sunscreen -- now that's what I'm talking about.
I didn't harvest anything that first morning, but my husband took a nice hog. The games had begun and I couldn't wait for the afternoon hunt. We ate breakfast then walked the canals on the property, where we saw 26 havelina, 7 quail, 2 coyotes and countless deer.
That evening I hunted from a box blind, and the wind was perfect. I sat down and a hog came in like it was on a string. I got my bow and hooked my release on the string, but a chill hit the back of my neck as the wind shifted, and with a grunt the hog was gone. Just before dark a large boar came in then moved off again, growling at me all the while.
Monday morning I got dropped off at a ladder stand. Two deer moved in then a big black hog stood behind some brush. As he moved closer I drew my Mathews. Between the cold and the close quarters I strained -- finally it broke and the hog stood facing me. I held forever but he just would not move for a broadside shot. He ran off into the brush and I was able to let off my bow. Around 7:00 the hog came back out and I drew. He turned, a perfect quartering away shot and I let my arrow fly. Smack as my Muzzy made impact. He turned, ran and disappeared. I saw the brush moving as he crashed deep into it and then there was dead silence. I called Rob [the outfitter owner], and told him I was pretty sure where the hog lay.
At 9:00, my "retrievers" came to help, but there was no sign right away and that's always disheartening. I never truly celebrate until I have my hands on the animal. We went to where I saw the brush last move. No hog and no sign. Scott and Rob arrived, and soon Scott yelled, "I got it!" I did a war whoop and pushed my way through the brush. It was a good shot and the Muzzy did its job on his vitals. He'd probably gone 75 yards from where I'd made the shot.

When that hog had come in earlier, I'd noticed it was limping. Now we saw that it had what appeared to be a club foot. I was really excited when we found my hog as I had noticed it had good sized cutter and that they were larger than the ones on the hog Scott had harvested. Little did I know that in the back of the truck was a hog that Scott had shot with HUGE cutters.
Hunting hogs in Texas is a great way to break up the cold winters in Michigan. We have found a great outfitter that has the hogs. Good food, good people and lots of animal to hunt….and 90 degree weather. JB

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I just wanted to say that there is SO much more that goes with this story and I wish I could share all 4493 words of it with you.
I have submitted it for possible publication under the title
The Day Danger Came To The Feeder and you would NOT believe what came to the feeder that day!! I guarantee that that hunt is not for the faint of heart and I shutter when I think of how it could have turned out.
Maybe someday I can share the rest of the story.=)
JB

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

A Story of Redemption

My story begins with a giant buck standing 15 yards from my treestand. As I draw my bow three doe bedded almost directly beneath my stand see my movement and bolt. The big buck also took off but stopped, broadside, about 40 yards away.

After 25 years of bowhunting I prided myself with my shooting ability. I had very simple rules. Never take a shot that is obstructed, never shoot at a moving deer and never take a shot over 30 yards. I've experienced many good clean kills by following these rules but don't get me wrong. I can lay 5 arrows in a dollar bill at 40 yards but dollar bills don't move or jump strings.

Back to my treestand. I had a majestic buck standing broadside at 40 yards in the open. My bow was at full draw. The experienced hunter in me said not to shoot but I watched this buck for 30 minutes before he finally came into range. I was pumped up, excited and full of anticipation that needed released. I let the arrow fly.

I spent the next three months searching. I walked every woods, every field, every swamp within miles. I walked for hours day after day. With each step I cursed myself for taking the shot. It was my worse nightmare. I had wounded the most beautiful animal I had every seen in the woods. After months of searching and cursing I had convinced myself my bowhunting days were over.

Two years later I receive a call at my office. It was my son. He wanted me to hunt the evening stand with him. My son had taken a very nice buck on opening day but we still needed meat for the freezer. For years I would relish our time together in the woods and looked forward to every moment but since that time 2 years prior I didn't feel worthy. A deer deserved better than me.

I spent all summer shooting my bow and felt ready for the woods. Besides, it wouldn't hurt to have a little meat in the freezer. My son suggested I sit in the same stand on the ridge where I shot the big one. As I sat in my stand several doe walk in. I was waiting for a good shot when I see movement. It was another monster buck just 15 yards away. I draw my bow. The buck was standing still. My 15 yard pin floated over the vitals but there was a problem. A stick the size of my thumb cut diagonally across the lungs of the deer.

My mind raced back to two years ago. It wasn't going to happen again. I held the bow as long as I could. It was either let the arrow fly or let the buck walk. My pin was still floating over the kill zone. The stick was still there. It was a chip shot but I let my bow down.

I instantly felt releif. All of my demons had passed. I was tested by this buck and I had passed. I just let the largest buck I had ever seen walk and I felt great. When I let my bow down the woods erupted with whitetails bouncing through the woods. I was so fixed on this buck I had never seen the other 6 deer walk to my stand. I turned my head and watched them run away. At that moment I knew it was over. The sound of running deer, breaking branches and snorting filled the woods.

At this point I was satisfied. I was given an opportunity to prove myself and won. I even felt lucky. The world was good again. The nightmare of 2 years ago was erased and I couldn't have been happier. I thought. I looked down and he was still there. Except he had taken a step forward and was clearly open. At this point years of practice took over. I cannot remember releasing the arrow or even putting the pin on the lungs. The giant ran off and stopped 30 yards away. His tail flicked. He turned his head and looked back at me then softly laid on the leaves. 195 1/8 BC.

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from danielwms wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Turkey Story

Damned if he didn’t give me a hug.
My world was white and deaf, but Don Cota was hopping up and down in the doghouse yelling, “You got him!”
We scrambled out and tramped through meadow grass to the turkey, with Cota pacing off the distance: 45 yards.
Before 7 a.m. on my first day as a hunter, my very first shot had found its mark. Before nightfall, I would eat the first thing I had ever harvested with a gun.
Wind the clock back three weeks. Two dozen people fill an indoor target range converted to a classroom at Rick’s Gun Shop in East Burke in northeastern Vermont. Most are children. One is celebrating his ninth birthday. At 52, I’m the second-oldest student in the hunter safety class.
We are listening to Don Cota go over the rules of handling a firearm. Always maintain muzzle control. Assume every gun is loaded. Know your target and what lies beyond. If someone carries a gun with a finger on the trigger, the hunter education manual instructs us to say, “That’s how guns go off by accident.” If the warning doesn’t work, we are to get a new partner.
Cota is more direct: “If I see you with your finger on the trigger, I’ll break your finger off, okay?”
Cota shows us an instructional movie from the 1960s. (“I’ve never liked this video but I have to show it.”) Two teens are cavorting outside with a rifle – firing wildly, jumping with the weapon, being jerks. Sure enough, one boy shoots the other. The movie solemnly informs you he was just 15.
Cota says there are no accidents in hunting. If you act unsafely, “you’re setting yourself up to fail.”
He shows a video about wild turkeys, which were reintroduced to Vermont successfully in the late 1960s. He tells us the spring hunting season, just around the corner in May, is timed for when the hens are on the nest.
“I strongly recommend you don’t go turkey hunting – you get addicted to it,” Cota says. During question-and-answer time, I ask if there are any turkeys on state lands. Cota gives me a look. He’s just finished explaining that turkeys prefer farmland.
“Groton State Forest has birds,” he says doubtfully. “Do you know anybody who turkey-hunts?”
I say I don’t.
“You’re just going to go do it?”
I say sure.
“Good luck,” he says, shaking his head.
The class troops outside for a field-dressing demonstration, and Cota takes me aside.
“You’ve never hunted before?” he asks.
I tell him I moved here from Atlanta. That seems to explain everything. He gives me his card and tells me to call if I’d like to go turkey hunting. “Don’t buy a gun. You can use mine.”
Three weeks later. Cota and I sat in a doghouse on property belonging to a friend of his, waiting for daylight to arrive. The law says you can start hunting 30 minutes before sunrise.
“A rule of thumb I always use is, when I can look down and identify what kind of leaf is at my feet,” Cota said. “When I can see it clearly enough it’s light enough to be calling.”
The weather was chilly and I had dressed for warmer temperatures. Cota loaned me a camouflage jacket. We sat silently in the doghouse, listening to outdoor sounds.
Cota tried a few of his calls. He slipped a diaphragm call into his mouth and let out a reedy yelp. He rubbed a striker against a slate pot and produced a raspy shudder.
“Usually I get them going with the mouth call,” Cota said. “You’re trying to be a hen calling to the gobbler. When he gets to the edge of the field, I change and start hitting him with my other call. So now he thinks there are two of them there, and that doubles the excitement. Now he says, ‘Holy mackerel, this is good.’”
Nothing worked.
“We can waste our time somewhere else,” Cota said.
Trooping down to his truck, I asked about the wildlife we’d heard.
The drumming noise?
“Woodpecker.”
That eerie, low moan?
“Cow.”
Cota drove to a relative’s farm. We were scaling a hillside orchard when he braked and whispered, “Look.”
Up ahead, a colorful gobbler stalked bugs on a meadow that fringed a wood. We parked 100 or so yards downhill and set off on foot to flank the turkey on the right. As luck would have it, Cota had prepositioned a doghouse directly in the turkey’s path.
This time, his turkey call was answered by the real thing. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Cota’s second call produced a second gobble-gobble – closer this time. Cota carefully handed me his Winchester Super X2.
The turkey came into view through a port in the doghouse. I pointed the barrel through the next window on the right and waited for the bird, silently repeating the advice Cota had given me about using the shotgun’s turkey scope: “Put his head in the diamond and squeeze the trigger.”
Blam.
On our way to the game-reporting station, Cota marvels at my luck. Every year, he guides for a Texan bent on shooting a turkey in each of the 50 states. “This is the third time that he came out and the third time we didn’t do it.” Cota himself will hunt all but three days of the month-long turkey season and only bag a juvenile male, or jake.
The bird weighs in at 16 ½ pounds. Its spur measures 1 ¾ inches. The beard that sprouts from its chest is 9 inches long.
That night, I baked the thighs and legs with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. The skinless meat was dry and tough. Perhaps I cooked it too long. I had better luck with the breast meat. Wild turkey burritos taste just fine.

