July 28, 2011
The dictionary defines perseverance as: a steady persistence in a course of action, particularly in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.
You might be challenged to find a better example of this than Craig Chamblee.
First, we will go backwards in time, to the early 1970's...
A father cleans his gun and prepares to put it away, when the absolute unthinkable happens. We will never know, but somehow, mistakes are made; a round is left in the chamber and an accidental discharge occurs. A nine-year-old child hears the sharp report of the gun and rushes into the room to find his father taking his last breaths.
With this indelible image imprinted in his brain, one that Craig will admittedly never shake, we would assume that his child and eventually as a grown man, would shun firearms and channel his interests elsewhere. Right?
Craig is a hunter and firearm lover, one who takes his firearms and accuracy very seriously. He is also a lifelong hunter with some good bucks to his credit - at least one of which will push the 120 - 125-inch mark.
A welder by trade, Craig has worked in some perilous situations.
A rush to get a job completed before a storm sets in, a supervisor who will not permit the time needed to fasten a safety belt, the sickening sway of a ladder and nearly fifty feet of open air between Craig and the ground.
The chance of escaping this without major injury is minimal and this accident was no exception and the law of averages finally caught up with Craig.
It's a wonder that his life isn't lost, and with three years out of work and a permanent disability in his arm (the arm works but is rated at a 27% loss of use), Craig has hit a serious bump in the road.
This didn't stop him from hunting though. Gone is the bow as the disabilities will not permit it. And with a genuine (and well founded) fear of heights, climbing tree stands are traded in for well scouted hunting positions on the ground.
It's now the 2010 deer season in Jones County, Georgia, which is located almost directly in the center of the state and is home to less than 30,000 residents.
Craig is hunting on his brother's land. It's just over 70 acres, almost all wooded and he's identified some very good areas while scouting the property.
Craig locates several promising areas but one keeps coming back to him; it's an area where several prominent rubs are located and after some mental debate with several areas in his mind, Craig finally decides where he'll hunt on opening day - the area with the tormented trees.
The light of dawn arrives on the morning of the deer opener and from his blind, Craig prepares in his mental checklist, ticking off each item as he starts his hunt. He reaches for his rifle for inspection and looks at the recently purchased Browning A-Bolt Medallion, which is chambered in 7mm-08.
Craig takes a glance through the scope just to make sure the lenses are clean. He finds the reticle adjustment just barely out of his preferred settings and while he is correcting this, sees a squirrel move in the trees. Glancing up from the scope to take a quick look at the squirrel, Craig is stunned.
A buck is less than 20 yards from the blind!!
Craig can see the right side of the rack and immediately knows that this buck is a shooter. With no time to waste, the buck is moving and is literally just steps from the dense thicket edge that will surely spell his freedom!
Fortunately, the rifle is already in his hands and the bullet strikes the deer nearly broadside and the massive Jones County buck stumbles forward just a few yards and collapses well within sight of the blind.
Knowing that this is a good buck, the excitement starts to build in the 47-year-old hunter. Finally, the initial excitement boils over into some good, old fashion delight; making sure the safety is engaged, Craig doesn't use the rear door of the blind to exit, he climbs out of the front window of the blind, nearly falling flat on his face in the process!
Buck fever finally arrives and when it does Craig is felled to his knees by the phenomenon and can only sit, shaking and staring at the buck he has just taken.
"Thank God", Craig thinks, "that I did NOT see both sides of his rack... I would have fainted"!
The buck featured 15 points, a rough score of 165 inches, a non-typical rack with a great drop tine and a 19 3/4-inch outside spread. The bases are 5 2/8 inches and on the side with the drop tine is 8 4/8 inches.
Craig Chamblee of Jones County, Georgia knows about perseverance and is a real life example of this aspect of the human spirit.
Way to go, Craig!
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