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Let me first start by saying... if John or any of the moderators feel this post needs moved, by all means, pull the trigger. I felt when making this post, that this was the place for it to go. And hope it stays.


Let me also say... that yes, it is once gain a "long post" or a "book" if you will. Many like to just view pictures, or short posts. That's great... I am sure you will enjoy this just the same. But for those who like to take a few minutes, and go for a walk along the hill, or take a seat in an oak for a half hour, be my guest. Because I know whichever person you will be, you will enjoy it all in the same...


This is the longest post, atleast one of them, these two hands have ever pecked... but it's the "spirit" that inpired me to do so. And I ask all of those who have the spirit of the woods, the love for the woods, to please come along on another journey with the Nuge


Let me also say, that if you do take the time to read this, I will assure you will feel a tad bit different about hunting friendships, or friendships in general... and you might just feel a tad bit different about hunting as a whole. Don't believe me? Read on fella (or gal)


Many of you know me from post of the past, many have seen my story in the archery forum from this past season. Well, a week ago.

My story can be seen here...
http://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1423515#Post1423515

I have spoke of my "hunting buddy" in that post, and many posts in the past, as we are inseparable in the fall. We have hunted from day 1 together. Not one day have I went out since my father passed away was he not with me... and the days that he wasn't, I can tell you, things did not feel right. His father passed away a few years later, and the bond grew tighter. Two peas in a pod, or... two hunters in the fall. Two fellas who are stuck together for life... two guys that have a bond that will never be broken.

He goes by the name Mike. I call him "Mick". A name that stuck from our days on the gridiron winning state championships back in our glory days. He was the good old QB, and while he may not look it, he can still throw that long ball and quick slant.

Many mornings sitting in the truck waiting for "our time" to make the trek up the mountain find us reminiscing of the old days on the field, me taking the ball from him up the gut across the goal line, him throwing the winning touchdown, him scrambling for a first down on 3rd and long, or me making the goaline stand stuff from linebacker or sack on 4th down. Times of old are often the topic of conversation in the early darkness, when we get to the parking spot ahead of schedule.

I went off to play college ball, while "Mick" went to college as well, but did not pursue sports. While he had impressive offers from some big time schools, he chose to let it all on the field, and pursue an academic career.

We both had great grades through high school, and we both went to school to achieve our degrees in our chosen fields.

As many of you know, after high school, your "close friends" or your "buddies" seem to disappear. Only the select few that are your true blues will be there for you when you need them, or will even be around at all as most move away to do their own thing.

As the years have past, I have found "Mick" to always be there. For my problems in my personal life, to being there with me on 90% of my climbs up the hill year after year. He has been one heck of a buddy for me, and I really won't go into much more detail that that. He is flat out my best friend, one fella I will always count on to be there for me thick and thin, whether it be hunting, or helping out with other things. He's a good man, and I can tell you, guys like him are tough to find these days


We have grown a close hunting bond, and a friendship in general, I would put up against any of them out there. It would be tough to beat. It's one of those things where I am thinking the same as him, and we don't even need to discuss it as we can read each other's face. It is truely something I wish everyone can have in their life...

I am lucky to not only have it with Mick, but with my wonderful girlfriend of 4 years and counting as well. It's one of those things that just happens... and you can't "hunt" for it, rather, you must let it hunt you.


Not only does Mick have the same passion for hunting as me, not only is he there for me through thick and thin, but he also shares the same passion for that mountain I love so very much... that mountain that makes me curse and swear in the dark for being so steep. He loves every bit of it like I do.


As most know, I finished my deer season back on the 29th, Thursday of last week. We have been hunting two specific bucks from day one, heck, been watching them since April when they grew headgear. One of them was shot not far from where we hunt, and the other was hit by a car a good ways from where we hunt. Both moments found me a little upset, more so over the one that got hit by the car.

From those who read my story from a week ago, you may remember me saying that we decided to "just hunt"... enjoy the woods for what it is and just enjoy being out there.