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from benjismokin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Scattered oaks formed an archway as the slanted off the sides of two small knolls. You could see the glimmer from the pond in the front yard and hear the gentle roll of the water from the small creek. If Heaven had a sound, this was it. Its strange when you think about it, for miles the deeper you went the darker and creepier it got, but then all of a sudden, a clearing! With the bright sky in front of me it was hard to make out the small red roof of the cabin, but I knew it wasn’t far. I made my way to the creek where the rickety old bridge was and decided now was a good time as any to grab some fresh water. The creek was spring fed, straight from the hills, and after a little boiling for good measure, you got some of the best water in the world!
To give the place a little run down before I got into unpacking, I decided to see what changes were made from the lack of attention this place got. Some trees had blown over and made it a little harder to reach the shed, but I had all the fire wood I needed. I made my way around the trees to check the damage and to my surprise the tress totally missed the shed! I unlocked the rusted paddle-lock and opened the door. Inside looked the same way it did 8 years ago. The canoe was in the back filled with the fishing gear and all the tool boxes were still there, plus I had enough materials to build another shack! I thought I lucked out and had it pretty easy so far. That was until I ventured forth to the cabin.
Now the cabin was nothing to write home to mother about. Time had really did a number to this poor old building and I had a lot of work to do to get her back into shape. The door had completely fallen off and the little porch was caved in. Two of the four windows were broke, the west wall and some patch work that was in dire need of help and the roof was unsound at best, and that was just from looking at the outside. I managed to make my way inside and noticed the critters did a good job on the place as well. The bunks were chewed and torn, all the water from the leaky roof made the floor rotten in spots. I was glad now that I had chose to take the longer vacation!

Spring and summer had took control over the years and the trail was pretty grown over since my last trip here. There was a little "deer" trail that was barely visible that went straight into the heart of the overgrown backwoods. It was like a picture from a story book, a mystical entrance to an enchanted, undiscovered world. I knew from here it was about another 3 miles down the trail before the river and I wondered what good ol' mother nature had done to our crossing point?
I continued on my way through the dense woods following what I could of the trail. The deeper I went the more the trail disappeared. I began to think to myself that I could get lost in this thick maze of hardwoods. There were times that the sun broke through the canopy of the tree tops and it looked as if God himself was reaching down and blessing this wonderful piece of land. It was beautiful!
The woods this time of year are full of busy critters all getting ready for the winter to come. Squirrels were causing all kinds of ruckus as they scurried through the leaves, chasing and screaming at each other. Birds were quickly darting all over, weaving and turning in and out of cover like the turns of a race track. Its as if there is some sort of magical switch that makes the woods just come alive.

After sitting in the stand for nearly three hours while the weather played its own sort of game with my emotions and I was almost took over by tears by the sight of this beautiful land. Nothing else could get any better!

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from jaluther wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Twice Got Game: An Investigation into Values

Hunting stories often begin and end with measurements of size, time and place. Whether it be 150 grains or a 200 inch rack, these numbers specify both the means and the end of a hunt. At the conclusions turkey season’s opening day, I found myself in possession of two birds, which besides overfilling the skillet, offered an opportunity to reflect upon the fabric of a sport, that is so often narrated in numerals.
My first bird was taken with a 3 ½ number 4 turkey load that hurtled through the air at a smart 1325 feet per second. Four hours later, the serendipitous second bird was struck down by steel traveling at a velocity of a mere 110 feet per second. Thankfully, as Newton reminds us, force is the product of acceleration and mass. The mass in this second case was not a matter of grains, but tons; its steel not Remington but Detroit. Fate is not without a sense of introspective irony, for on the same day I shot a bird, I just so happened to also kill another turkey will my truck. As I was traveling down the Interstate to enjoy a Norman Rockwellesque feast with my shotgun-got quarry, a tom darted from behind a bush into the path of my truck. Save premonition, there would have been no way to avoid the collision, which was dictated by inhuman forces of my truck’s size, time and place.
What conscious effort, dedication and foresight had produced during the morning hunt, was also at the moment of collision replicated by chance and careless momentum. Even after I found out I hadn’t broken any laws and was able to run the improbability of what happened over and over again in my head. What ultimately troubled me is that to the objective viewer, the two dead birds in the truck bed were more or less the same. Following this vein of thought, a purely rational concern for an end, places little distinction between the quality of differing means. We hunters are so preoccupied with numbers that we too often forget that hunting is a celebration of an act, not bound by, but instead a rejection of standardization, objectivity and economy. If this were not true, there would be a lot less sojourns into the Woods and a lot more blaze orange in the supermarket.
To reiterate, although the result of the two circumstances was the same, my active role as a hunter could not have been contrasted more to the indifference of concrete and my automobile. It is not in spite of the similarity of the two birds’ weight, but rather precisely because of it, that sportsmen should scrutinize measurements thrust upon experience. In this sense, hunting mustn’t be a means to an end, but a manner in which to relate, and be a part of this brave new world that is so often obscured by proxy and disconnection. Even after all this thought, when the birds hit the skillet, they ended up tasting the same. That being said, one was undeniably richer in its deliberateness.

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from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

THE FACE OF THUNDER

I realize a man can see a lot as he looks into a campfire, as long as he keeps an open mind, and is willing to accept the truth of compunction that pricks the mind like a needle.

It’s odd how one can become emotionally attached to the land that a man farms and hunts. It’s late October and there are times when life seems little more than a matter of struggle and endurance, when difficulty and disappointment form a hardened crust around my heart … yet there is a place that is unprotected that beauty and greatness can always grow, as the leaves of yesterday fall from the winds of change.

The gentle breeze gave new life to the dying embers of the campfire I had started several hours ago. Contemplation beside a campfire has a way of inducing much needed sleep for tomorrows hunt and adventure.

I was hunting a farm that didn’t have any pressure. I camped in the hunter’s shanty to avoid the long drive in the wee hours of the morning. This remote farm has 110-acres, mostly cleared land with hardwoods up the middle of the property, with a dense 3-acre area of cedars clustered together just outside of the hardwoods. There is also a 3-acre lake, with a small pond situated on a point overlooking the fields.

At first light, a frightened 10-pointer stepped out of the cedars, and hesitated. A gun shot went off in the distance. The buck busted loose from the cedars and made a dash for safety. He headed straight for my position when I noticed the left side of his rack was missing!

This was one ugly buck! Certainly a fighter and definitely not a lover! I raised my arm and prepared my rifle for collision. This buck was running up hill as fast as his whitetail hoofs could go. He was closing in like a freight train, as I lay on the ground with my rifle and bi-pod. My bullet is about to go ballistic.

