Sunday, December 10, 2017

Well, this morning greeted us with a fresh blanket of snow that fell during the night. When we parked our truck, Rob Miner, who is in many of the stories in my books, pulled in behind us. After a big hug, we headed up the mountain. When we got to the place where we decide who’s going in what direction, Miner and I headed one way, and my dad headed the other way. Miner and I would go up the face of the mountain, and Dad would go around the back. When we split apart, I couldn’t help but think about the many times we did the same thing when I was a kid, but I almost always followed Dad during those times. Today, I followed Rob, who is now in his 70s.

As we made our way up the mountain, I was gently reminded how much time has passed since those days when Dad and Rob seemed like two invincible super heroes. A while back, Rob was hit head-on by a drunken driver, and his physical abilities were taken from him in an instant. He has never recovered to be able to join for the deep treks into the more remote parts of the Adirondacks.

Before stepping over a log, he told me how much pain he still has in his hips. After all, he had to get a new hip and walking isn’t quite as easy as it used to be for him. After telling me about the pain, he slipped and fell to the ground. I helped him back to his feet, but I could tell it hurt, even though he’s probably one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around while hunting. Finally, we got to where he wanted to sit, and I continued down the backside of the mountain.

As I got close to the tree where I wanted to sit, I saw the bucks tracks in the snow. It had gone  through the area just before I got there. Although I considered chasing it, it was headed toward the place where I knew my dad had planned on going. I was hoping the deer would takes its time and get pass by Dad shortly after daylight.

A few hours after daylight, I could hear Brian on the radio. He had come in from another parking area and was hunting toward me in hopes of pushing a deer past me. We planned on meeting around noon so I could show him a few different things on the ridge I was hunting.

Shortly before Brian got to me, he jumped a bunch of deer, and they crashed through the swamp below me. I didn’t see any of them, but I could hear them getting out of Dodge. After getting to me, Brian and I waited for Dad to get there. He was making his way toward us from the bottom. When he arrived, we chatted for a few minutes and headed in different directions to try our luck.

In the mid-afternoon, Dad and I ended up in the same area. He decided to kick off a ridge that we’ve been kicking off since the first day we ever hunted in the area. Sometimes we kick it off on our way out of the woods. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that nothing came off the ridge.

As Dad was getting closer to me, he told me he had some moving. A few minutes later, I could see him on the ridge above me, but none of the deer had come past me. Suddenly, a couple of them made there way down the hill. I could have shot either one of them if I chose to do so. They presented me with a few good opportunities when they stopped for a few seconds in front of me.

When we finally got out of the woods, we realized that our season was over. We will have to wait until next season to get at it again, God willing. I pray for another season with my dad by my side. I love that guy, and I love sharing everything with him in the woods. There’s nothing that can compare to the time I’ve spent in the woods deer hunting with him. It also felt good to be with Rob today, even though he came out of the woods before us and headed home before we had a chance to say goodbye. I owe all of my hunting success to those two guys. They led by example and showed me the little things that I would need to know to become a successful Adirondack deer hunter. I learned from two of the very best, and I’m glad I learned the hard way. Nothing ever came easy, and that is what made me so determined to succeed. Failure breeds success if you’re too stubborn to give in, and none of us have ever given in. Many people bend until they break, but the three of us just keep bending because there is no breaking our desire.

When we got back to the truck, we were happy to see that our buddy Doug, who I wrote about a few days ago, had killed a buck. It was a nice 8-pointer. He probably had one of his most memorable seasons ever, simply because he wasn’t even supposed to recover enough to be able to hunt, talk about bending and not breaking. I’d post a picture for you to look at, but I don’t have one to post.

I’ll be writing a season recap in the coming weeks. Thank you for following along this year. I’m sorry I didn’t give you more exciting entries, but it’s hard to keep this updated and hunt almost every day. I did my best to stay on top of it. Congratulations to all of you who had a great season, and for those of you who were left unfulfilled, you must remember to keep bending without breaking. Your time will come. I have a few hunters who shared their success with me this year who can verify that dreams do come true if you just keep pushing yourself to the limits and learn everything you can in the process.

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