I was not the only one who took in this mindset, but Mick was as well. He was in full agreement we needed to just take it easy once in awhile and not beat ourselves up over the big bucks. Rather, we need to just soak it all in... and realize what mother nature is truely all about.

It's not about inches, it's not about green scores, and it's certainly not about making the record books. Because quite frankly, nobody is going to care about that. While we don't, and won't, shy away from chasing a big buck... as it is what we love to do, it's not what we go out there for. Atleast we realized it wasn't.


With the big bucks down for the count, we both said "the heck with it". Let's go out and hunt, take in the hunt, and come back with memories. We did just that.

I let the air out of my buck last Thursday, and like it always seems to be, Mick was there to share in another great outdoor experience. I waited until he got out of his tree before we both divulged into the fun part of picture taking and getting it off the hill.

Between then and now found me "guiding" Mick, helping him pick his stands, and giving him sound advice on not only location, but the little things that can go wrong for an archer... and as all of us hunters do, we like to bust stones. Mick had a beautiful high, massive 8 point present him an opportunity back in the 3rd week. And since then, he has claimed the occasional nickname "Buster".... due to being "busted" by that buck.

Little did I know, Buster was soon going to "bust" a buck... and in good fashion.

Mick was always the patient type, the type that would wait out a dead man coming out of the grave. He would wait a week in a tree if he needed to knowing a big buck would be the one to come through. While we both seem to have that quality, one man has to give another credit for that characteristic, especially a hunter towards a hunter so to speak. He was not only calm and collective in the pocket with the football, but was in the tree. Atleast in terms of waiting...


What has been happening, however, in the last 8-10 years, is when he was presented GOOD opportunities for bucks with the bow, he has been doing little things wrong. Standing at the wrong time, having his bow in the wrong place, etc.

Now don't get me wrong, Mick is by no means a rookie when it comes to hunting. Both me and him have found great success in the woods during the fall with whitetails... of both big and small sizes. Many remember the buck I took last year, netting 127 1/8" and grossing over 135". While Mick was not there to help me drag it out the first day last year, he was there every other day with me... and I can gurantee he regrets not helping me rip a hole in the side of that deer dragging...


We always seem to be there with each other when it comes to hunting... this was the only buck he was not there with me for.




Well, good old Mick can say the same. He took a buck back in 2006 that scored 146 1/4" as an 8 point... not many PA 8 points get to be that big... 24.5" inside spread, 27" main beams, 10-12" G2's... the real deal. A buck we once again had patterned and were successful to take. One we both put our minds to, and put one of our tags on


Don't mind the blurry pics... they are "pics of pics". I don't have any digital photos of this brute.




But what happened the evening of Novemeber 4th, 2009 would make any true bowhunter's friend happy...

This past week found us hitting the hill as hard as our schedules would allow. He was after a buck, while, I was out there to soak up nature's beauty, and hope that a turkey would cross my path. I did not want to get up and make a ruckess trying to find the flock we so often saw this season, because I didn't want to mess up his hunting. I knew his time was coming, so I was patient in letting it all unfold.

The evening called for south winds, coming from the south that is... that is exactly what we needed for us to put him in one of our famous evening stands on the mountain. This stand is a guarantee... if the conditions are right and the deer are around. It's a stand that is in one of the most serious funnels man has ever laid eyes on. It has produced bucks for both of us in the past when we hunted it, but we do it right... and will only hunt it in the right wind. Because as most learn over time, the wrong wind brings the wrong results. Been there, done that...

We both got out of the truck to get ready for the climb and hike up the mountain... I was out there for that relaxation and enjoyment of the woods, or even a turkey if he crossed my path, and Mick was after a decent buck.

We both got ready in our "dressed to kill" outfits and we said our goodbyes. While most times when I tag out with the bow I will find myself sitting in a tree right next to good old Mick either filming or taking in the hunt with him, this hunt found me parting my own way. And to be honest, I felt like I was watching a young hunter grow. A hunter not only my own age, but older... become a good hunter. A bowhunter becoming a man.