Raising my arm probably kept me from getting trampled by the run away beast.It was “an exit stage left” when I got a better look at the buck’s best side, as he bounded from the confines of the open field. He was up and over the neighbor’s fence at full tilt, disappearing as he sped off for distant parts.

The rest of the morning, my eyes slowly scanned the distant fence lines through my scope, looking for body parts of deer. I noticed the beauty in the wind and the woods that have brought the light that I have learned to trust and the breeze that blows through my beard. The sun begins to lower itself, as I begin to snack and plan the evening hunt.

I breathe in the day’s fresh air and slowly exhale as I say a prayer. Wisdom grows and I learn to let the beauty of nature lead me to the presence of God. Though my discovery of God began in my spirit, for most of us it begins in the world outside of us.

I back tracked on the ridge I was snacking on. It would take me to a point that drops down to a creek bed that leads to the lake. I often see does here at sundown. The other side of the creek goes straight up to the pond. I arrived and looked into the creek bed and spied a wide rack buck standing there. Feverishly, I sat down, took a deep breath and readied my gun for the buck to walk up the hill.

Across the creek at eye level I saw movement from another deer. Then I saw the genetic giant! This giant walked parallel to the creek about 150 yards away. The tree between us still had foliage so my view was diminished. I grabbed my binoculars to examine the deer. When he stepped into view, I dropped the binoculars, grabbed my gun and placed my scope on him.

Words dilute the essence of this magnificent, genetic giant that appeared just 147 yards away. This was the most muscular deer my eyes had ever seen, with proportions as massive as a body builder on steroids. Each side of his rack had five tines that were fourteen to eighteen inches long each. They were dark in color, thicker than a broomstick, symmetrically perfect, curving inward towards the top, with four inch tips that were the color of wheat. This buck had a twenty-five inch plus spread. I was in awe. His rack reminded me of a Native Indian’s headdress, a full eagle-feather warbonnet!

He had to turn slightly in either direction for me to consider a shot. Cocking the hammer, he started to walk up to the pond. He turned to look back at the wide rack buck that was still standing in the creek. I had less than ten minutes of subdued light permeating through my scope. This creature mesmerized his captive audience by the sheer power of his presence. I squeezed the trigger. I squeezed harder as the report of the gun sounded off. I had missed the magnificent giant! Without a flinch, he turned to face the smoke that had produced the sound of thunder. I’ll never forget the vexation in his eyes as they penetrated my gaze.

He ran up to the pond, hesitated and sprinted for the dam. Lo and behold, could it be that this genetic giant has a twin brother? Sure enough, his twin came out of hiding and followed his brother down the hill across the dam of the lake. They stumbled over each other as they made there way, never to be seen together again by these grateful eyes.

I sit and I wonder sometimes what the genetic giant thought as he turned to view the source of thunder that he had heard many times before. This time was different, thunder had a face, and it was mine.

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from tskive wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"Out West"
This story happened to my step-father, and I will repeat it here just as I was told it.

The ride from Michigan to Wyoming was uneventful. That is the way that I like my roadtrips. I want nothing to take away from the beautiful kaleidiscope of scenery. As I stared out the window I daydreamed about past hunts, the 14 point whitetail out of Alberta, the 8x8 Mulie from Colarado, and the Javelina that I took with a crossbow in Georgia. Lately though I have been drawn out west. I know that I have already taken three Elk from this paradise known as, "The American West" but I cannot stay away from the hidden mountain streams, the beautiful snow falling on a forest of fir trees, or the small lakes hidden deep in the mountains.
We arrive at a trailhead where there is a Ford F-250 Powerstroke hooked up to a large horse trailer. They are waiting for us, perfect. We load up all of our gear on the pack animals. I take special care loading up my primary rifle, an ancient Winchester Model 70 chambered on .308. This rifle was my fathers before he passed, and I have taken many magnificent specimens with it. It has lived up to its Jack O'Conner given moniker, "The Rifleman's Rifle." I loved that rifle, but this hunt I wanted to try something different, so I brought along my Ruger Super Redhawk chambered in .454 Casull. Now I just had to work up the courage to use it.
The trip into our base camp was was passing as fast as the fading daylight. With the snow falling at twilight, a more beautiful scene could not be imagined. Just as the light really began to fade we came to a pass on the mountain. With sheer rock walls shooting 100ft up into the air on our left and a comlete drop off of 200-500 ft on the right I could not have been more nervous. Then, for a reason known only to God my horse, aptly named bucky, bucked me off. I missed falling into the abyss by mere inches, my rifle was not so lucky.
Hunting with my Casull was not the dream that I pictured it to be. The only good thing was that it weighed less. Eventually, I got close enough to an Elk to take my shot. As the noble 4x5 bugled into the morning fog on the side of the mountain, I oulled the trigger. As soon as the deafening echoes subsided, I saw the magnificent creature collapse. After 10 hours of packing the beast out I could finally relax. Leaning up against a huge log with my feet stretched out by the fire all I could think about were the stars. They twinkled like so many distant campfires. I wondered if the people around them were all as content as I was. Soon my guide Flannery brought me out of my reverie with a plate of Elk backstraps grilled over the campfire and a flask of Johnny Walker. I cannot wait until next year.

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from rweedin wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I have always been a waterfowl hunter. My father taught me the trade when I was 10 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve got two sisters, and let’s just say they’re both “girly girls.” They don’t like the sight of dead birds, don’t enjoy the cold winter mornings, and they definitely do not like the getting up early part. One thing they do like though, music. They’re both trumpet players and for some reason I thought that might make them good duck callers. So, I bought my youngest sister a cheap Primos, gave her an instructional CD, and off she went.
It had been about a month and the season was coming to a close. Most of the water around was frozen and I had taken to sleeping in rather than breaking ice. Friday night, she came and asked if I was going hunting in the morning. I thought it odd that she asked but said “yeah probably.” Then she asked if she could go with me and call. I was shocked, but enthusiastically accepted.
It was a blisteringly cold day, but we went. I broke ice in the morning, opened up a small hole, and put about a half dozen mallards in it. I hadn’t scouted in a few weeks and was not optimistic about our chances, but still I couldn’t help being excited. Sunrise came and went, nothing. I gave her the usual reasons to stay. “It’s probably only Mallards left this late. They’re late flyers.” I’m not sure if I was trying to convince her or myself.
About 9:30 I heard wings, Mallards, but high. Very high. Knowing it may be the only ducks we see all day I turned and said, “Let’s see what you got.” She blew the most amazing hail call I had ever heard. She made that cheap call sing as if it were being blown by a world champion caller. I looked at her, shocked, and completely poised she said to me, “Get your face down, they’re coming.” 8 Mallards came spiraling down like a tornado. She blew a few single quacks and a feeder. I was beyond dumbfounded; luckily I had to focus on these birds because I was too speechless to talk.
Sadly, I only took one drake out of that group. She didn’t have a gun so it was our lone bird that day. I only wish my shooting had been as perfect as her calling. She hasn’t gone out with me since that morning. I wish she’d come more often, I might get more ducks in the spread, but that is truly a hunt that I’ll never forget.

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from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I am an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman in general, and I'm also a game warden. As a wildlife officer I have the opportunity to meet some of the greatest people in the world when I talk to hunters and fishermen while I'm working. This past weekend was the opening weekend for the plains deer season in Colorado. I worked the morning hunt and talked to about a dozen people, some who had been successful in harvesting a deer, other who hadn't, but weren't quitting yet... The evening of the opening day of the deer season, I had a benefit dinner to attend for my wife's uncle, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Miloma, a form of cancer that I have no idea what it means, but no cancer is good cancer if you ask me. Regardless, I attended the dinner and spoke with friends and family for a short while, then returned to work to see if I could talk to more hunters in the evening.

At about 7:45 p.m. I stopped into one of my normal hunter's homes out in the prairie. He, his wife, and three of their close friends had all been hunting that day and I wanted to see if they had harvested any deer and tell them hello. In the short time that I have been working in this area in Colorado, these people have become very good friends and great company. As I pulled into the driveway, the group pulled in from the other direction at nearly the exact same time that I did. They all got out of the vehicles and I think the first thing they said is "are you going to eat with us?" which, most of the time, is one of the best things there is to do with my hunters.

