As told to me by my uncle (I cleaned up the grammar and language 😊):
I started out that morning with a fresh five inches of snow on the ground. I worked my way up the first hill behind the homestead and into the pines. It was a still morning, nary a wind to be felt. It was just after first light and the songbirds were warming up their vocal cords.
I quickly came across a set of deer tracks that was better than decent in size. They had to be made recently, as it had stopped snowing less than an hour before. Without a game plan that morning, I hopped on the tracks to see where they would take me.
I crested a pair of ridges due south, heading toward a transition line where the pines would meet the hardwoods in a series of valleys that led to the river. I didn’t get far when I noticed the tracks were slowing down, the stride between footsteps shrinking by the step. The fresh snow my friend under my feet, I crept slowly. Just below the ridge to my left, the elderly property owner was pounding away with a hammer. I could easily see his movements through the trees.
I came to a blowdown. The tracks seemed to go straight through it. The fallen tree, an old monarch of the forest, had several thin, ill-fitting branches that sprouted in all directions. I took the barrel of my rifle and moved a few out of the way. There, behind the shield of the blowdown, was a five-point buck, his head back, eyes closed, fast asleep. I pulled up the gun and looked through the scope. The deer was so blurry I had to back up to shoot. I touched off. Bang! The buck never knew what hit him. Below, the hammering stopped, and the old man bellowed, “Get up in the woods and hunt!” I must have scared the dickens out of him.
I scurried out of there, leaving my deer where he lay. I grabbed an extra set of hands to help get the buck out of the woods before I was confronted by the old guy. It was one of those hunts where the story that accompanies it never gets old.