Grandpa's Ten Pointer

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 6, 2010

in after dark. A quiet evening in the woods was just what I needed anyway—a chance to reflect and enjoy the solitude after an emotional weekend.

As I drove to the cattle gate where I enter the farm, I noticed a beer bottle in the road. For a second, I debated whether or not to mess with it. I preach in my hunter education classes about leaving your hunting ground in better shape than you found it, and Grandpa always taught me that actions speak louder than words. So I tossed the empty bottle into the back of my truck and continued toward my stand.

By midafternoon, I was safely strapped in my tree and ready to enjoy the hunt. The weather was calm and the woods were unusually quiet.

After about an hour, movement from the side caught my eye. I looked back and glimpsed another buck moving through the tall grass. He was in the same area where my big 10-pointer came from.

As I peered through my binoculars, I was thinking, “There’s no way it’s him. That brute has got to be in the next county by now.” But sure enough, there were four points on his left side, six on the right. It was him. And he was coming down the trail right to me!

After an excruciating 10 minutes, he finally worked to within 20 yards and was walking past a giant sycamore tree. As soon as his head disappeared, I drew my bow. In the quiet calm of the woods, the friction of the arrow sliding against the rest made just the slightest noise. Unfortunately, it was enough to stop him in his tracks.

All I could see was his back end. I watched him tense up as his hind leg made a slight step backwards. For a second I thought, “Oh no, not again!”

After a lengthy standoff, the giant buck finally stepped out. I put my top pin behind his shoulder and squeezed the release. The deer jumped straight up and bounded off into the thicket.

A bloody arrow was sticking in the ground where the deer once stood. It was a perfect shot—a clean pass through, right behind the shoulder.

Then I got the shakes. The remarkable chain of events that led to that moment finally sunk in. Throughout my 30 years of deer hunting, I’ve never even heard of a second-chance story like this. Two chances? From the same stand? With the same deer? It just doesn’t happen that way.

Then it dawned on me. I had help.

With a rush of adrenaline, I hurried down the tree and sprinted up the hill to get a phone signal. I had to tell someone. I got a weak signal and called Dad at the house.

“Get the four-wheeler and bring my family,” I hollered through the static.

Next, I gave Mom a call, and this is when I really lost it. The events of the last three days were taking their toll. When she answered the phone, I babbled incoherently.

“Grandpa did it, Grandpa did it,” I finally said. “He was with me tonight. He’s OK!”

Later that night, after I gained my composure, Dad and I loaded Grandpa’s 10-pointer onto the four-wheeler and brought him back to my waiting family. Everyone was just as excited as I was. Sam was bundled up and anxiously waiting.

“I want to go to deer hunting, Daddy. I want to feel the antlers,” he pleaded.

Three days later, at Grandpa’s funeral, I placed a photo of our family and the deer in his casket. On the back I’d written a note thanking him for all he’d taught me throughout his life and, most important, for letting us know he was all right.

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