I told Chris, the owner of the home, that I had just attended a benefit dinner for my wife's uncle that had just been diagnosed with cancer, so I was not hungry. Chris asked me how old he is, and I replied "52 or 53".

Not another word was said by Chris before he pulled out his wallet and handed me a $50 bill. I was both setback and moved by his gesture, but told him that was not necessary as he had never before met this man and he works hard for his money. He would not let me say no and insisted that I take the donation. I accepted the money and thanked him. I also told him that even though I had just eaten, I would stay to talk to everyone for a bit.

As I entered the home, Chris's wife was working on the lobster tail near the sink, and the other three hunters were all huddled in the kitchen awaiting the feast that was coming forth. Chris followed me in and the first thing he said was "his wife's uncle was just diagnosed with cancer and he has been at a benefit dinner for him in town."

With that said, three other men pulled wallets from their pockets and began handing me money. I again told them that they didn't need to be giving me money, but none of them would have any word of it. I left that home with $150 in donation money for a person that not a single one of the people in that house had ever seen nor knew existed until that evening.

I wanted everyone to hear this story because I think we often forget how many good people there are in the world. All we ever hear about is the people that are doing bad things, and I think people should be recognized for the good they do. $150 may not seem like much, but it is a world and a life to someone who feels like their life is falling apart - especially when it comes form places that they would never expect it. God Bless everyone.

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from ironsights wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

FIRST BUCK

I still didn’t fully understand at the time what drove a hunter out into the cold fall woods. At thirteen a warm comfortable bed and sleeping in till noon sounded much better than rising before the crack of dawn and trekking out into the cold November woods of Sasakwa, OK. Concerned more with staying warm than harvesting a whitetail, I overdressed and if I recall, over ate as well. The cool sunrise peeked over the horizon as we quietly geared up and left Dad’s truck. The short three hundred yard walk up a washed out oil pump road, through an overgrown field and up the rocky wooded ridge felt like a mile. The extra pair of wool socks and heavy coveralls I wore caused me to overheat, and the sleep I was accustomed to getting was a factor in my not wanting to proceed. Dad calmly persuaded me to stay. We found two big red oak trees to sit against, and I noisily brushed the dry oak leaves aside. Dad sat on the east side of one of the trees and I between the two. Between the day dreams of record book bucks presenting textbook shots and wondering how long the tag ends of an old rusty barbed wire fence had been growing into the red oak, I watched fox squirrels noisily search for acorns and small flocks of songbirds pass through. We could not have been hunting for more than three hours, when glimpses of a deer trotting southwards through the thick shrubby timber caught my attention. It couldn’t have been more than thirty yards away when he bee lined toward me with his nose aimed close to the leaf covered ground. Dad kept whispering, “get ‘em, get ‘em”, and I carefully cocked the old hammer of that 38.40 caliber rifle that belonged to my great great uncle Willie. I remember seeing that little buck angling straight toward me as I lined up those old iron sights on his shoulder and squeezed the cold trigger. Dad swung around the tree and with a smile on his face asked, “Did you get ‘em”. I wasn’t sure if I did, being that close I figured he’d fall right over. Dad reassured me that I did. I guess he could hear him crashing to the dry leaf covered ground. Searching for the blood trail, we eased our way northwards. The old rifle’s sights were true, and we found the five pointer about fifty yards away. Before I even had a chance to admire my first buck Dad snapped a few pictures. Dad skillfully dressed him and cut a small post oak down to use to carry him out. My brother Kevin eased his way to us, and we hauled my harvest out of the woods. This time, the three hundred yard trek felt like a mile with the extra weight on our shoulders.
During the last weekend of this year’s gun season, I noticed that little post-oak tree laying among saplings just off the rutted oil pump road where we had loaded up the deer. The rough moss covered bark was rotted away, and termite mazes traveled the length of the tree. I thought back to that day, and how proud Dad was of me and how proud I was too. I took a deep breath and turned north looking at the ridge that gave me my first buck. The satisfaction of that day is more evident today than it was back then. I thought to myself, that maybe one day, my little two year old boy will make his way up that same ridge in a few years, and maybe his Grandpa will be with us to enjoy his first buck. I now understand what drives a man into the woods. Not only is it the satisfaction of harvesting a deer, it’s the heritage, tradition, and closeness one gets to his family and nature. The lessons learned are timeless and the memories everlasting. I wrote this about 6 years ago, my boy now 8 accompanies us on our hunts as well as my 6 yr old daughter. thanks for reading.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"Beauty To Behold"
When I was a young lad(4 yrs. old) my father took me hunting for the very first time(squirrel's).
Back then deer season was 2 weeks long with 1 buck allowed.(BIG change now huh?/Oct 1-Feb 28, 4 deer).
As we are going through the autumn woods. He starts to tell me about the tree's,plants, and other "wonders" of the "big,wide,world" that I'm seeing for the first time.
As we "slip through the woods", as only a father and son can. He teaches me what to look for, when hunting for game. Trails, rub tree's, acorn caps that squrrel's and deer have eaten and the difference in the two.
We have my dog "Stormy" with us, and we are doing GREAT( to my four year old mind). We have taken 3, WITH NO MISS'S !
My dad asks me if I'm ready for my mom to come home with my baby brother ? I tell him yes I think I am. He then tells me what a GREAT responsibility I have as a "big brother". As how it is "my job" to help look after him, keep him out of trouble, and harms way when we are out playing. This is alot for a four old to come to grip's with. I'm four !, I tell him, I'm a "big boy" and am more than up to the job ! Then I ask If I get to help teach him how to hunt and fish too ? Of course he say's that's one of those "importarnt" things a big brother is supposed to do. As he laugh's.
As we make our way back to camp, we come put on the "main road/Military Rd. and look towards camp. With the big wall tent, a roaring fire, and laughter comming from there. We step into the road bed when we hear a noise behind us and turn.
There "he" is, a "perfect" 12pt. buck, that has also jumped into the road bed with us. We all stand "stock" still. The buck looks at us then, the dog, and back to us. No one, and nothing makes a sound( for to a 4 yr old seems like an hour). He seem's to bow head to us and walks down the road and into the woods again.
My head starts to "spin like a top" with questions.
Why did'nt you shoot? It's not season, son. And that would be wrong.
Why did'nt stormy chase him ? Respect for his elder son, I guess.
Why did he just stand there ? He knew we were not a threat to him son, dad said with a smile that I will remember forever.
As I look back, that smile seemed to say. "That my boy's will be outdoors men, with respect for their fellow man, and mother nature and ALL of her beauty.

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from Rick Jaxon wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

After 25 years of virtually no hunting to raise my three boys and two girls, we found a good, family oriented hunting club in Warren County, Georgia. I had really only deer hunted about twice with my cousin, "Del in KS" (As he's known on the Field and Stream Forum), who knows more about deer than deer do. Therefore, I had little knowledge of my own to share with my older sons. But both, being Eagle Scouts, must have learned some things on their own.

My story is about my 21 year old son, Jack, a college student and his first buck. He and his elder brother, Eric, were in their ladder stands near our food plot early last November, separated by about a hundred yards. Jack had studying to do so nestled behind the camo skirt on the shooting rail of his stand, he read his college textbook until he fell asleep. Shortly, a monster 10 point buck just below his stand, rudely woke him up. Jack didn't move and couldn't raise his rifle under such close scrutiny. The buck turned and jogged about 25 yards away and presented a broadside shot but in very high weeds.

"All I could see, Dad, was his head and a wide, high rack," he said. Calmly, he estimated where the shoulders were and pulled the trigger. It turned out to be a perfect shot on the biggest deer taken at our club in now three years.

"It's all downhill from here, son," I told him jokingly, as did others.

That was at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Within 30 minutes, at the other end of our property, I took my first deer with my 44 magnum open sighted pistol. It was a day of two "firsts" in our household!

