April 12, 2022
Breaking News Buck
When I was nine years old, I would watch my father gear-up for the upcoming whitetail season. At such a young age, I had little deer hunting experience. I often hunted with my family during the September dove season and loved every minute of it. Eventually, I’d sit with my dad while he hunted from a tree stand. My father’s influence on me when I was young shaped me into the hunter I am today.
My father loved introducing people to hunting. I often came home from school and had people over to watch the Outdoor Channel. Our house was practically a hunting lodge all year. In the summer, we would have friends and family over to shoot bows nearly every evening while my father grilled. It was a paradise for anyone who loved the outdoors.
My father watched everyone around him (many who he mentored) have major success deer hunting; however, he never did. He would hunt hard and smart, but nothing seemed to go his way. He shot a few respectable deer over the years that made him happy. Some people would give him a hard time about it, but he never let it phase him. He always knew that his moment would come when the time was right. Sure enough, it did.
In 2020, Dad gained permission on a small, 40-acre property. As soon as he saw the property, he knew he could harvest a nice whitetail there.
He also had permission on another piece of property that was closer to town. Because of Dad’s health, it made more sense for him to hunt closer to town. In 2016, my dad was diagnosed with a rare disease called Lupus. Lupus targets your joints, causes pain in your muscles, hair loss and much more. There are times when he can’t get out of bed from being so sore. Despite the pain, he works hard and makes the best of each day.
On November 12, my father was hunting a specific buck on the property closer to town. That evening he decided to leave his gear in the tree stand, so the walk would be easier the next morning.
Right before Dad’s morning alarm went off, he received a picture from his cell camera on the property further from town of a huge deer. He hunted close to town that morning, and he sent me the picture of the huge buck. I immediately called him and said I thought this deer could score 170 inches.
The wind was perfect, so Dad headed over early for the evening hunt. At 6:00 p.m., my phone rang, and it was Dad. When I answered, he quietly said, “He’s dead.”
After 20-plus years of archery hunting, it finally happened! I watched Dad struggle hunting for years, then I watched his struggle with Lupus. When you see your role model who struggles every day finally achieve his dream, it is emotional.
We decided to recover the deer together. I will never forget walking up to his deer and seeing it for the first time. Dad slowly kneeled down, took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts. Then he held the largest whitetail he has ever shot. He was speechless. It was a long time coming for Dad, and I can’t think of a more deserving hunter to harvest such an amazing animal.
When we got back to the house, friends and family arrived to congratulate the man who introduced many of them to the outdoors. Once the excitement settled, we decided to score the deer. While Dad walked around retelling his story, my cousin Dane and I scored the buck. Everyone had their guesses, the highest being 179. However, I was shocked when I added the numbers.
We green-scored the deer at 183 3/8 inches. It was by far the largest typical any of us had seen. Best of all, the buck belongs to the man who introduced us to hunting: my father.