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Author Topic: A TRADITION ENDS  (Read 785 times)

Offline ductman

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A TRADITION ENDS
« on: October 17, 2005, 10:47:27 PM »
The Tradition Ends


The darkness is slowly fading away under the growing light of the rising sun. The frost which was decorating the leaves with its white glow the last several days is gone because of the drizzle of rain which falls. The rain tells me that another Pennsylvania opening day of deer season is upon us .As the darkness fades away and the hillside lights up, my breath plumes out so I know its almost cold enough to freeze. I scan the hillside watching for movement, hoping to catch a glimpse of a buck. The hollow below me is quiet except for the red squirrel that is running from tree to tree trying to get that last pine seed before the winter snows fall. The scrunch of the leaves behind me doesn’t catch my attention because I know what’s there. It’s my grandfather, who is sitting with me today as my legal adult as I’m only 12. This is actually my 3rd year hunting, I`v been hunting in Maryland since I was 10. And I have 3 deer under my belt but have yet to shoot a buck, so the game plan is to get my first one with “pops”. Pops has been hunting up here for almost 40 years now and this is his favorite hollow. My father had to work this week so I made the trek north with pops without dad. My father has never killed a buck up here in these mountains. For sixteen years my dad had made the trip north for opening day but just never connected with that elusive buck. I asked him if there was a secret to killing a buck in the mountains, he said “you need a little luck up there son”. When I asked pops he said with that little twinkle in his eye “there’s no secret you just have to know where to hunt” pops should know he has harvested around 40 deer out of the area we are hunting this morning. But this year we hunt with heavy hearts as the old cabin that pops and the rest of the family have used for years will be gone. The farmer, which pops has leased the cabin from for all these years has died and his son sold it off. We were informed when we showed up at camp that this was the last year we would be staying there. We know that there’s a camp ground up the road we can use, but it just won’t be the same. Standing inside the old one room camp house you can see the years of memories hanging on the wall. Behind the stove all the spent rifle casings from successful deer hunts. The empty shotgun shells from pheasant and turkey hunts, the scrub rack on the wall killed many years ago. I know at my young age I don’t understand the attachment to this place but I can see it in my pops eyes as he looks around the room. He smiles as his look lingers over the grouse tail feathers that are stuck inside the vase on the table. And I wish the walls could talk as I imagine the stories spun inside these 4 walls. Pops says more and more of these old camps are disappearing every year as things are apt to always be changing. When we drive around on Sunday afternoon he takes down past greenwood furnace state park. As we drive up rag hollow he points out all the different places that used to be camps that are now permanent residences or just empty lots. He points out where at one time you would see 100`s of deer and now its posted or a house sits there. But now sitting with pop in his favorite hollow on this wet and cold Monday morning, I really want to harvest my first Pennsylvania buck just for him.

This is my first year deer hunting in Pennsylvania and my dad wanted me to share it with my grandfather. And pops was very enthusiastic about bringing up to camp. He told me stories about the big ones he had seen as we go west on rt. 322. I start laughing as he tells me when my father got lost as we head towards Belleville. Then I noticed how he seemed to just relax as we crossed over Stone Mountain on rt. 305 heading towards Mcalveys fort. As we head past the park he says “almost home”, and then I remember that’s the name for the camp. As we pull up to the camp he tells me how when my mom and aunt were younger, they would run outside at 5am to wave at the milk truck. And even to this day if the driver sees lights on he always honks his horn as he speeds by. We head to the fort to buy kerosene for the stove at gibboneys store and gets subs for dinner. Then we head to bed because the alarm is set for 4:30 am.


 I lay there feeling disoriented when I realize that pop just shook me awake. I can hear his feet padding around on the cold floor as I snuggle up under the quilt. I can hear the bacon start to fry and smell coffee as the aromas waft under the heavy down quilt. Slowly I extract myself from the bed as nature calls and I head out to the privy. I run back in and tell pop it’s freezing out there and he just chuckles. I start getting dressed and hear the air horn blow as the milk man goes by. Rush around to eat and find those little last minute items that always seem to disappear when you need them, and head for the truck. As we drive up 305 towards ennisville I see trucks parked here and there. The orange hats and coats stand out in the headlights, and seeing the hunters with guns shouldered just gets me even more excited. We are heading to pops very place, a place he calls the “sawmill”. It’s actually property owned by PSU, but pops said at one time there was a working saw mill on the property. We are the first ones to arrive, the parking void of any other vehicles.  We grab our gear and I shoulder my new savage 7-08 that dad bought just 2 weeks ago. The gun feels heavy on my shoulder but I shot enough rounds to know it will hit where I aim with confidence. We hike up to a old logging road that runs parallel with the hollow. Pop whispers to me “just follow me, and don’t turn on the flash light I know the way. We hike for about ½ mile till we come to a big stand of hardwoods; we cross the ravine and find a tree to sit against. 