Something felt like it was about to happen... from the way he was handling the misfortunes he experienced so far this season, and from past seasons, to the way he said goodluck. For some reason, I knew he was drawing blood today...


I walked my own way, wondering if my gut feeling was right and I should go back and go west on the mountain with Mick instead of East... but for some reason, it was time to let him go. While he was a solid rifle hunter, it was time for him to grow his wings. Time for him to become the solid bowhunter I know he can become. I kept walking, and said a prayer for him in terms of safety and success.


I made my way, easing along the loud crunchy leaves, to "the point", where the mountain ends, and some serious rock formation begins. I have tagged alot of bucks on this end of the mountain, and have seen my fair share of turkey activity here as well. Win or lose, turkey tag filled or not, I was going out in the woods today with one mission... to bring home another outdoor experience for the memory books.

I decided since the buck tag was filled and Mick's was not, I was going to relax in the woods. Watch deer, watch squirrels, watch sunsets... I was going to take a good "woods nap" and soak it all in... If a turkey happened to make the mistake of walking within my range, then so be it. But if one didn't, I was still the happy hunter I was before I stepped foot into the woods... just another hunt to add for the books


I knew by now, looking at the watch seeing it was 2:30 pm, Mick was in his tree for a good hour... as I was positioned in mine for about the same. It was now the waiting game... who was showing their face, and who wasn't. Who was coming out to play.


With the clocks now turned back, the "witching hour" as we like to call it, is now 4:30-5:30 pm. The last hour of daylight... the time most activity takes place out there in dem thar whitetail woods.


The wait was on...

From that moment until around 4:00 pm, all the good 'ol Nuge saw was squirrels and chippers... some pretty songbirds, and a hawk. That there in itself is a blessing may I add, as I love every minute, and every sighting, of such beautiful creatures...

But the time was on. 4pm rolled around and I knew it was time to put the game face on. Atleast for Mick. I was in my tree wondering if he already scored, or maybe if he added another "Buster" to his achillades...


I was hoping for the better part...

My evening unwound from me switching sides of the tree from facing north to the south. Turkeys, if they would come through to roost, would have been through by 4:00pm on the north side, long before "witching hour". They are a no-mess around type of animal... they get it done and don't mess around with any monkey business in terms of roosting. With no turkeys in tow, I switched my stand side from the north to the south quietly and slowly, and waited to watch some deer return from the south to the north side of the mountain for their daily (or night time you may call it) routined feeding rituals.

Around 4:30 found me hearing my first "crunch" making it's way towards me from the south side of the mountain... with me nestled up on top in a mature locust waiting to see what it was. I hear it getting closer, and then see movement over the crest of the hill.


A buck! But not just any buck, a true giant... a beauty. We have not seen this buck before, but just like any given fall, during the rut, magic happens. This buck, standing a mere 40 yards, and closing, was sporting a solid 19-20" spread, 8 points, white glistening beams, and good mass. A good, solid mature 110-120" whitetail. He was magnificient.


I am and was, and always will be.... proud to say, that I enjoyed watching that buck make his way up, over, and down the other side of the mountain, as much as I would have been to let the air out of him like a kid popping a balloon. I have learned it's not always about the kill, but about that experience you take home.... that thrill of first sight. That first eye contact with not only a mature whitetail, but with ant of nature's hand crafted beauty.

The rest of the evening found me watching another buck, and 4 does, return to the dinner table and night time playground on the north side of the mountain.

I was hoping Mick had the same luck as I did...

Darkness fell, and I made a slow descend and slow trek back to the truck, feeling just as successful as the day I tagged any of the bucks on my wall.

As I approached the truck, I found Mick standing up against the stepside, with a big smile on his face. As I stated before, words do not need to be exchanged... I knew exactly what happened


He told me he scored on a 10 point, and he was very excited. I could not help but get excited myself, and give him a manly handhake and a "manhug" knowing we pulled what we never had done before... the "archery double".

After asking him some questions like "was it down" and "did you make a good hit", I was more excited than he was to hear the end results.

