November 20, 2007
BuckTracker: For Which We Give Thanks
By Scott Bestul
Today’s BuckTracker profile is special to me on a couple of levels. Like most of my entries, it features a great big deer. But this hunting tale also features a close friend of mine who is facing one of the toughest trials of his life. Bob Briggs is my former dentist (now retired), who also owns a gorgeous farm near my home in southeastern Minnesota. Bob has allowed me to bow hunt his place for several years, and wandering this wildlife paradise is a privilege I hold dear. And I have plenty of company; Bob lets several of his close friends hunt there, and his generosity is appreciated by us all.
Late this summer, Bob was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The prognosis was not good, but Bob was one of the lucky few with this particular form of cancer that could at least be treated. He was operated on shortly after diagnosis, and spent several weeks recovering. Bob missed the entire archery season, but rebounded in time for Minnesota’s first gun season.
Five days into the hunt, he scored on this incredible whitetail, a 165-inch monster that he shot with his muzzleloader. It is his largest buck ever, and he shot it from a ladder stand that we placed together this summer. The stand was also near a waterhole my hunting partner and I dug for our friend.
You’ll note the greenery in the buck’s mouth. This was placed there by Bob’s friends from Germany, who annually hunt with him in Minnesota. The European tradition of placing greenery in the mouths of the game they kill is one the entire group observes as they trade hunts in their respective countries each year.
Shortly after I write this, Bob and his wife Sue are leaving for Seattle, where he will undergo nine weeks of highly aggressive chemo-therapy, followed by a series of radiation treatments. As so many of us know, cancer is not a disease that respects the good, the kind, or even those who lead a healthy lifestyle, and my friend is an example of that. I know no one I’m prouder to call my friend, and I hope all Buck Tracker readers will join me in wishing Bob the best of luck in the weeks ahead.
Date: November 8, 2007
Location: Winona County, Minnesota
Weight: 220 lbs, field dressed
Green Score: 165-1/4” B&C
Shot Distance: 25 yards
Method: Ladder stand