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from jaluther wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Twice Got Game: An Investigation into Values

Hunting stories often begin and end with measurements of size, time and place. Whether it be 150 grains or a 200 inch rack, these numbers specify both the means and the end of a hunt. At the conclusions turkey season’s opening day, I found myself in possession of two birds, which besides overfilling the skillet, offered an opportunity to reflect upon the fabric of a sport, that is so often narrated in numerals.
My first bird was taken with a 3 ½ number 4 turkey load that hurtled through the air at a smart 1325 feet per second. Four hours later, the serendipitous second bird was struck down by steel traveling at a velocity of a mere 110 feet per second. Thankfully, as Newton reminds us, force is the product of acceleration and mass. The mass in this second case was not a matter of grains, but tons; its steel not Remington but Detroit. Fate is not without a sense of introspective irony, for on the same day I shot a bird, I just so happened to also kill another turkey will my truck. As I was traveling down the Interstate to enjoy a Norman Rockwellesque feast with my shotgun-got quarry, a tom darted from behind a bush into the path of my truck. Save premonition, there would have been no way to avoid the collision, which was dictated by inhuman forces of my truck’s size, time and place.
What conscious effort, dedication and foresight had produced during the morning hunt, was also at the moment of collision replicated by chance and careless momentum. Even after I found out I hadn’t broken any laws and was able to run the improbability of what happened over and over again in my head. What ultimately troubled me is that to the objective viewer, the two dead birds in the truck bed were more or less the same. Following this vein of thought, a purely rational concern for an end, places little distinction between the quality of differing means. We hunters are so preoccupied with numbers that we too often forget that hunting is a celebration of an act, not bound by, but instead a rejection of standardization, objectivity and economy. If this were not true, there would be a lot less sojourns into the Woods and a lot more blaze orange in the supermarket.
To reiterate, although the result of the two circumstances was the same, my active role as a hunter could not have been contrasted more to the indifference of concrete and my automobile. It is not in spite of the similarity of the two birds’ weight, but rather precisely because of it, that sportsmen should scrutinize measurements thrust upon experience. In this sense, hunting mustn’t be a means to an end, but a manner in which to relate, and be a part of this brave new world that is so often obscured by proxy and disconnection. Even after all this thought, when the birds hit the skillet, they ended up tasting the same. That being said, one was undeniably richer in its deliberateness.

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

My First Squirrel

Back in my younger youth we had a squirrel that always hung around the house. He was really fun to watch. my mom would through left over food or nuts out by his tree and he would come along and eat. He stayed around for along time. Then one day he didn't come back for about a couple of month's. We figured something had eaten him. But no, one day he came right back to that same tree and ate his food. That day he came back he brought back a partner with him, maybe it was his friend. But they both came back to that tree and ate with the birds. Then one day his friend didn't come back. We figured like before maybe something ate him or their friendship fell apart. But it was still very entertaining to watch him eat his nuts. Another funny thing is that he came back to that same spot pretty much the same time he did the day before. One day I was out shooting my .22 when i thought I would shoot a squirrel. I think I knew it was (Mr. Squirrel) that I was about to shoot. I didn't think much of it because it was just a squirrel. So I shot it, went over and picked it up and went down to the house to show my mom. After telling me it was Mr. Squirrel I started crying. I felt so bad that I had taken his life. Remember this was back when I was like 7. I don't do it now. But I would like to tell my mom that I am very sorry for killing Mr. Squirrel. And Mr. Squirrel, thanks for entertaining us for all of the years you lived. I have shot more squirrels today and thank god I still don't cry. But I will always remember that.

I hope you guys get a little humor out of this story. Please enjoy.

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from wiegs1992 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Big Buck Moment
During the 2008 bow season i had set my stand in what i thought was the perfect location. I always went hunting with my dad but this day was the first day i was gonna be able to go by myself. I was so pumped and ready for a good day of hunting. It was November 8th, a saturday morning and my field and stream magazine had recommened to hunt this day. It was perfect, and the middle of the rut. So the game was on. I got into my stand about half an hour before sun rise, just enough time to get settled in and for the woods to settle down. It was a little windy but it was in the perfect direction. I was waiting and it seemed like forever till shooting time came around. Then the time came and not five minutes after time a nice 8 point buck rustled in the leaves not 20 yards behind me. I got my bow, stood up, and waited for him to walk behind a tree. I drew back and he walked into my shooting lane. I thought he was about ten yards away or so so i put my ten yard pin on his vitals. I let the arrow go and he jumped like he had gottin hit but it was still to dark to tell. So i sat back down and knocked another arrow. About 3 minutes later, a giant ten point buck was trotting to my right not 15 yards away. I stood up, made him stop, and shot him at ten yards. He ran down the gully and stopped. He acted like he wasnt hit so i was kinda mad and sad. Then all of a sudden he jolted to the left and fell in a creek bed about 20 steps from where he was standing. I waited a minute or so and he had not left the creek bed yet so i knew he was down. So i got out of my tree and went to go see if i had shot the first deer i saw that day but when i got to where he was standing when i shot, the arrow had missed him and he got away. So i went to the spot where i shot the 10 pointer and saw good heart and lung blood splattered on the ground. So i followed it and saw the giant laying twenty yards away from where i shot him. I yelled so loud im sure every deer around heard me. It was the best day of my life and a great start to the years to come of hunting by myself (no offense to my dad who got me started in the sport.)

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from hunter1849 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

When I was 12, I accompanied my dad, brother, and uncle on what would my first of many hunting trips. As the days grew fewer until I would be hunting, I grew more and more anxious. I read books, magazines, and watched all the hunting shows I could so I could tune my senses for the big day. My weapon of choice, a 12 gauge Remington pump action shot gun. As I packed my bags to leave, thoughts ran through my head of the day to come. Would I see a big buck? What would I do when I shot one? My dad, brother, and I all left for my grandma’s the night before the first day of the deer season. We arrived at my grandma’s and met my uncle Jim. We sat around for a little while and talked about previous hunts. As I laid in bed I could barely lay still. I tossed and turned all night. Minutes seemed to take hours. Then I was being shaken by my father to get up. We all got up out of bed and got ready to go. As we headed out to the farm, we discussed the plan for that day and where we all would be sitting. I would be sitting with my dad on the south side of the farm. It seemed like it was taking us forever to reach the farm, but it only took about fifteen minutes. As I stepped out of the car, I could feel the cool, crisp air on my face. I grabbed my camouflage suit and climbed into to it. Then my dad handed me my gun and told me to walk as quietly as I could. As we began to walk in to the woods I could smell the leaves and the plants. But the most pungent smell was the cows. About ten to fifteen minutes later we reached our stand. My dad told me to go ahead and climb up into it. He went and sat next to a tree not too far from where I was. As we sat there waiting, the anxiety kept building. Would I see a deer? Would it be a buck or a doe? Could I get a shot at it? Then the first shots of the season echoed through the woods. My dad said they had came from the farm next to us. At around 10:30 we started to walk across the farm to see what had happened. As we walked through the fields of grass and corn, we talked about my father’s many hunts on the farm. When we reached the other side of the farm, we found my uncle who told us Brad had shot a doe. My dad and uncle discussed what to do since it was approaching lunch time. We decided that my uncle would accompany me back across the farm to sit for a little longer while my dad helped my brother field dress the deer. My uncle told me that we were going to go sit on a hillside for about 45 minutes, and then we would go pick my dad and brother up. When we reached the hill, my uncle sat on the ground, and I climbed into a old, rotten stand that we didn’t use anymore. No more than ten minutes must have gone by when I saw it. A deer had run out into the field but was not coming our way. My uncle jumped up and started running up the hill and yelled for me to follow. I was unsure of where he was going at first, but the I realized he was heading for the dry dam. We ran at a dead sprint for about 200 yards, and then my uncle stopped. I kept running and passed by him to a opening on top of the hill. I couldn’t believe it there it was. The deer was just jumping the fence and heading up the hill towards me. I raised my gun to my face and felt the cold steel on my check. As I put my sights on the deer she spotted me. She made a sharp turn and cut into the hill where I couldn’t see her. Then boom, boom, my uncle shot and the deer turned back towards me. Still holding my gun and ready to shoot, the deer came my way. As soon as I got a clear shot, I squeezed the trigger and boom, my first shot at a deer rang out through the air. I pumped the gun as fast as I could, placed the sights again and boom. This time the deer fell to its knees. Again I pumped the gun and squeezed the trigger, hitting the deer once more. Somehow the deer was still not dead. My uncle then approached me and told me shoot the deer again, but this time I missed. He told me to wait and that he would go get his knife to slit the deer’s throat. The thought of that made me feel weird inside. Just the thought of holding a deer in my hands and cutting its throat upset me. Unable to find his knife, my uncle told me to shoot the deer again. This time I did not miss, and the deer fell over. We then field dressed the deer and dragged it up to the car and loaded it up. We went down the road to where my dad and brother were. We got out of the car, and they asked what had happened. We told them the story, and they both congratulated me. We took the deer to the check station and then went to lunch. I didn’t see anymore deer for the rest of that season. But it made me realize so much. It made me realize the power that you can hold in your hands. From that point on, I gained more respect for the animals and the land than I had ever had.