He said he made a smoking shot on a beautiful buck, and not only made a good shot, but watched it go down.

When we hunt evenings and wait for the bucks to return from the south side of the mountain, alot of times we have the bucks run back down the other side of the mountain after being hit... which makes for a tough drag. But this buck, with a good shot through the pump station, made it a mere 30 yards before piling up, not being able to make it to his bed. Also making for alot easier of a drag.


We began our trek up to the top of the hill, him telling me all the little details along the way, and me "being a fly on the wall" during his hunt listening to him explain it. I felt like I was right there, and in a way, wished I was. But on the other hand, I was glad I wasn't. I was glad he did it all by himself, and did it better than I could have done it myself.


He didn't stand up early, and get busted... he didn't make a noise or draw his bow early... Mick did it like you dream at night. Buck came up, he waited until his head was out of view, came to full draw, and waited for the perfect shot... at 18 yards. He let the arrow fly and sprayed the top of the mountain with red pump station mist... sending the arrow right where it needed to be.

While many times over our long storied bowhunting career I felt like I was doing the teaching, this time, I felt like Mick showed me how it was done. Made a shot all of us only dream of making... and did all the little things right leading up to the shot.

We walked up to his buck and I saw a magnificient creature sprawled out on the forest floor... God's gift to Mick for being the patient hunter that he is... not giving up, or becoming too frustrated with making mistakes in the past. I saw not only the smile on his face, but the smile on mine... as we became another successful hunt closer. Our bond grew thicker...

We field dressed and drug the buck out, without pics, as it was dark. But we got some good pics today I hope you guys will enjoy!!!

He is a wonderful basket rack 10... very symmetrical, and a good looking deer for sure. 2.5 year old.





While both of our buck tags are filled, we will still be out every winking moment we get... this time, busting turkeys. While I was not able to put my whole mind and soul into bagging a bird due to not wanting to mess up Mick's hunt with deer, we are both now fully devoted to getting a turkey ASAP and getting on the track of a bear for the upcoming bear season.


Mick is like my third arm... my second mind. He thinks like I do, and loves the woods like I do. While many here appreciate my writing and my time to making these types of posts, I am hoping Mick does as well... as he will be getting this story for his Christmas present. Along with an antler mount with an engraved nameplate with his name, date, etc. for the plaque!


He is not one for computer or internet forums, and quite honestly, I see myself growing out of them as well. But there are too many good people out there I would lose contact with if I were to give it up all together...


I have grown a love for that mountain I can not explain... it has treated not only me good, but treated Mick better than words can explain. Not only has the Nuge taken good bucks off the hill, but so has the Buster. That mountain has been mighty good to us over the years, and Mick has been expressing his love for it lately more and more... which is nice to see. We have both seen the ups and downs on that mountain... the years where we would only see one legal buck all season, sometimes none, to the years when we saw much more. I can't help but thank him for sticking with me, and that mountain, through thick and thin. It's not easy sometimes when the trenches are a bit deep, but Mick never hung his head.

I was always one to give back to nature, especially when you take away from it. I have a tradition since I was young that for every deer I take off that mountain, I plant 3 trees on the hill.

Whether they take, I can't control that. But it's my little contribution for that mountain treating me the way it does, keeping me safe, and allowing me to take it all in like nature intended...

Last year I planted a Granny Smith Apple Tree, right on top of the mountain, and a white and red oak (from acorns). All three sprouted up as buds, with the apple tree still sprouting high towards the sky
.

This year will be 6 new ones... we are not sure what we will plant this year, but we will do our part.


If they take, they take. If they don't, we fed mother nature in thanks for feeding us...


I talk about this mountain alot... and today I finally got the chance to snap some pics to share with all of you. You are looking at the top of the mountain obviously, and the "north side" of it.... this is the mountain I love so much, the one that Mick loves so much. The mountain that claims many hours of our lives in the fall of each year. There is not a mountain in the world we would rather be on come the fall, whether the deer are there, or not...












