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A Season Remembered, A Place Never Forgotten

So many times we get so caught up with things in life that really don’t matter. We forget what is most important to us and begin to only worry about me, me, and me. But sometimes, events come along in our lives that stop and make us think. These events make you slow down and think about what truly is important in one’s life and the people that are around you. Many are happy events and many may be sad. Sometimes they can be both. The following story is one such event in the life of my father and me.

Every November My father and I make our annual trip to West Virginia to hunt on our Uncle’s property during their deer rifle season. It has been a family tradition to go as long as I can remember, even though I have missed some years here and there. This year would be no different as we head down for the 2008 season, but some things will have changed. My Uncle passed away in March of the same year. It was a very trying time for my dad and me as we were both very close to him, my father more so then me. Because of unforeseen bills on my Uncle’s part we had to sell the place in West Virginia which was put in my dad’s name about two years before he passed away. This would be our last season to hunt this land as our own. After 30 years of having it in the family it was a tough pill to swallow.

Pulling into the dirt driveway we had some mixed emotions. It was a beautiful sight with snow on the ground and all through the hills. We looked at the old trailer with the screen door hanging wide open inviting us in for one last adventure. There is an old bridge that we had to repair almost every spring because of washed away soil. It let us pass just one more time without giving way. We opened the truck doors to step out into the snowy and cold day. This renewed our sense of enthusiasm and pushed back the thoughts of this being our last time.

On the hill, at the very top of our property there is a tree where my uncle wanted to be placed when he had passed away. Not long after he passed away we made a trip down to WV and placed his ashes in the ground beside this tree. From this tree you can see over all of his property and the surrounding hills and valleys. It truly is a beautiful sight. In the snow we could see what appeared to be doe tracks and definitely yearling tracks walking over top of where we placed his ashes. This seem fitting to us because for whatever reason my uncle never liked shooting doe on his property. And to have them that close to him, well that seemed perfect.

Finally Monday morning came and it was time to head out. I told my dad Uncle Gene is going to help us out today, you know that right? He just sort of laughed it off and said OK. My dad was going to go to a tree that we called Uncle Gene’s Tree. Pretty simple, but he was a simple man. My uncle hunted this tree for thirty years and never shot a buck there. After dropping me off at my stand, dad motored on up the hill on the four- wheeler and soon all was quiet. The night slowly turned to day and it wasn’t too long till one single shot rang out.

I knew as soon as it did that my dad had connected. I knew it was a buck as he holds the same feelings when it comes to doe as my uncle did. I was fumbling for the radio, while trying to hold back my emotions, to ask him if it was down………when I all ready knew in my heart that it was. I shuffled down the tree trying to contain the tears but wasn’t doing a very good job. I ran up the hill as fast as I could to see what dad had taken. When I finally reached him he was down over the hill from me standing there with his 9 point buck. This was first buck that had ever been taken at Uncle Gene’s tree.

When I got to him he was grinning and crying as well. You would have thought we were a bunch of babies standing there on that hill hugging and slapping each other on the back. We drug the deer up the hill and placed it on the four-wheeler. On the way back dad wanted to walk down to the trailer alone. I knew where he was going and who he was going to talk to. It would be just him and Uncle Gene once again.

After a while it began to pour down rain for most of the afternoon. I sat out in it the best I could while dad took it easy down in the bottoms of our property. About 3PM I came down to change and asked him where he thinks I should go. I was torn between going to Uncle Gene’s tree or to another place not far from that overlooking a field. Dad told me to go the field because there was a lot of mast crop on the edges and it would be just as good of a place as any. So I kind of reluctantly agreed and he took me up the hill to the field.

Until about 4:15 it was pouring down rain, I was soaked and not in the best of moods. Finally it stopped and the woods began to come to life. I had a small doe walk within 20 feet of me never once knowing I was there. The sun came out and the last hour of the day was going to be a good one. Little did I know just how good it was going to be.
After the doe walked by me and into the field about 20 minutes had passed. I could see through some trees that a big bodied deer was walking towards me but could not see yet what it was. When it finally came into view I could see that it had an old but pretty heavy rack. I steadied the rifle against my tree and squeezed off a true shot. The buck dropped in his tracks. I stood up at the ready just in case but it was over. Uncle Gene had blessed us for one more time that day.

As I walked up to the buck, the doe from before also came out into the field. As I stood over the buck, tearing up again, she just stood there and watched me from about 20 yards away. Was it because I was making a spectacle of myself or was there something else going on? I am a pretty spiritual person so I like to think it was the later. Only when my dad came up to me did she finally run away. And soon not long after the rain began to pour again.

Luck would strike me once again the next day. Dad chased a 7 point to me in another stand that we had set up. One shot and I was thanking Uncle Gene again for a great hunt. We weren’t sure how things would go this season but it turned out better than either of us could have hoped for. Dad said I guess you were right. Uncle Gene was certainly looking out for us this week.

And for those that don’t think there are some other kinds of forces at play in this world, all three buck were taken within eyesight of where we had placed my uncle’s ashes.

Dad with the three buck.

Me with the buck

Uncle Gene's tree where dad was sitting when he shot his buck.

The rest are scenery pics.






 

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Congrats on penning the PERFECT post.

Great pics, Great story...BIG MEANING!! May Uncle Gene keep on going eternal for your gang, no matter where you hunt.
 

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Really nice post. Thanks for sharing.
 

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What a great story and a perfect way to go out with a bang. Its a shame that your family didnt get to keep the property but one thing thats for sure...the memories made on those hunting grounds will never be forgoten
 

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Great story, and great pics!!


Thanks for sharing it with us
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the replies guys. We actually got permission to hunt the property again this year. They even called us to see if we were coming down. So i guess we have at least another year there.
 

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Byrd man, great hunt, good luck this year.

Love to see a picture looking out from Uncle Gene's tree.
 
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