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Hunt For A Club Footed Hog
Sunday morning, I hunted a ground blind and what an awesome morning it was. At 7:00 the feeder went off and the birds flew in for breakfast. A Rio Grande turkey stood at 40 yards, and a five-point buck stood at 50. At eye level I watched the woods wake up -- a totally different view on the ground compared to the view from a tree stand. It was 27 degrees and I wore every piece of clothing I could pile on. Once the sun came up I started taking gear off. By noon, it was short sleeves and sunscreen -- now that's what I'm talking about.
I didn't harvest anything that first morning, but my husband took a nice hog. The games had begun and I couldn't wait for the afternoon hunt. We ate breakfast then walked the canals on the property, where we saw 26 havelina, 7 quail, 2 coyotes and countless deer.
That evening I hunted from a box blind, and the wind was perfect. I sat down and a hog came in like it was on a string. I got my bow and hooked my release on the string, but a chill hit the back of my neck as the wind shifted, and with a grunt the hog was gone. Just before dark a large boar came in then moved off again, growling at me all the while.
Monday morning I got dropped off at a ladder stand. Two deer moved in then a big black hog stood behind some brush. As he moved closer I drew my Mathews. Between the cold and the close quarters I strained -- finally it broke and the hog stood facing me. I held forever but he just would not move for a broadside shot. He ran off into the brush and I was able to let off my bow. Around 7:00 the hog came back out and I drew. He turned, a perfect quartering away shot and I let my arrow fly. Smack as my Muzzy made impact. He turned, ran and disappeared. I saw the brush moving as he crashed deep into it and then there was dead silence. I called Rob [the outfitter owner], and told him I was pretty sure where the hog lay.
At 9:00, my "retrievers" came to help, but there was no sign right away and that's always disheartening. I never truly celebrate until I have my hands on the animal. We went to where I saw the brush last move. No hog and no sign. Scott and Rob arrived, and soon Scott yelled, "I got it!" I did a war whoop and pushed my way through the brush. It was a good shot and the Muzzy did its job on his vitals. He'd probably gone 75 yards from where I'd made the shot.

When that hog had come in earlier, I'd noticed it was limping. Now we saw that it had what appeared to be a club foot. I was really excited when we found my hog as I had noticed it had good sized cutter and that they were larger than the ones on the hog Scott had harvested. Little did I know that in the back of the truck was a hog that Scott had shot with HUGE cutters.
Hunting hogs in Texas is a great way to break up the cold winters in Michigan. We have found a great outfitter that has the hogs. Good food, good people and lots of animal to hunt….and 90 degree weather. JB

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I just wanted to say that there is SO much more that goes with this story and I wish I could share all 4493 words of it with you.
I have submitted it for possible publication under the title
The Day Danger Came To The Feeder and you would NOT believe what came to the feeder that day!! I guarantee that that hunt is not for the faint of heart and I shutter when I think of how it could have turned out.
Maybe someday I can share the rest of the story.=)
JB

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from danielwms wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Turkey Story

Damned if he didn’t give me a hug.
My world was white and deaf, but Don Cota was hopping up and down in the doghouse yelling, “You got him!”
We scrambled out and tramped through meadow grass to the turkey, with Cota pacing off the distance: 45 yards.
Before 7 a.m. on my first day as a hunter, my very first shot had found its mark. Before nightfall, I would eat the first thing I had ever harvested with a gun.
Wind the clock back three weeks. Two dozen people fill an indoor target range converted to a classroom at Rick’s Gun Shop in East Burke in northeastern Vermont. Most are children. One is celebrating his ninth birthday. At 52, I’m the second-oldest student in the hunter safety class.
We are listening to Don Cota go over the rules of handling a firearm. Always maintain muzzle control. Assume every gun is loaded. Know your target and what lies beyond. If someone carries a gun with a finger on the trigger, the hunter education manual instructs us to say, “That’s how guns go off by accident.” If the warning doesn’t work, we are to get a new partner.
Cota is more direct: “If I see you with your finger on the trigger, I’ll break your finger off, okay?”
Cota shows us an instructional movie from the 1960s. (“I’ve never liked this video but I have to show it.”) Two teens are cavorting outside with a rifle – firing wildly, jumping with the weapon, being jerks. Sure enough, one boy shoots the other. The movie solemnly informs you he was just 15.
Cota says there are no accidents in hunting. If you act unsafely, “you’re setting yourself up to fail.”
He shows a video about wild turkeys, which were reintroduced to Vermont successfully in the late 1960s. He tells us the spring hunting season, just around the corner in May, is timed for when the hens are on the nest.
“I strongly recommend you don’t go turkey hunting – you get addicted to it,” Cota says. During question-and-answer time, I ask if there are any turkeys on state lands. Cota gives me a look. He’s just finished explaining that turkeys prefer farmland.
“Groton State Forest has birds,” he says doubtfully. “Do you know anybody who turkey-hunts?”
I say I don’t.
“You’re just going to go do it?”
I say sure.
“Good luck,” he says, shaking his head.
The class troops outside for a field-dressing demonstration, and Cota takes me aside.
“You’ve never hunted before?” he asks.
I tell him I moved here from Atlanta. That seems to explain everything. He gives me his card and tells me to call if I’d like to go turkey hunting. “Don’t buy a gun. You can use mine.”
Three weeks later. Cota and I sat in a doghouse on property belonging to a friend of his, waiting for daylight to arrive. The law says you can start hunting 30 minutes before sunrise.
“A rule of thumb I always use is, when I can look down and identify what kind of leaf is at my feet,” Cota said. “When I can see it clearly enough it’s light enough to be calling.”
The weather was chilly and I had dressed for warmer temperatures. Cota loaned me a camouflage jacket. We sat silently in the doghouse, listening to outdoor sounds.
Cota tried a few of his calls. He slipped a diaphragm call into his mouth and let out a reedy yelp. He rubbed a striker against a slate pot and produced a raspy shudder.
“Usually I get them going with the mouth call,” Cota said. “You’re trying to be a hen calling to the gobbler. When he gets to the edge of the field, I change and start hitting him with my other call. So now he thinks there are two of them there, and that doubles the excitement. Now he says, ‘Holy mackerel, this is good.’”
Nothing worked.
“We can waste our time somewhere else,” Cota said.
Trooping down to his truck, I asked about the wildlife we’d heard.
The drumming noise?
“Woodpecker.”
That eerie, low moan?
“Cow.”
Cota drove to a relative’s farm. We were scaling a hillside orchard when he braked and whispered, “Look.”
Up ahead, a colorful gobbler stalked bugs on a meadow that fringed a wood. We parked 100 or so yards downhill and set off on foot to flank the turkey on the right. As luck would have it, Cota had prepositioned a doghouse directly in the turkey’s path.
This time, his turkey call was answered by the real thing. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Cota’s second call produced a second gobble-gobble – closer this time. Cota carefully handed me his Winchester Super X2.
The turkey came into view through a port in the doghouse. I pointed the barrel through the next window on the right and waited for the bird, silently repeating the advice Cota had given me about using the shotgun’s turkey scope: “Put his head in the diamond and squeeze the trigger.”
Blam.
On our way to the game-reporting station, Cota marvels at my luck. Every year, he guides for a Texan bent on shooting a turkey in each of the 50 states. “This is the third time that he came out and the third time we didn’t do it.” Cota himself will hunt all but three days of the month-long turkey season and only bag a juvenile male, or jake.
The bird weighs in at 16 ½ pounds. Its spur measures 1 ¾ inches. The beard that sprouts from its chest is 9 inches long.
That night, I baked the thighs and legs with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. The skinless meat was dry and tough. Perhaps I cooked it too long. I had better luck with the breast meat. Wild turkey burritos taste just fine.