The mountain has treated us good once again, and we grew a closer bond than we had before. Not only me and the mountain, but Mick and the mountain too.

I watched Mick go from a young bowhunter to a man in a tree, to a dangerous whitetail threat in a tall oak.

From the years of him enjoying my success and helping me drag bucks, it was time for him to get his hands a little dirty.

This was not his first buck with the bow... but as every archer in the fall woods knows, there is that one buck in your hunting career that makes you a man. That one buck that teaches you discipline... that teaches you the ropes. That one buck that takes you from that shaky rookie to that deadly blur up in the skyline.

And I am proud to say that this was that buck for Mick. While not the biggest buck out there, we are both proud of him.


And it couldn't have happened to a better man...

While this year did not have us breaking the books and breaking out the measuring tapes, it found us in a hunting season we are mighty proud of. We both said to each other today this was not out biggest year in terms of "inches"... but our biggest year in terms of "success".

Success in the fact we both scored... but more importantly, success in the fact we both enjoyed ourselves, took in the fall beauty and enjoyed the woods like we never did before.

We enjoyed the little things, the things that often go un-noticed when you are out there "trophy hunting".

We have come to the realization that sometimes it's not about the inches on the head, or the horn between (or outside) ears... rather, it is about the inches you hike, the days you remember, and the fall beauty you soak in when out there in the Great Outdoors. And I can assure you, we made memories together this fall that will never be forgotten.

Many people will shy away from this type of year we had... shy away from this year because of the size of the rack we have to show for it on our walls. I hope they can someday realize what we have about the woods, and about deer hunting with friends


While the racks hanging on the wall from 2009 are not the biggest, they sure as heck have some of the best memories these two lads have experienced in the woods. And those memories will be remembered for the rest of our lives.

It was a season where we both found success in filling tags, but more importantly, found success in the days we didn't. In our days of trophy hunting, I don't think we can claim such success.

We grew a deeper love for those "benches" and "knuckles" that mountain sports from top to bottom, and became closer friends with the ravines and rock formations that inhabit the top. We learned the mountain better than we knew it last year...

We became safer hunters... taking better precautions than ever before ascending and descending the stand in darkness.

More important than growing closer to the mountain or being safe hunters, though, is we grew closer than ever before as best friends. Not many friendships can hold a guttin' knife to this one, and now it has become even stronger.


Another fall, a closer bond, and much closer as arrow slingin', face paintin', deer huntin' blood brothers...


It was a "Picture Perfect Ending" to another incredible whitetail fall adventure for Mick and I, and I hope for 100 more.

I wish every one of you the best of luck this fall in the whitetail woods, and in the woods in general. Rememeber it's not about the size of the kill, but about the memory and experience you take from it. And walking away as safe as you did the time you entered.

As for now, good old Mick and I will be off to bust up the flock of turkeys and have a little clucking battles with the fall birds... and then some brush busting mountain battles with some PA black bears in the big woods.

Good luck all and be safe... and enjoy yourselfs out there.
 

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First of all congrats to Mick on a nice buck!
Excellent piece of writing Nuge! It would be nice if more folks shared your attitude when it comes to hunting and fishing and just appreciating being out there.
 

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Fantastic post Tony!! You truly get what so many of us struggle to put into words. Thanks for taking me along with you onto your mountain for another season.


Very nice tribute to your Buddy and a very nice piece of writing from you once again!

Glad to see ya around here again!!
 

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that's awesome Smash, great story. I'm still really bummed I can't make it for bear season, but I know i'll get to hear about it and feel like I was right there with ya. keep up the great season and i'll see ya for trout season. don't forget the deal on that 28".
 

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boy am i glad your back, i've missed you in a cool guy kinda way!!!we've never met but, i feel like i was on that great mountain with you guys.... congrats
 

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Let me offer my congrats to Mick on great buck. Nuge may that mountain continue to feed your friendships for a very long time. To have a friend like that,a place to enjoy time together and share the passion you have for the outdoors you are truly blessed. I wish I had the ability you have to put it in print. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Tony it is great to have you posting again !

