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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading MrBs post about wanting stories. Thought I would submit this one. Hope you enjoy.

The Grandpa Buck

Strange how things unfold in your life. As a child, there were no hunters in my family. Mostly city-slickers who enjoyed the occasional walk in the metro-parks to observe what little wildlife a metro area could offer. My Grandparents however, were firm believers in getting me exposed to nature. Little did they realize they were opening a Pandora's box of what would become my deer hunting future. I'll never forget my first walk with them.

I was young, maybe 7 or 8. It was cold, a dusting of snow on the ground and we had finished walking. Grandpa tucked me in the backseat and he began driving the back-roads that twisted and turned through the parks. They would laugh and say "get on your eagle eyes and let's find some deer". Looking back it seemed like I saw hundreds of deer and would point and shout when in reality I'm sure it was only a few. Those few were the beginning of something special.

Fast forward to my young adult life and bowhunting had become a passion. Between school and odd jobs I got out when I had time and had a small buck and some does under my belt. I would see Grandpa regularly and the initial interaction was a groundhogs day, mirror image of the the time before... A big one handed slap on my shoulder and a Santa-like laugh with a "Helllloo Mr. Jason!!" The conversation always turned to deer hunting. Not a hunter himself but the man just had a way of making me feel like he'd done it all before.

In November 1999, I moved away from home for my career. It's a career path that he also paved for me to travel but that is another story. With my new career I was able to travel and spend more time in the deer woods then I ever dreamed possible. Every year became more and more obsessive. And every year I would spend the last days of my trip at home hunting the woods I cut my teeth on. Of course, looking forward to that familiar one handed slap on the shoulder.

September is usually one the craziest months of the year for me. I usually book myself solid with shifts trying to build up the time to take off of work for my annual trip. 2006 changed everything though. Going from one of the busiest to the saddest. Grandpa passed away that September and it was tough one. The man that (intentionally or not) started my hunting career AS WELL as my professional career was gone. This hunting season was going to be a bitter sweet one.

Late October, 2006 and I have finished my last 24 hour shift of work before vacation starts. Heading to my house I keep going over everything mentally trying not to forget anything. I get home, pack, check and re-check everything, fuel up the truck and it's off to bed before my long drive.

I hardly ever remember dreams. When I do, there are 2 kinds: the ones where I'm watching myself as if I'm watching a movie or the one where I'm seeing everything through my own eyes. This particular one was the latter. I'm standing in my Grandparents dining room. The smell is so familiar. I have my back to the kitchen and I can see a framed picture of a deer in snow that they put up because it reminded them of our walks. Nearby I hear Santa...no, my Grandpa. It's strange, I'm confused. Then everything settles down. I'm at ease, even comfortable. So comfortable in fact, it's that feeling of carelessness you get during a massage. Then the gentle laugh is broken by a "Hellloo Mr. Jason." There it is, the slap on my shoulder. I'm just standing there, no words are spoken by me. He slaps me again and says "You'll get that big buck this year". Again, I say nothing. I don't have to.

The next morning I wake up to leave and I can't help but break down a little. It was so vivid. All 5 senses were so acute. It took a minute to convince myself it was a dream. A feeling of happiness and sadness sets in. Sort of like winning your last high school football game... a great way to go out but still knowing it's over. I make my 8 hour drive north and start to unpack at my parents. I tell my Mom the story (it was her Father) and I think a small part of her thought I was just telling her that to make her feel better.

The next evening I got a call from my best friend. He got the night off and wants to hunt. A third friend also calls, he can get out, too. I'm not thrilled because I have this weird routine I go through and it's not complete. However, the chances of the 3 of us getting out all at once are slim and none. Then comes the sleet storm. It was miserable but we trek out anyway. It wasn't one of those "serious" hunts, it was 3 childhood friends who almost never get out in the woods at the same time taking advantage of the opportunity.

The sleet storm was one for the ages. I couldn't believe the 3 of us were out there. In a matter of an hour, the sleet piled up close to an inch. Talk about ZERO confidence in seeing anything. Again, I remind myself this isn't about seeing anything, it's about friendship. As quickly as the sleet started, it ended. No tapering off, no steady decline, just stopped. I had gotten so used to the sound of the sleet hitting the leaves, it was nothing short of a haunting silence when it did stop. 15, maybe 20 minutes goes by and I hear the first sound since the sleet ended. It's a squirrel, I'm sure. No, wait, it's getting closer. That's not a squirrel at all, walking this way. By gosh, there he is, it's a shooter. Dang it, he's too far, no shot. Relax, deep breath. He's 50 yds away now. Give him a little grunt. Brrrr. Brrr. Here he comes, 20yds, looking right at me the whole way in...again, no shot. He's getting nervous. Dang it, I blew it. He spins to run. I draw. He's behind a tree, 30 yds. , . I'm shaking bad. Get it under control Jay. He steps out. Like some kind of time warp everything went from warp speed to slow motion. The release feels good. I don't see my arrow but I see something white careen off. Oh, you've got to be kidding me... I hit a branch. The buck runs 20 yds. He's staring back at me. Wait, why is he wobbling? HE FELL!! I GOT HIM!! NO FRIGGIN' WAY!! I GOT HIM!!!

I wait 20 minutes and climb down from the tree. Replaying everything over in my head a million times. What was that white thing that made me think I hit a branch? I look and find a lone fletching. It must have been jarred loose on my walk back through the crp. Man, look at the blood!! There's my arrow, beautiful. Bright red tip to tip. Well, no need to follow the blood trail (but I do anyway). There he his. What a magnificent buck. My biggest at the time. I grab his antlers, kneel and say a quick prayer. Through the tears streaming down my face I can't help but chuckle and say out loud ....

"Helllooo Mr. Jason"

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Thanks Jay,

I really enjoyed the story, I must have missed MRBs post as to wanting them, and the reason why. I guess the older I get the more sensitive I get, because it was an emotional story for me. Thank God for putting good people like your grandparents in our lives! Heck of a story, and Buck! :eek::
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Glad you guys enjoyed it. It's a long read, I know and I'm sure there are typos and grammar errors. Thanks!
 

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:cheers::cheers:
Soon enough it will be your turn to pay it forward and keep the legacy going by passing on what your Grandfather gave you, passion for something. Great story.
 

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cool story, i never had a mentor in the woods or a career but i make dang sure i am one for my boys, awsome story
 

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Great story!!!
 
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