I watch the squirrels as the drizzle of rain starts to stop. Suddenly I hear gunshots in the distance and grip my gun tightly. But pop whispers in my ear that they are a ways off and just relax and watch. After what seems like an eternity I see a flash of brown coming up the hollow. I reach back and tap pop on the leg and he just smiles. Pops had been watching the deer for at least a minute before I saw it, he told me it was a doe after using his binoculars to glass the hollow. Next thing I know a finger comes across my shoulder pointing down the ravine and I see a white tail flicker. As I continue to watch a form materializes out of the brush carrying a rack. Pop whispers in my ear that it’s a 6 point and I should wait till it gets closer. Anticipation sets in along with the shakes as I silently chamber a round. I slowly lay the gun across my knee and settle the cross hairs on the whitetail buck. I’m actually mesmerized as I watch the deer lift his quivering nose into the wind as he hesitantly works his way towards us. Panic sets in as the deer freezes, oh my does he know i`m up here? Did he catch our scent?  Then suddenly he starts walking at a quick pace straight up the ravine. My heart is racing, my hands are sweating. Millions of things are flashing in my mind. I start shaking like a leaf, and then I feel a hand on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear. I hear one word “relax”, and suddenly the gun feels lighter and I can see the deer in my scope. Finally the buck stops and gives me a clear shot , I settle the cross hairs behind the shoulder. I slowly squeeze the trigger like dad taught and I never even feel the gun go off. After the shot is kind of blurry but I remember hearing a crash , and pop jumping to his feet telling me “ he’s down buddy good shot”..!!!!!

We sit for a couple minutes and share a soda just to give the deer some time. Then its time to collect my deer. We find it lying on the same logging road we had walked in on. A beautiful 6 point, my first buck! I think pop was even more excited than I was. We dressed the deer and started the long drag out to the truck... After we got back to the truck some hunters stopped and helped us load in him. Of course the wanted to hear about my first deer so we shared the story, going over all the details. They congratulated me on my first trophy. as we packed up the gear to head home pop told me he had to come back the next weekend to pack up the stuff to bring home, that he was really going to miss the old camp. But at least he had a great memory to leave with. Later that evening as we headed home we laughed and talked retelling the story, polishing , embellishing and getting the story just right to tell my dad. Isn’t it strange that one of the best parts of hunting is the memories and getting to relive the story forever?



Offline MI_Yankee

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Re: A TRADITION ENDS
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2005, 08:12:59 AM »
There's no feeling in the world like getting your first buck.  Teriffic story.

Offline John Andrews

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Re: A TRADITION ENDS
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2005, 06:43:47 AM »
That was great, ductman! O0
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Offline ductman

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Re: A TRADITION ENDS
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2005, 09:38:56 AM »
its a story i hope becomes reality this december for my boy :)

Offline Eric Hazelip

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Re: A TRADITION ENDS
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2005, 02:24:45 PM »
My son age 11 now. Took his first deer last November on the second day of gun season. I am lucky enough to have a understanding wife that let me start taking my twins hunting with me since they were 5 years old > My twins Jeremy and Emily both live for deer season to come in each year last year was the first year that they were able to Cary a gun after compleating hunter safety class. I have to tell you that being in the stand with him when he took his first deer ,, a small 3 pointer ,, was more important to me than if i had killed a world record. Emily has said that she is going to kick her brothers butt this year because she wants to kill one with her new bow.
All who resist will die

Offline ductman

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Re: A TRADITION ENDS
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2005, 02:31:45 PM »
yeah i know what u mean. it was awesome watching my son take his first deer last year. story is on here with pics. this will be his first year hunting with grandpa in pennsylvania. we hunted as non res. last year in maryland just so he could hunt

 


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