THAT OLD DEER.
"You going to get that old stinky deer today, Daddy?" my son asked with smiling eyes.
"I'm going to try, Bubba!" I laughed back.
My son recently had picked up on the way I talk and had adopted it for his own use. It seems that when I'm with him, I'm always calling something "old," "stinky" or "silly." Really, I'm just trying to make my son laugh. Along the way, he's decided that's actually how people talk.
I'd been hunting for a few years, but I'd never got that old deer. Or that young deer. Or any other kind of deer. I hadn't even got a turkey, goose or squirrel, for that matter. I'd hunted all of them, yet never had brought home anything.
The kill isn't why I hunt. I go for the serenity of the woods and the majesty of the outdoors. Enjoying nature's beautiful scenery for a few hours on a Saturday morning is enough. The time I spend hunting seems to make everything feel right with the world.
Sadly, as is the case with many other hunters, my Saturdays in the woods are too few and far between. As I try to juggle work, family, college football and flying airplanes, my Saturdays get booked up fast. Thus, it was a long time before I ever got a shot at a whitetail, despite my son cheering me on.
There's never been a specific deer I've been after, either. I wish I could talk about the bucks I've followed for years on trail camera. It would be great to say I've passed big ones, just to let them become giants. Sure, I'd love to stockpile shed antlers from target bucks year after year.
But none of it has happened yet. I'm just your Average Joe Hunter, and I'm fine with that. I love it just as much as the pros do. One day I'll have more time and more land to hunt. One day I'll be the guy who shoots the Pope & Young buck and displays the pictures and mount proudly. But until then, I'll just keep on hunting.
It was a beautiful fall morning, and I had just enough time in my schedule to sneak into the woods for a few hours of hunting. Despite my poor track record, I still get excited about the opportunity to see wild deer.
I settled in behind my Ghost Blind and allowed the woods to come to rest. Pretty soon, I was at peace in nature. So imagine my complete surprise when, minutes later, I looked up and saw a doe standing in range!
She was the first one to ever stand close enough for me to attempt a shot at. And because I'd sat through so many actionless sits, I couldn't believe how well I managed my excitement. I was pretty calm when I sent a good shot through the doe and dropped her in her tracks.
When I walked inside my house, my son was playing with his toy airplane.
"Hey, buddy," I began. "I shot that old deer."
"You did?" he asked in excitement. "You finally got him?"
I'll never forget his running over to me and giving me a congratulatory hug. To me, that was as much a trophy as anything could be.
BY JERRY ZIEGLER
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