There was a deer season late in the 1980’s that taught me a valuable lesson in patience and perseverance. No, I wasn’t rewarded personally by having the state record buck walk out in front of me. That would be a story all too predictable. This is a tale about hanging in there and not throwing in the towel when all seems lost.
I was in high school. Dad and I were relegated in those days to hunting on weekends. On the day after Thanksgiving, almost two weeks into the season, and three days from its conclusion, he and I were trudging through the woods, no game plan to be had, sputtering about the lack of deer. Up to that point we had seen a handful between us. It was as if they all disappeared of the face of the earth.
Dad and I crested a hardwood ridge, desperately on the lookout for any deer sign at all. Sitting was out of the question. It was unseasonably warm and there were few hunters in the woods, two things that drastically hinders deer movement. Besides, we had spent numerous hours alone in thought already that season.
We ran into two guys, the first hunters we had seen that day. Not surprisingly, they were bemoaning the same issues Dad and I were. There were no deer. The state doesn’t have a clue how to manage the herd. We’re either dedicated hunters or stupid to be out there. We chatted with these fellows for approximately 15 minutes. It was the only action any of us had up to that point in the day.
We said our well wishes and went on our way. Dad and I continued up the mountain. Our new friends headed down in the direction we had come from. Perhaps five minutes after parting, there was a gunshot that startled the bejesus out of us. It had to be one of the two guys just down over the ridge from us. No way they saw a deer. Did their gun go off accidently?
After waiting for about 15 minutes, Dad and I heading back down. We ran into the guys, and at the feet of one of them, was a spikehorn, dead with approximately eight inch spikes. It wasn’t a bad deer, certainly good enough considering the hardships of that season.
All four of us were stunned, almost incredulous to what had just transpired. It’s a lesson, indeed. Just when you think there is no chance, watch out. I have carried that lesson with me ever since.