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Unread 04-13-2019, 01:37 AM   #11
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Phil C
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I too have been blessed with so many fine hunting memories. That said this was a fine memory that I wish to share. I apologize for the long story in advance.
Dads last hunt

I didn't realize it at the time, but this was to be dads last hunt.
Confined for the most part to a wheel chair with the ability of move around for short periods with a walker.
I had convinced dad to apply for a deer hunt later in the fall that last year. Luckily for him he was able to get a limited mobility permit which allowed him to harvest a buck from the truck.
Time past quickly and the season was soon upon us. Dad had been having a tough go if it, and we just could not get him out. The night before the close of the season, I told dad we are going out come hell or high water.
I was getting the sense he was stalling just a little maybe concerned that he was going to miss if he ever got an opportunity at a buck.
The next morning I pulled up to his place about 5:00 AM.
So far so good the lights are on at least he is up.
Going in the back door, I dodged a few old guitars, tools, and half finished projects. Dad was not much of a house cleaner even when he was able to get around, but since mom had passed away it got a lot worse. Growing up in the depression era, he never wanted to throw any thing away.
We greeted each other with a "morning". Ready to go shoot a big buck this morning I asked?
Well I'm about ready, just need to get my boots on. They are little dry and I'm having a little trouble.
I started to feel my blood pressure go up. thinking to my self, hell he can't even walk and he dug out his hunting boots!!!!. Then something came over me and I took a deep breath.
Let me help you there as I kneeled down and helped slip the boots on and lace them up. Maybe there was an angel on my shoulder that morning as I can be pretty high stung and can be impatient at times. I calmed down, and something told me this is not about getting out early and shooting a deer. It was about making sure dad enjoyed what might be his last hunt.
As I finished up his boots he pointed out his hunting knife was on the table, be careful he warned I just sharpened it last night. ( true it was honed to a razor edge something I never learned to do.)
Also on the table was his old military style canteen, with the worn drab olive colored belt.
Hand me a glass of water will ya, need to take my meds.
Time was a ticking and as I looked out the window I saw it starting to lighten up in the east.
Once again as I started to get anxious when a calm came across me again. A voice inside me said, Need to make this special. We may not see a buck if it gets late, but this is not what it's all about , I reassured my self.
Dad you got your license and permit? Yep sit down Phil get a cup of tea, water needs to be heated up again but it will only take a minute. **I also baked some biscuits from scratch, better get yourself a biscuit or two. With that ( Thank you Jesus)I resided myself to just let things flow.
The sun was just breaking over the mountains in the distance as I helped dad with his walker to the truck I had pulled up to the back door.
Wheelchair will be staying here I told dad. We'll be hunting from the truck today. Your limited mobility permit allows you to shoot from the truck.
I opened the passenger door and slide a heavy duty step I had made in front of the passenger door. With a little help dad was able to slide in. And Off we went.
Getting out on the road dad asked where we headed this morning? You remember where I camped about 25 years ago with my friend Louie and you drove out one night with your guitar and played music around the fire?
Well I thought we would go out there and take that long winding road through the iron gate and down through that valley.
About 45 minutes later I slowed down and pulled off on a dirt two track that would lead us the the valley I wanted to hunt.
By this time it was getting on to about 8:00 AM. It was a Sunday and the last day of the season.
We passed a number of vehicles as we drove in. A few guys stopped and talked. All the stories were about the same. Been hunting for days, no luck seen a few does that was it.
We drove on and came to the camping spot where dad had played music for us so many years before.
A pretty large group were breaking camp so we pulled up and chatted. Nice guys, they too were headed home, just breaking camp, taking their time.
Getting out a little late aren't you they joked. Better late than never I guess they teased, but hell we have no deer in our camp but we had a great time.
We wished them well and headed up an old winding road that lead us towards Gun Sight pass. Going through the old iron gate you are on the top of the world. You can see 50 miles on all directions.
I removed the 6 MM Remington 700 from its case, loaded it with 3 rounds, push the shells down closing the bolt so it was on an empty chamber. I handed dad the rifle, then slipped the truck into 4 wheel drive and down we creeped. By the look of the road there had been very little traffic and it was clear their was no one traveling the road today.
As we slowly bounced our way down the mountain we spotted a herd of pigs, actually a half a dozen Javalina.
We stopped the truck, taking turns looking at them through the binoculars. Half way down our heart raced a little when we spotted two Coues whitetails with their white flags flying racing to the top of a little ridge. No horns could be seen.
By now the sun was up and I knew our opportunity was going down fast. Not really a problem dad seemed unconcerned and it was just nice to be out.
When we got to the bottom of the canyon we had a decision to make, turn around or we could head south for a few more miles. The good news was if we head south we would be driving along a ridge with dad being able to look over the edge of another steep valley looking west.
I made the Decision and I turned left and started to work my way up and along the ridge. Still no deer, and road was getting a little rough. I pulled onto an area that leveled out overlooking a steep valley.