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from benjismokin wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Scattered oaks formed an archway as the slanted off the sides of two small knolls. You could see the glimmer from the pond in the front yard and hear the gentle roll of the water from the small creek. If Heaven had a sound, this was it. Its strange when you think about it, for miles the deeper you went the darker and creepier it got, but then all of a sudden, a clearing! With the bright sky in front of me it was hard to make out the small red roof of the cabin, but I knew it wasn’t far. I made my way to the creek where the rickety old bridge was and decided now was a good time as any to grab some fresh water. The creek was spring fed, straight from the hills, and after a little boiling for good measure, you got some of the best water in the world!
To give the place a little run down before I got into unpacking, I decided to see what changes were made from the lack of attention this place got. Some trees had blown over and made it a little harder to reach the shed, but I had all the fire wood I needed. I made my way around the trees to check the damage and to my surprise the tress totally missed the shed! I unlocked the rusted paddle-lock and opened the door. Inside looked the same way it did 8 years ago. The canoe was in the back filled with the fishing gear and all the tool boxes were still there, plus I had enough materials to build another shack! I thought I lucked out and had it pretty easy so far. That was until I ventured forth to the cabin.
Now the cabin was nothing to write home to mother about. Time had really did a number to this poor old building and I had a lot of work to do to get her back into shape. The door had completely fallen off and the little porch was caved in. Two of the four windows were broke, the west wall and some patch work that was in dire need of help and the roof was unsound at best, and that was just from looking at the outside. I managed to make my way inside and noticed the critters did a good job on the place as well. The bunks were chewed and torn, all the water from the leaky roof made the floor rotten in spots. I was glad now that I had chose to take the longer vacation!

Spring and summer had took control over the years and the trail was pretty grown over since my last trip here. There was a little "deer" trail that was barely visible that went straight into the heart of the overgrown backwoods. It was like a picture from a story book, a mystical entrance to an enchanted, undiscovered world. I knew from here it was about another 3 miles down the trail before the river and I wondered what good ol' mother nature had done to our crossing point?
I continued on my way through the dense woods following what I could of the trail. The deeper I went the more the trail disappeared. I began to think to myself that I could get lost in this thick maze of hardwoods. There were times that the sun broke through the canopy of the tree tops and it looked as if God himself was reaching down and blessing this wonderful piece of land. It was beautiful!
The woods this time of year are full of busy critters all getting ready for the winter to come. Squirrels were causing all kinds of ruckus as they scurried through the leaves, chasing and screaming at each other. Birds were quickly darting all over, weaving and turning in and out of cover like the turns of a race track. Its as if there is some sort of magical switch that makes the woods just come alive.

After sitting in the stand for nearly three hours while the weather played its own sort of game with my emotions and I was almost took over by tears by the sight of this beautiful land. Nothing else could get any better!

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from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

THE FACE OF THUNDER

I realize a man can see a lot as he looks into a campfire, as long as he keeps an open mind, and is willing to accept the truth of compunction that pricks the mind like a needle.

It’s odd how one can become emotionally attached to the land that a man farms and hunts. It’s late October and there are times when life seems little more than a matter of struggle and endurance, when difficulty and disappointment form a hardened crust around my heart … yet there is a place that is unprotected that beauty and greatness can always grow, as the leaves of yesterday fall from the winds of change.

The gentle breeze gave new life to the dying embers of the campfire I had started several hours ago. Contemplation beside a campfire has a way of inducing much needed sleep for tomorrows hunt and adventure.

I was hunting a farm that didn’t have any pressure. I camped in the hunter’s shanty to avoid the long drive in the wee hours of the morning. This remote farm has 110-acres, mostly cleared land with hardwoods up the middle of the property, with a dense 3-acre area of cedars clustered together just outside of the hardwoods. There is also a 3-acre lake, with a small pond situated on a point overlooking the fields.

At first light, a frightened 10-pointer stepped out of the cedars, and hesitated. A gun shot went off in the distance. The buck busted loose from the cedars and made a dash for safety. He headed straight for my position when I noticed the left side of his rack was missing!

This was one ugly buck! Certainly a fighter and definitely not a lover! I raised my arm and prepared my rifle for collision. This buck was running up hill as fast as his whitetail hoofs could go. He was closing in like a freight train, as I lay on the ground with my rifle and bi-pod. My bullet is about to go ballistic.

Raising my arm probably kept me from getting trampled by the run away beast.It was “an exit stage left” when I got a better look at the buck’s best side, as he bounded from the confines of the open field. He was up and over the neighbor’s fence at full tilt, disappearing as he sped off for distant parts.

The rest of the morning, my eyes slowly scanned the distant fence lines through my scope, looking for body parts of deer. I noticed the beauty in the wind and the woods that have brought the light that I have learned to trust and the breeze that blows through my beard. The sun begins to lower itself, as I begin to snack and plan the evening hunt.

I breathe in the day’s fresh air and slowly exhale as I say a prayer. Wisdom grows and I learn to let the beauty of nature lead me to the presence of God. Though my discovery of God began in my spirit, for most of us it begins in the world outside of us.

I back tracked on the ridge I was snacking on. It would take me to a point that drops down to a creek bed that leads to the lake. I often see does here at sundown. The other side of the creek goes straight up to the pond. I arrived and looked into the creek bed and spied a wide rack buck standing there. Feverishly, I sat down, took a deep breath and readied my gun for the buck to walk up the hill.

Across the creek at eye level I saw movement from another deer. Then I saw the genetic giant! This giant walked parallel to the creek about 150 yards away. The tree between us still had foliage so my view was diminished. I grabbed my binoculars to examine the deer. When he stepped into view, I dropped the binoculars, grabbed my gun and placed my scope on him.

Words dilute the essence of this magnificent, genetic giant that appeared just 147 yards away. This was the most muscular deer my eyes had ever seen, with proportions as massive as a body builder on steroids. Each side of his rack had five tines that were fourteen to eighteen inches long each. They were dark in color, thicker than a broomstick, symmetrically perfect, curving inward towards the top, with four inch tips that were the color of wheat. This buck had a twenty-five inch plus spread. I was in awe. His rack reminded me of a Native Indian’s headdress, a full eagle-feather warbonnet!

He had to turn slightly in either direction for me to consider a shot. Cocking the hammer, he started to walk up to the pond. He turned to look back at the wide rack buck that was still standing in the creek. I had less than ten minutes of subdued light permeating through my scope. This creature mesmerized his captive audience by the sheer power of his presence. I squeezed the trigger. I squeezed harder as the report of the gun sounded off. I had missed the magnificent giant! Without a flinch, he turned to face the smoke that had produced the sound of thunder. I’ll never forget the vexation in his eyes as they penetrated my gaze.

He ran up to the pond, hesitated and sprinted for the dam. Lo and behold, could it be that this genetic giant has a twin brother? Sure enough, his twin came out of hiding and followed his brother down the hill across the dam of the lake. They stumbled over each other as they made there way, never to be seen together again by these grateful eyes.

I sit and I wonder sometimes what the genetic giant thought as he turned to view the source of thunder that he had heard many times before. This time was different, thunder had a face, and it was mine.

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from rweedin wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I have always been a waterfowl hunter. My father taught me the trade when I was 10 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve got two sisters, and let’s just say they’re both “girly girls.” They don’t like the sight of dead birds, don’t enjoy the cold winter mornings, and they definitely do not like the getting up early part. One thing they do like though, music. They’re both trumpet players and for some reason I thought that might make them good duck callers. So, I bought my youngest sister a cheap Primos, gave her an instructional CD, and off she went.
It had been about a month and the season was coming to a close. Most of the water around was frozen and I had taken to sleeping in rather than breaking ice. Friday night, she came and asked if I was going hunting in the morning. I thought it odd that she asked but said “yeah probably.” Then she asked if she could go with me and call. I was shocked, but enthusiastically accepted.
It was a blisteringly cold day, but we went. I broke ice in the morning, opened up a small hole, and put about a half dozen mallards in it. I hadn’t scouted in a few weeks and was not optimistic about our chances, but still I couldn’t help being excited. Sunrise came and went, nothing. I gave her the usual reasons to stay. “It’s probably only Mallards left this late. They’re late flyers.” I’m not sure if I was trying to convince her or myself.
About 9:30 I heard wings, Mallards, but high. Very high. Knowing it may be the only ducks we see all day I turned and said, “Let’s see what you got.” She blew the most amazing hail call I had ever heard. She made that cheap call sing as if it were being blown by a world champion caller. I looked at her, shocked, and completely poised she said to me, “Get your face down, they’re coming.” 8 Mallards came spiraling down like a tornado. She blew a few single quacks and a feeder. I was beyond dumbfounded; luckily I had to focus on these birds because I was too speechless to talk.
Sadly, I only took one drake out of that group. She didn’t have a gun so it was our lone bird that day. I only wish my shooting had been as perfect as her calling. She hasn’t gone out with me since that morning. I wish she’d come more often, I might get more ducks in the spread, but that is truly a hunt that I’ll never forget.

