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Old January 17, 2014, 02:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: January 26, 2008
Location: Madison, AL
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In honor of my Dad

I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you my most memorable hunting story from my childhood. No real point to make, or question to ask.. just thinking of my dad while I'm deployed.

My dad was in the military so we moved a lot. It always takes a year or two to find a decent place to hunt after each move. He would have a very busy job and couldn't go scouting. Or maybe he had to be in the field on opening weekend. Whatever the case, we didn't get to hunt that much.

I was about 11 or 12 and this particular year, Georgia had a youth hunt in one of their wildlife preserves. We were lucky enough to go and actually had a pretty good zone to hunt in. So we drive out there in our Chevrolet conversion van and get set up.

This was a fairly wet place.. down-right swamp-ish in places. I don't remember where we were as the sun was coming up, but after a little while, we decided to go to a different place. We went down this little hill and started walking on this thick, marshy ground. As we got out farther and farther, water started coming up around our feet. We realized we were literally walking on water! Haha. The flora/straw/everything else was think enough to support us, but out a little ways we started breaking it apart and dropping down into the water. So we turned around.

We traveled to the southern boarder of our zone, and found a nice clearing butted up against some woods. So we started walking around the edge, and came up on a big mud puddle that had 3 or 4 baby alligators swimming in it. This was pretty cool until it hit us that baby alligators have a mom alligator to watch over them. We were there to hunt deer, not alligator, so we decided to move on yet again.

We are travelling north on our zone's eastern boundary. My dad stops the van and says "look down there! A buck and 2 doe are on the road!" We got out of the van, went to the west side of the road and started trying to get closer (the road was elevated and the shoulder sloped down on both sides). We get I'm guessing 900-1000 yards away and they notice us. We stopped, waited and moved forward a couple of times but only got maybe 100 yards closer. By now we realize it's actually a really big buck. A really really big buck for Georgia, so I tell my dad I have to shoot at it. Looking back I'm sure he let me take the shot only because the chances of me hitting it were positively 0 and he knew I wouldn't wound it. I took a shot and completely missed and he ran off. We got back in the van and had fun talking about it as we drove to where he ran into the woods.

Well we get down about where we think this deer ran into the woods. No sight of him, but there was a field with a road cut on the edge. The road butted up against some trees that were right at the waters edge. We walk down the road to where it ends and just wait probably an hour. After however long, I heard a sound behind me so I turned around to see a doe walking generally in our direction in the water. I tapped my dad, he turned around and I took an off-hand shot. This was the first time I ever shot at an animal. A couple of things might have happened. 1, I missed, which is probable because my heart was beating and I was trying to get a shot off before the deer realized she was about 40-50 yards away from 2 hunters and closing. 2, the bullet clipped a branch and deflected, but I don't think it did. 3, I hit the deer. After the shot the deer took off to our left. We waited about 10 minutes and went after it. We were thigh deep in gross swamp water hoping to find this deer. We followed the swamp-i-ness around and it opened up to a big pond. We thought, "bummer the trail ended with no deer. Wait, what's that in the middle of the pond?" That was a really big alligator just floating around. The eyes and nose were probably 11 to 12" apart. So we turned back around and decided we had had enough alligator encounters for one day. Back through the water and onto the road by the field, we jumped a doe on the way back to the van, but it was getting dark and I didn't have a shot.

When we got to the van, we realized we really stunk from that swamp water! We changed, ate the dinner we brought and headed home. Looking back, I doubt our hunting techniques were sound. Ok, they were probably downright horrible, but we had a wonderful time and still get a good laugh every once in a while talking about the "big alligator in the pond that took my deer from me." For only one day, I can't imagine having a more eventful hunt!
The Jeep has been a lot of fun, but time to come back to my first hobby.. shooting.

Last edited by ndking1126; January 17, 2014 at 02:47 PM.
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Old January 17, 2014, 04:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: October 27, 2005
Location: Crescent Iowa
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Good story. I miss my Dad alot.
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Old January 17, 2014, 10:02 PM   #3
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Join Date: June 14, 2007
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 779
Good story and a better memory. My father was a fisherman and never had an urge to hunt, but was happy when I provided venison for the table. Mostly my father used me for muscle to row our dinky fishing boat.

Miss him a lot.
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Old January 18, 2014, 11:35 AM   #4
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Join Date: December 28, 2006
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Some of my most vivid memories as a youngin' were of me and my dad, either fishin' or huntin'. Many of those excursions were just as yours, but while the back of the truck or the cooler were empty, the trips were still full of fond memories and stories to tell for many years after. Would give anything I own for one more day in the field together.

Thanks for your service ndking1126. I'm sure your dad is very proud.
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