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    • Ron Roettger
        Post count: 52

        The walk

        Now in my 42nd year of hunting, I have taken a lot of walks afield in pursuit of large and small game. Often those walks into or out from the targeted hunting area, alone or with others have been my favorite part of the outings.

        Two of these walks stand out above the rest. The first and the last walks, while separated by over 41 years they are very much tied together. They both take place in the same field and were part of a bow hunt for deer.

        The first was a walk in before daylight, opening day of archery deer season in September of 1972. With me on that hunt were my older brother and my father. That July prior my Dad had bought both my brother and I recurve bows for our birthdays and he picked one up for himself as well. We practiced a lot and my brother and father became quite accurate with their bows I would need to keep my shots much closer.

        I recall just as we pulled the car over to park at the field edge a big doe ran in front of us. I was sure there would be deer everywhere and we would be bringing at least one home with us. That walk in across the dew covered ground in silence along with my dad and brother not wanting to spoke any deer was so exciting and I remember it as if though it were only yesterday. We never got a deer that day; it would be a couple of years until my brother’s archery skills would bring our family its first archery deer harvest.

        The last walk as of this writing took place November 2nd of this year. The man who bought me my first bow and always made time to get my two brothers and I out hunting, fishing and camping often. Has had some health issues, my brothers, our families and I have spent most of the past two weeks helping him though this by being at the hospital and transitioning into the next step in his healing. On the afternoon of the 2nd as my younger brother, his wife and I left the hospital I asked what they had planned for evening. They hoped to go home and sit in their tree stands for a couple hours before dark. Driving home from the St Paul I said to my wife “ if I grab my gear and take off I too could get about an hour and a half of bow hunting in”. I got home grabbed bow, stand, safety harness, and other items and drove a short distance to the spot of my first bow hunt in 1972.

        After a 600 yard walk I put my stand six feet up in an elm tree along the edge of a swamp and the mowed fire break of an oak savannah area on the water fowl production area I was hunting. After securing myself in and pulling my longbow up. I checked the time 4:45pm, closing time was 6:15 pm giving me 1.5 hours as planned. At 5:55 I rattled some antlers together trying to sound like two bucks fighting. Shortly after I look up and see a buck 50 yards out in the grass heading right to me. At 17 yards I made a good shot and the five point was mine.

        Now back to the walk, after tagging and, field dressing my deer. I went home and got my trailer and game cart. After loading the buck onto the cart, I started the process of getting back out to the road. When I got to the field I stopped to take a break and admire the stars and clear ski. The big dipper was to the North leading the way to my Jeep and trailer. As I stood there, I wondered how many hunters before this moment had taken a break while hauling out their game and found themselves amazed with the awe of the stars on a clear cool night. Then that thought was gone and that first walk in 1972 came to mind and while I do not hunt this spot often I have hunted it over the years and I had finally got a deer. That thought was brief because I realized that the only reason I was hunting then and still enjoy hunting and the outdoors, was because of the time and love my dad gave to my brothers and me instilling a passion for the outdoors. I made that walk with buck in toll, take as long as I could walking slow and stopping often.

        Just as I finished loading the buck into the trailer my phone rang, it was my younger brother checking to see if I needed a hand. We spoke briefly about our evening hunts. Then I mentioned the thoughts about dad taking me here on my first hunt, and while he was too young to go on that hunt. He has similar memories of hunts down in the Clark County Forest that dad made our Opening day of bow hunting tradition that will be remembered for years to come. There was a brief silence between us where nothing need be said, we knew what the other was thinking. Just how much greatest man we know, has done for us.

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      • jpcarlson
          Post count: 218

          Thank you for sharing.


        • Mark Turton
            Post count: 759

            Long may you enjoy those times afield with your thoughts and family, you are very lucky to have a father that spent so much time passing on his passion for the outdoors and hunting, wish him well for me.


          • mhay
              Post count: 264

              That is a great story . I appreciate you taking the time to post it too.

              Isn’t it amazing how more often then not that the best of memories involve Dad and hunts of many years ago ? I know Dad and I went to McDonalds and Kmart but there isn’t any outstanding memories from those outings. But , in an instant I can recall with great pleasure the time we stood thigh deep in a small hole of water in the East Fork catching fat rock bass or the Thanksgiving Day hunt when Dad and I both missed the same ten pointer .

              Thanks again for sharing and wish your Dad the best from Ohio.

            • Doc Nock
                Post count: 1150

                Wonderful reading! A bit blurry by the end, must be my computer!

                Brought back warm, tender thoughts of my own. My father passed after 2 yrs battling for dignity in a nursing home, only to finally have a tired, old rheumatic fever damaged heart finally give up.

                My dad didn’t get to hunt deer much. I had to learn on my own and teach him to hunt and fish, except for small game. Pop was deadly at spotting a rabbit’s eye sitting in a clump of green pasture grass! 🙂

                I somewhat envy your memories, but a memory of any loving father, is far and away one of life’s treasures!

                Thank you!

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