Someday I would like to meet you swap stories, down a cold one and talk pump guns and hunting with you.
Dave
 

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what a great story nuge, you and your buddy have a great bond together and you can see it in the pics , and congrats to both of you for taking nice bucks
 

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Tony, when are we gonna find your books on Amazon?
 

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GREAT post Nuge!!!


Waidmannsheil to You and Mick
 

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great post...I have been sitting here with pneumonia the past week and had to miss all hunting action. That story helped cure some of my cabin fever I have had all week, thanks.
 

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wow...great story!!! congrats to you both on a wonderful season!!!
 

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Enjoyed the read Nuge!!


How bout posting down in trout fishing! We need some pointers on catchin those biggems!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks to everyone for the kind words, most important, thanks for taking the time to read the long post.

I got me a turkey since then, I will try and get a post and story with pics up as soon as I can. Looking forward to this bear hunting trip!!! Almost an entire week in God's Country!



DAVEOTHG said:
Someday I would like to meet you swap stories, down a cold one and talk pump guns and hunting with you.
Dave
Thanks Dave, and likewise, I would love to share a campfire and brew with you and shoot the bull!




jun1or said:
don't forget the deal on that 28".



Loggy said:
Enjoyed the read Nuge!!


How bout posting down in trout fishing! We need some pointers on catchin those biggems!!!
Thanks Loggy! In terms of posting down below, I think I'll choose to stay away from there... lol. Lots of trouble makers in that there forum
 

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Tony, just had minute here at lunch and read this for a second time....you guys are very fortunate not only to be hunting buddies, but to have friends like each other.

Alot of stories and posts out there about how this guy did this to me, or how these folks did this and that ...and yes it happens, so it is really good to know that hunting is serving its true purpose still.

Thanks for the taking the time for that post...you guys that are willing to do posts like that really do make HPA a great place to be a part of and make it a cut above the rest.
 

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SpiritNugent said:
Thanks to everyone for the kind words, most important, thanks for taking the time to read the long post.

I got me a turkey since then, I will try and get a post and story with pics up as soon as I can. Looking forward to this bear hunting trip!!! Almost an entire week in God's Country!



DAVEOTHG said:
Someday I would like to meet you swap stories, down a cold one and talk pump guns and hunting with you.
Dave
Thanks Dave, and likewise, I would love to share a campfire and brew with you and shoot the bull!




jun1or said:
don't forget the deal on that 28".



Loggy said:
Enjoyed the read Nuge!!


How bout posting down in trout fishing! We need some pointers on catchin those biggems!!!
Thanks Loggy! In terms of posting down below, I think I'll choose to stay away from there... lol. Lots of trouble makers in that there forum
hahaha no comment on that certain forum. hey Tony, I might feel a cold coming on the week of bear season, a cold only a trip to camp can cure. if we wernt so busy at work, I would definatley be sick. oh well, bring on trout season. were gonna call this next chapter "the return of FLATTY, the saga continues." hahahaha. we better bust out the video camera for this one, might win us 10,000 bucks.
 

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Holy cow.
How the heck did I miss this story? I'm on this forum almost everyday and this is the very first time I'm seeing it.

I'm sorry Tony for not picking up on this one sooner!
It just got lost in all my archives. What can I say.

Yes, you do have a very good hunting partner. Hopefully for a lifetime Tony!!!!
This is what friendships are all about.

It's not the fact of going out and shooting a buck with the largest rack or the tiniest or WHATEVER you want to call them.

But the fact is you spent the time in bagging your bucks and did it with pride and did it sharing your thrill of the hunt, with a true friend.

I read your story and I read your story for the second time thus putting me right by your side as you described your events.
Next best thing to being on your mountain with you!

That mountain has been very good to you again this year as she always has been. Treat her well!


Sorry again bud.
Till we meet again!
 

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Great story..... Congrats to you both. You are both blessed considering the special bond you two obviously share. May you both enjoy many more seasons together. This post is truly what it's all about!
 
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