November 18, 2012

Hoping for some luck with birthday bucks

A friend of mine in the hunting business always says that hunters are made, not born. I agree.

Like many of my fellow hunters, I was born into a deer-hunting family. But somewhere along the way I had to get the itch. I’m pretty sure that happened on my 4th birthday.

Let’s just say my birthday is in mid-November and thus in the heart of deer season. As we age, birthdays become much less significant, but I’ll admit that I look forward to hunting on my birthday and through the years it’s been a productive day for our crew.

It was on my 4th birthday that my father shot his first buck: a fine 8-pointer that now hangs on my wall. So as far back as I can remember, hunting and my birthday were synonymous.

On the day I turned 10, I was allowed to join the big family hunting party for the first time.

At my mother’s insistence, I was way over-dressed on this gray November day with snow on the ground. My oldest brother, Bill, took me on a deer drive and pretty much wore me out. Then we heard a gun shot and a few minutes later three more shots that weren’t as loud.

“Uncle Duff got a deer,” Bill said.

Our Uncle Duff was a local legend and was the leader of the hunting party.

Whenever he shot a buck he’d fire off a few shots from his .22 pistol. Although he would hunt for another 20 years, this spike horn he shot that day would be the last buck he would tie his tag to. And it happened on my birthday.

Fast forward to my teenage years when my cousin Kyle and I, who are the same age, were the young rascals of our hunting party. We hadn’t seen a buck all year when Kyle got a monster 10-pointer. The wind was howling that day and I was the only one that heard the shot and the first to find Kyle and the buck. That was on my birthday, too.

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