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Good luck Rick, Hope you win one for the boys!

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Good job del.

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from Derrit wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I went hunting one morning and just as the sun was rising I saw a nice looking deer with a decent rack-I pulled the trigger and the deer went down. I field dressed him, skinned him, cut up the meat, cooked and ate him. The end.

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

A Story of Redemption

My story begins with a giant buck standing 15 yards from my treestand. As I draw my bow three doe bedded almost directly beneath my stand see my movement and bolt. The big buck also took off but stopped, broadside, about 40 yards away.

After 25 years of bowhunting I prided myself with my shooting ability. I had very simple rules. Never take a shot that is obstructed, never shoot at a moving deer and never take a shot over 30 yards. I've experienced many good clean kills by following these rules but don't get me wrong. I can lay 5 arrows in a dollar bill at 40 yards but dollar bills don't move or jump strings.

Back to my treestand. I had a majestic buck standing broadside at 40 yards in the open. My bow was at full draw. The experienced hunter in me said not to shoot but I watched this buck for 30 minutes before he finally came into range. I was pumped up, excited and full of anticipation that needed released. I let the arrow fly.

I spent the next three months searching. I walked every woods, every field, every swamp within miles. I walked for hours day after day. With each step I cursed myself for taking the shot. It was my worse nightmare. I had wounded the most beautiful animal I had every seen in the woods. After months of searching and cursing I had convinced myself my bowhunting days were over.

Two years later I receive a call at my office. It was my son. He wanted me to hunt the evening stand with him. My son had taken a very nice buck on opening day but we still needed meat for the freezer. For years I would relish our time together in the woods and looked forward to every moment but since that time 2 years prior I didn't feel worthy. A deer deserved better than me.

I spent all summer shooting my bow and felt ready for the woods. Besides, it wouldn't hurt to have a little meat in the freezer. My son suggested I sit in the same stand on the ridge where I shot the big one. As I sat in my stand several doe walk in. I was waiting for a good shot when I see movement. It was another monster buck just 15 yards away. I draw my bow. The buck was standing still. My 15 yard pin floated over the vitals but there was a problem. A stick the size of my thumb cut diagonally across the lungs of the deer.

My mind raced back to two years ago. It wasn't going to happen again. I held the bow as long as I could. It was either let the arrow fly or let the buck walk. My pin was still floating over the kill zone. The stick was still there. It was a chip shot but I let my bow down.

I instantly felt releif. All of my demons had passed. I was tested by this buck and I had passed. I just let the largest buck I had ever seen walk and I felt great. When I let my bow down the woods erupted with whitetails bouncing through the woods. I was so fixed on this buck I had never seen the other 6 deer walk to my stand. I turned my head and watched them run away. At that moment I knew it was over. The sound of running deer, breaking branches and snorting filled the woods.

At this point I was satisfied. I was given an opportunity to prove myself and won. I even felt lucky. The world was good again. The nightmare of 2 years ago was erased and I couldn't have been happier. I thought. I looked down and he was still there. Except he had taken a step forward and was clearly open. At this point years of practice took over. I cannot remember releasing the arrow or even putting the pin on the lungs. The giant ran off and stopped 30 yards away. His tail flicked. He turned his head and looked back at me then softly laid on the leaves. 195 1/8 BC.

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from tskive wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

"Out West"
This story happened to my step-father, and I will repeat it here just as I was told it.

The ride from Michigan to Wyoming was uneventful. That is the way that I like my roadtrips. I want nothing to take away from the beautiful kaleidiscope of scenery. As I stared out the window I daydreamed about past hunts, the 14 point whitetail out of Alberta, the 8x8 Mulie from Colarado, and the Javelina that I took with a crossbow in Georgia. Lately though I have been drawn out west. I know that I have already taken three Elk from this paradise known as, "The American West" but I cannot stay away from the hidden mountain streams, the beautiful snow falling on a forest of fir trees, or the small lakes hidden deep in the mountains.
We arrive at a trailhead where there is a Ford F-250 Powerstroke hooked up to a large horse trailer. They are waiting for us, perfect. We load up all of our gear on the pack animals. I take special care loading up my primary rifle, an ancient Winchester Model 70 chambered on .308. This rifle was my fathers before he passed, and I have taken many magnificent specimens with it. It has lived up to its Jack O'Conner given moniker, "The Rifleman's Rifle." I loved that rifle, but this hunt I wanted to try something different, so I brought along my Ruger Super Redhawk chambered in .454 Casull. Now I just had to work up the courage to use it.
The trip into our base camp was was passing as fast as the fading daylight. With the snow falling at twilight, a more beautiful scene could not be imagined. Just as the light really began to fade we came to a pass on the mountain. With sheer rock walls shooting 100ft up into the air on our left and a comlete drop off of 200-500 ft on the right I could not have been more nervous. Then, for a reason known only to God my horse, aptly named bucky, bucked me off. I missed falling into the abyss by mere inches, my rifle was not so lucky.
Hunting with my Casull was not the dream that I pictured it to be. The only good thing was that it weighed less. Eventually, I got close enough to an Elk to take my shot. As the noble 4x5 bugled into the morning fog on the side of the mountain, I oulled the trigger. As soon as the deafening echoes subsided, I saw the magnificent creature collapse. After 10 hours of packing the beast out I could finally relax. Leaning up against a huge log with my feet stretched out by the fire all I could think about were the stars. They twinkled like so many distant campfires. I wondered if the people around them were all as content as I was. Soon my guide Flannery brought me out of my reverie with a plate of Elk backstraps grilled over the campfire and a flask of Johnny Walker. I cannot wait until next year.

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from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I am an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman in general, and I'm also a game warden. As a wildlife officer I have the opportunity to meet some of the greatest people in the world when I talk to hunters and fishermen while I'm working. This past weekend was the opening weekend for the plains deer season in Colorado. I worked the morning hunt and talked to about a dozen people, some who had been successful in harvesting a deer, other who hadn't, but weren't quitting yet... The evening of the opening day of the deer season, I had a benefit dinner to attend for my wife's uncle, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Miloma, a form of cancer that I have no idea what it means, but no cancer is good cancer if you ask me. Regardless, I attended the dinner and spoke with friends and family for a short while, then returned to work to see if I could talk to more hunters in the evening.

At about 7:45 p.m. I stopped into one of my normal hunter's homes out in the prairie. He, his wife, and three of their close friends had all been hunting that day and I wanted to see if they had harvested any deer and tell them hello. In the short time that I have been working in this area in Colorado, these people have become very good friends and great company. As I pulled into the driveway, the group pulled in from the other direction at nearly the exact same time that I did. They all got out of the vehicles and I think the first thing they said is "are you going to eat with us?" which, most of the time, is one of the best things there is to do with my hunters.

I told Chris, the owner of the home, that I had just attended a benefit dinner for my wife's uncle that had just been diagnosed with cancer, so I was not hungry. Chris asked me how old he is, and I replied "52 or 53".

Not another word was said by Chris before he pulled out his wallet and handed me a $50 bill. I was both setback and moved by his gesture, but told him that was not necessary as he had never before met this man and he works hard for his money. He would not let me say no and insisted that I take the donation. I accepted the money and thanked him. I also told him that even though I had just eaten, I would stay to talk to everyone for a bit.

As I entered the home, Chris's wife was working on the lobster tail near the sink, and the other three hunters were all huddled in the kitchen awaiting the feast that was coming forth. Chris followed me in and the first thing he said was "his wife's uncle was just diagnosed with cancer and he has been at a benefit dinner for him in town."

With that said, three other men pulled wallets from their pockets and began handing me money. I again told them that they didn't need to be giving me money, but none of them would have any word of it. I left that home with $150 in donation money for a person that not a single one of the people in that house had ever seen nor knew existed until that evening.

I wanted everyone to hear this story because I think we often forget how many good people there are in the world. All we ever hear about is the people that are doing bad things, and I think people should be recognized for the good they do. $150 may not seem like much, but it is a world and a life to someone who feels like their life is falling apart - especially when it comes form places that they would never expect it. God Bless everyone.

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