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Jack O'Conner
April 27, 2007, 06:54 AM
One icy November afternoon in 1971 Dad told me to my gear together because we were headed out to hunt mulies. Snow was about ankle deep and a brisk wind stung our faces. One of our favorite spots was among the foothills northwest of Powell. Mule deer bedded in the rough country all day and moved into stubble hay fields at dusk to feed. I carried Granddad’s old Winchester saddle carbine and Dad took his long barrelled 300 Savage. Shortly after we parked and began to sneak along a line of boulders, a young forked horn buck stood up to look at us. Only his upper body was visible due to the tall grass. Dad lined up the sights and his 300 barked once. The buck bounded forward a couple jumps and fell over. As we were dressing it out, we both heard something moving in the grass about 35 feet away. Dad told me, “Go see to it boy”. I wasn’t afraid of snakes as they were underground in November but I carried the Winchester because after all, this was Wyoming.

I found a large doe struggling. A golf ball sized chunk of bone and flesh was missing from its back. I yelled for Dad to come over quick. He was quite annoyed as we did not have any remaining doe tags. Dad shot the doe with his 22 pistol through the skull to end its misery and we dressed it, too. Then we struggled to hang it from a tree limb so the coyotes couldn’t reach it. This was a large doe which Dad said weighed about 180 lbs.

It was obvious what had happened. This doe was slightly lower in elevation than the buck because the way the grassy area was contoured. It was hidden from view by the buck’s body. Dad’s bullet shot through the buck’s chest and still had enough power to knock that big hole in the doe. On the way to town, Dad told me he would call the Warden and he directed me to tell the truth if asked what happened.

The Warden drove out to our place after dark and we rode with him to the site. He looked at our footprints in the snow and asked a few questions. Then he told Dad that no crime had been committed but we couldn’t keep the deer. We loaded the big doe into his pick-up and headed home in silence.

Later, Dad told me he was worried about a fine but that didn’t stop him from calling the Warden. Dad shared this lasting truth with me, “When in doubt, always do the right thing”.

FirstFreedom
April 27, 2007, 10:52 AM
Good story; thanks. :)

fisherman66
April 27, 2007, 10:57 AM
Nice story. I hope you are putting these stories down on paper for future O'Conner generations to enjoy.

Scorch
April 27, 2007, 01:02 PM
Great story. Shows personal integrity, character, and understanding of the responsibility as a hunter. Thanks for sharing.

zeisloft
April 27, 2007, 04:33 PM
Funny how doing the right thing is still the right thing these days but it seems to have fallen out of favor by many.

Good parenting, it is not just a fad! Thanks for the share.
~z

Jseime
April 27, 2007, 08:25 PM
I have one of those too.

A couple guys who are a few years older than me were out hunting antelope a few years ago and the one shot, dropped the antelope and there had been one behind it that they didn't see. The .270 dropped em both right there. The guy with the tags stayed there while the other guy drove back to town to get his dad to come along with his tag and phone the game warden.