We talked and glassed the valley below without success.
Stepping out of the truck I walked over to dads door and told him I was going to throw a couple of rocks into the valley. The sun was at my back and half the valley was still in the shade. Picking up some rocks about the size of a baseball I used an underhand throw. I got a lot of distance due to the steep drop off of the canyon.
The rocks bounced high covering several hundred feet as they cracked and clattered down to the bottom.
No sooner had the last rock finished bouncing and all went quite but a clatter of rock down and to my left brought us both to attention. There creeped a small buck startled from his day bed.
Dad... Dad look there's a buck. Get ready... Dad bolt a round into the rifle.
Phil where are the shells?
Dad they are in the magazine just bolt the gun.
With that I head the rifle bolt slide back and slide forward. Phil I can't see the buck!!! Take the rifle and shoot it... Please it is going to get away.
Once again, that little angel on my shoulder told me calm down you are getting so excited you are putting a lot of stress on the situation. With that I took another deep breath and lied.
The buck is going no where. But phil I don't see him. Then like out of a movie the sun had suddenly lite up the top of a prickly pear cactus pad. Crazy it shined like a small mirror. Dad do you see that shiny spot about 200 yards out? the buck is about to step...Boom the shot took me by surprise. With the crack of the rifle the buck buckled, sliding down about another 20 feet down the canyon and out of sight.
Yahoo I out a yell that echoed off the canyon walls. A couple of hand shakes and we retold the story over again a few times to each other, before I headed down the canyon.
Dad marked the spot and I headed down the steep canyon with dad hollering out directions, words of encouragement mixed with be careful. Reaching the buck I found him as I had hoped and expected. Shot behind the shoulder it was a instant and clean shot. A quick field dressing and I struggled to haul he buck out of the canyon. What had taken only 5 minutes or less to go down would take almost an hour to come back out with the buck. Damn dad said I wish I had the ability to climb down there and help you.
I got within 50 feet of the truck but was in some loose shale and was the steepest part of the canyon. I laid down on my back gasping for air and sweating profusely. If it was not so steep I'd leave the deer and crawl up and get some water then come back to get the deer, just not sure I got the strength to do his twice.
Sure wish I would have thought to bring water down with me. Wait a minute dad said a few minutes later I hear catch, looking up I see that dad had pulled him just far enough out of the truck window to throw his old canteen down to me, bouncing it came to rest near my feet. Man that old canteen water always had a special taste about it, but this time it tasted pretty magical.
I laid there drinking big gulps and rubbing some through my hair, and on my face. 10 minutes later I got my second wind and finished the trip out of the canyon. After a few more times reliving the moment we loaded the buck in the back of the truck, and picked our way up to the old iron gate. As we dropped down again and back to the camp spot where we had joked with the guys earlier they were just finishing up breaking camp.
Seeing us back already one of the guys recognizing us holland out, what back already old man? My dad just grinned and pointing back over his shoulder with his thumb. I stopped and the guys looked at each other then headed for the truck bed. Soon the whole camp circled the bed, nothing like a bunch of guys gathered around a truck bed admiring a deer to get others coming out of the hills to stop and see what the commotion is about. For a good long time dad basked in his moment of fame. Soon after telling the story, on lookers took the opportunity to tell the new arrivals what caliber he used how he had made a perfect shot the distance even increased as to how far the shot was. A few guys started asking advise on deer hunting. Dad became a deer hunting legend to some of these guys that day.
It ended up being dads last hunt, he passed away on his 79th birthday during the early deer season the next fall.

Photo taken 11/18/2007

Last edited by Phillip Carr; 04-13-2019 at 01:05 PM.. Reason: Photo added
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Unread 04-13-2019, 07:19 AM   #12
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What a special memory you have of your Dad. My Dad passed at 80 in January 2003. That next fall I shot my biggest buck ever but Dad had been suffering with Alzheimer’s for 10 tears before that.





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Unread 04-13-2019, 08:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Hoop View Post
I try and make tomorrow the best one.
Brett, your entire post was excellent, but this last phrase in particular is most poignant for me. Thanks for your post.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 10:19 AM   #14
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Phil, Thanks for taking the time to write this down to share with us. Do you by chance have a photo from that day?

Reading over these responses reminds me of just how much more hunting is than taking game. Too bad non-hunters ó and especially anti-hunters ó donít (or wonít try to) understand this.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 01:06 PM   #15
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Thank you guys. Brought up a lot of feelings last night.
Photo added.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 05:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phillip Carr View Post
Thank you guys. Brought up a lot of feelings last night.
Photo added.
Great photo. I "recognize" the oxygen tube. My Father had one of those in his last days also. Thanks so much for posting the photo. Great buck, even greater Father, I'm sure.
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