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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to share a little story with you, something I have wanted to do for some time now...

Here is my Dad's big buck from the 1985 season. It was at his favorite bar/sportsman's club since June of 1986. After he passed away, I let it down there in memory of him, they made a plaque for underneath it as well. It was down there for 8.5 years, since he passed in September of 2000.

I am very proud to say I am his son. I miss him dearly, but the legend lives on for sure. He instilled the greatest love of the outdoors in me, taught me how to be a good person, taught me alot about life. He was loved and respected by everyone, and was known to be the luckiest hunter around. He knew alot about hunting though, and I hope someday I can know half as much as he did. Everyone that knew him well said if there was one buck on the hill, it was going to be shot by my Father. And I saw enough of it to agree that it was true... He got a buck almost every year he was hunting, and got 2 dandy's. He didn't archery hunt, only rifle hunted. He knew alot, but spent little time in the woods because of work and providing for us kids. And 'till this day, I look back and thank the one above for giving me the days I had with him, he was my hero, my idol.

There is a story behind this buck. My family owns a coal business and my father was head man of the business. He ran it, and did alot of the business work, ran equipment when needed, helped my grandfather design the place in the early '70's, etc. He was very loyal to his work.

The entire family would shut down the coal breaker the first day of rifle though, it was a holiday in our family... they would all go hunting. This year, in 1985, my father didn't get a buck on the first day. In fact, didn't get a buck at all until the second week. He shot this buck on the second Thursday of the 1985 season...

This buck below was running around the coal breaker and around the outskirts of town. Nobody could get a crack at him, and it was near impossible for low lifes to poach him due to his habitat. He was a ghost, a legend talked about for 3 straight years... Some say he sported more points in years prior. Nobody can confirm it, nobody has ever found a shed, or even a picture of this deer.

We are talking back in 1985... there wasn't many big ones around, atleast not of this magnitude.

He was working a pile of coal on the loader, loading a truck, and we own a few acres to say the least where the coal breaker is. Around it as well. He looked over the bank when he was parking the loader, as it was quitting time, and guess what he sees? You guessed it... this big buck was bedded with 2 does.

It was right around what my father and Pap used to call "quitting time"... the breaker would shut down, and the guys would call it a day. Right around 3:00 pm or 3:30pm.

My father would often go out with my Pap, and later with me, for the last hour, or what we like to call "prime time". Since we didn't have the time to head to our favorite mountain, we would often head to the local stripping pits in hope to catch a buck on the move right at dark...

But this day was different. My father saw this buck and couldn't believe his eyes. For 3 years, he and the entire town, even the surrounding area, saw this buck, but not in hunting season. He would crawl into a hole come opening day. Where he was seen before hunting season, is not anywhere close to this area. He was seen on another side of a highway, in another section of woods. He was often seen crossing the road, but never hit. And nobody expected him to be here...

This buck knew the noise above from the breaker and equipment was of no danger. He did, however, separate himself from the rest of society and the woods below and around by hiding behind a rock the size of a car. You couldn't see him from below or from the side if you tried... not where he was hanging out.

This buck knew where he spent most of his time in the summer and fall, that there were hunters after him. He knew this, unbelievable to say the least. He hid from hunters upon hunters, year after year, most likely behind this rock. With the only one able to see him, my Father, the luckiest hunter!

His bed on the hillside was well worn in. He was using it. And knew the danger above was not any danger at all. My father never looked over that hillside. Was never able to, other than in the loader. Looking over from the top, on foot, you could not see this deer, It was over a second embankment, only visible from 8-10 feet taller than the average person. You would have to safely crawl over to get a glimpse, something nobody at the business ever did.

But little did anyone know he was hiding right on the hillside, right below where my father and Pap would work the equipment and load trucks with coal for delivery and purchase. This deer knew nobody hunted here. He knew he was safe. He didn't get that big for a reason...

My father literally ran the 500 yards or so to get to his jeep where he had his orange and his rifle. He ran back up, and when he got within 100 yards of the hillside, he started to walk slow and then he crawled the last 50 yards. He got to the edge, looked over, and the buck was still there, with the does.

He used his orange hat as a rest on the coal bank, and got ready. He let himself catch his breath from the trek, and when the time was right several minutes later, he let out a whistle to make the buck stand. When he stood, the rest is in the books.

My father was very proud of this buck, the entire town knew he got it, and the story is still talked about untill today. Not many bucks in the coal hills get this big, and not many bucks back then got this big anywhere period.

23 7/8" inside, 10 points. I didn't get a tape on it, and neither did he. I don't think I ever will. The spread was measured back in '85 when the buck was taken, and I never want to ever put a tape on him. Numbers don't matter with this deer, for him or for me.

I never took one bigger, 'nor do I think I ever will. I took one this year with more points, but not nearly the length, spread, beam length, etc. this one has. I doubt I will ever surpass this deer locally where we hunt, 'nor do I ever want to. My father has the "King" as we always joked, and I hope it always stays that way...

Below are the pictures, I also gave a side view to including my '02 buck. When I got my first "mountable" buck, I wanted to be like my father, but just have it pose the opposite direction. Little did I know it would work out like this to have them both looking in each other's direction.

He would be very proud to see his buck on the same wall with his son's buck. That would have been something he would have loved to see. I got mine 2 years too late though, I wish I got a big one sooner. I know he was with me this year as well, as I was sitting on the bench we used to sit on when I took my biggest buck this past season. I felt him there, from daylight until I squeezed the trigger.

Although I wish I can still hunt with him like the days of old, I have to live with the fact I can still have him with me in spirit. He is with me on every hunt, on every climb. I feel him most when it is getting light out, I always say a prayer and thank him for showing me my biggest love in life.

I was planning to put my '08 buck here in this spot in a few weeks, but I will have to find a new spot. The King is here to stay. I'll cross that bridge when the time comes... but his buck found a great spot for sure.

My Dad got the pose to the right, I got mine to pose to the left. Same posture, different direction of head turn, just 16 years in difference. And size difference too lol.

The same taxidermist did both of these, the same taxidermist who is doing my buck from this past season. The buck was in the bar for 22 years, but I cleaned him up very nice and plan on having the taxidermist who did/does our work clean it up even more...

I felt it found it's spot in my gameroom, although all of his racks are in another room, as well as his bear he got. But his buck found a spot in mine, and I am thankful to be able to share this with all of you.

I am very proud of my father and what he accomplished with this deer, and hope you enjoy. He was a great man, a great mentor, and my best friend. He taught me alot about life. I am in tears right now to be completely honest, not one bit ashamed to share that information with you. Knowing I would get emotional, is part of the reason it took a very long time for me to make this post.

Here he is, my father's pride and joy, one of his most treasured hunts... as well as my most treasured story, from my best friend forever...

Thanks for looking...


205 Posts
Nuge great story and a great buck.I did not know your Dad but from reading the views of his son there is no doubt he was a great man.You honor your fathers memory with your actions and feelings for the outdoors.I know in my heart he is never far from you every trip afield.Thank you for sharing this with us.

48 Posts
Nice story Nuge! I lost my father less than a month ago. He taught me some of the most important things in life, like hunting and respect. I haven't been able to hunt yet since my siblings and I lost him, but I'm sure he will be with us for every upcoming hunt from here on out!

862 Posts
Nuge Great Post! No doubt in my mind your father is always with you and is very proud of his son. I lost my father in 04. Everytime I go out hunting I sit at the same spot that he took me to when I first started out hunting. You are your fathers future. Your love of the outdoors, sportsmanship and ethics are a direct result of the skills and friendship you received from your father. Great Man Great Buck
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