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The Deer Hunter

The first real cool spell arrives tonight.

It’s time to think about hunting.

The following is the best deer hunting story I know.

Read and enjoy.

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This story was told to me by fellow missionary, Bobby Lane (in photo with his son Shep in South Sudan).

 

The Deer Hunter

 

It’s by far and away the best deer-hunting story I’ve heard.  My friend Bobby Lane, is a gifted storyteller.  He told the story so well that I asked him to tell it to three more people. I enjoyed each re-telling as much as the first time I heard it.  I’m passing it on to you.

It began with a call to the manager of game ranch in Georgia.  “Sir, do you have any big 8-point bucks I can come shoot?”

“Yes, but most of our clients prefer to get the really big ones on our ranch.  We have some of the finest 10 and 12 points in the South.”

The caller, whom we’ll refer to as “The Hunter” said,  “Nope. I want an 8-point.”

“Okay, but . . .”

“Look, I’m in Florida and it’s about six hours from your ranch. In fact, I’m on my way as we speak.”

Later in the day, the manager met the hunter at the gate. “Welcome. If you’d like to come in, we’ll get you fixed up and serve a good meal, then we’ll take a look at our animals.”

My lifelong buddy, Richard Morton, with a Dry Creek Swamp buck. Circa 2008
My lifelong buddy, Richard Morton, with a Dry Creek Swamp buck. Circa 2008

“No sir, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go straight to the field. Please get in truck with me.”

During their ride through the fields, the manager pointed out some of the prize deer that drew hunters from all over America to.  He glanced at the stern-faced hunter, wondering if he knew that killing one of these big boys ran in the $20,000-40,000 range.

The hunter waved off the suggestion that he take one of these trophy deer.  “Sir, I don’t want to be rude, but I’m looking for a certain eight point buck.”

“Okay, if that’s what you want.”

They drove for the next forty-five minutes with the hunter carefully studying each 8-point before saying,  “Nope. That’s not the one.”

Finally, he stopped.  “There’s the one. I want that one there.”

The manager nodded and the hunter braced himself against the hood of the truck and took the buck down.  They loaded it in the truck bed and headed back to the ranch headquarters.

“Sir, we’ll drop your deep off at the station and the boys will clean it, cut up your meat, and prepare the head for mounting.

“If it’s all the same with you, I’ll just take it with me as it is. Now, how much do I owe you.”?

“That deer is $5500.”

The hunter pulled out his checkbook and scratched out the check, quickly handing it to the rancher.  “Thank you so much.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay? Our steaks in the chow hall are famous near and far.”

Fellow East Beauregard Trojan Keith Hooper with a recent monster buck.
Fellow East Beauregard Trojan Keith Hooper with a recent monster buck.

The hunter nodded.  “Thanks, but no thanks.”  He offered his hand. “I appreciate you helping me.”

The manager, who’d been at the lodge for years, stared after the truck until it disappeared into the Georgia woods. He’d never had a client quite like this Florida man.

 *  * *

For the next three days, the manager couldn’t get this strange hunter off his mind. Finally, getting the hunter’s phone number off his check, he made a call.

After identifying himself, he apologized.  “Sir, I know it’s none of my business, but it’s driving me crazy. Could you explain to me what happened?”

“No problem. In fact I can now tell you the full story.”

The manager detected a smile in the hunter’s voice, very different from the man’s stern visit three days ago.

“I’ve hunted for years on a lease with a group of guys.  Earlier in the season, I began seeing game camera photos of the finest deer I’d ever seen in a lifetime of hunting in Florida.

“Getting this deer became an obsession. I was on my stand early in the mornings and most afternoons.  I was missing my kid’s ballgames and coming in late to work, but never seeing the big 8-point.  It was affecting my life, I was losing sleep and my wife would hardly speak to me.  I was totally consumed with bagging this big buck and each new view on the game camera made it worse.

“Late yesterday I went to check my camera and there the big buck was again.  However, as I scanned through the photos, there were shots of a birthday party for my best friend’s youngest child.”

The hunter chuckled. “That’s why I called you early the next morning and made the twelve hour round trip to harvest your 8 point.  I took the deer back to my hunting spot, dragged it through the woods, and draped it over a log.  Then I took an arrow and jobbed it through the bullet hole before sticking it in the ground.

I went to my stand, climbed up and called my hunting buddies on my cell.  “You guys have got to come see this.  I finally got him.  I got the big one.”

“You see, each year I make a deer hunt to west Texas.  It costs me about $5000. I won’t be going this year but that’s all right.  I got the last word on my buddies and don’t plan to ever reveal the real story.  They’ve been absolutely miserable trying to figure it out.

“It’s the best $5000 I ever spent.”

 

 

 

 

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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