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A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

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A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Old 04-01-2004, 04:15 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Whenever I talk deer hunting, I always think of my Dad who was my inspiration. Because of this, I would like to share the following:

ONE SPECIAL DAY

Like most deer hunters, I have experienced those things that we seem to have a special privilege in sharing. The sounds of birds awakening at first light, watching small critters as they begin another day of life in the forest and of course watching the sky change from black to pale blue as we await legal shooting hours, full of anticipation and excitement of Opening Day of deer season. The camaraderie we have with fellow hunters as we share stories of years past while awaiting with anticipation the upcoming season. These simple things that always seem to stay embedded in our minds. These are just a few of the examples I have cherished while doing what I love most. These feelings are also shared by my three sons. They began hunting at an early age and have grown over the years to be the kind of hunters any dad would be proud of. They are dedicated hunters who understand that hunting is more than just the kill. They were taught to not only understand the game, to experience the challenge, to enjoy those times in the deer woods, but also to respect that which we hunt. This sounds like a simple approach for me, to pass on to my sons, the same principals I was taught, but it was more than that. In my heart I felt it was a commitment, something I must do if I was to continue the heritage. You see, my Dad was responsible for it all and at the time, it wasn’t as easy as it would appear. Here’s why….

When I was much younger I especially remember my Dad getting ready for deer season. All the guys would show up at the house, all packed and ready for a week of deer hunting in Maine. It was always a happy time, full of laughter and the love they shared not only for deer hunting but also the love they had for each other was unmistakable. My Dad told me that some day I would be able to join them in their annual Rite of Autumn. During the spring and summer we would take time and head to the woods where he would teach me all about the whitetail deer. He would explain their feeding habits, where they would bed during the day and all about the changes in the bucks as fall approached. What to look for while deer hunting and why. He often said “It’s not what you do right at times, it’s what you don’t do wrong” and most importantly, “you must be a part of the woods in such a way as to not alarm or alert the animals of your presence”. Growing up I had the opportunity to learn so much about hunting and I could only wait for the day when I would actually be hunting with him. As it turned out, it would only be for one, single day.

Just about the time when I would be old enough to hunt with Dad, he became very ill. While serving in USCG during WWII, his ship was hit and he spent hours in the ice waters. Because of this, his heath deteriorated over the years, and amputation of his both legs became necessary. His priorities took a sudden and dramatic change. Even though his health and family needs took center stage, his love for hunting never wavered. We would continue to talk about those special days he spent with the guys, the excitement of the hunt and all the things that make it so special. His one true hope was to finally get back to doing that one thing that meant so much. Well that day finally came and it will be a day I will cherish forever.

Dad was allowed to hunt on an island in NH that was open for disabled hunters. It was also opened the week before the regular deer season and the F&G would supply a special tag for all successful hunters. We spent the night in a motel talking about the special morning that awaited us. His first hunt in many years and my first with my Dad. I remember him telling me how good he felt inside and that just being there was what mattered most and that shooting a deer would be a bonus. We talked about all the things he taught me as a kid and his regret that things could not have been different. But he also said he was delt a hand in life and it was up to him to play it out the very best way he could. He also asked me how I felt at that very moment and I told him I was extremely happy to finally hunt with him and I was full of excitement. He told me, in so many words, to never lose that feeling because that’s what deer hunting is all about and he said “I have taken the time to introduce you to this sport and when the day comes when I have my own kids to do the same”. “Share the experience of hunting with them, Jim, give them a chance to enjoy what we have”. Well we hunted that next day, Dad took a shot at a nice buck but we went home without punching that extra tag. It did not matter, that one day with him was all I wanted and I thank God I finally got the chance.

On a hot day in July back in 1970, Dad lost his fight to cancer. My three sons now in their 30’s and my two grandsons all share in the experience that Dad passed to me many years ago. I feel good, because I have lived up to my part of the bargain and I know Dad would be proud. That day when Dad finally said goodbye, I not only lost a hunting partner, I lost my Best Friend. Thank you Dad, I Love You!
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Old 04-01-2004, 04:52 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Thank you for sharing that Jimmy.
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Old 04-02-2004, 10:34 AM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Jimmy, I'm glad to hear that you finally had the opportunity to share that day with your father.
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Old 04-02-2004, 11:14 AM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Great story Jimmy. Thank you for posting it.
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Old 04-02-2004, 11:19 AM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Jimmy, that is a touching story. I can relate except my grandpa was the hunting drivig force in my life.
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:08 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Great story Jimmy. I'm sure your father would be very proud of the traditions you are handing down to your children. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:35 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Thanks,
Very generous of you to share an intimate portrait of your father. Any father or son can learn more than just a lesson about hunting from your words.
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:36 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

wow that story was touching..... i am glad you got to spend that day with your dad... that made me cry... seriously... im sure that no one would like to admit it, but probably most of us cried. thank you for posting that story. my father also is my driving force in school, hunting, baseball and everything.
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Old 04-02-2004, 10:09 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

That was a great story. It made me think, I guess I take the time I have with my dad now for granted. He taught me everything I know about hunting and fishing. You can definitely tell this with my fishing, because my dad is left handed and I am right handed, but when I was 4 or 5 years old he always took me fishing and he showed me how to cast. Well now I can only cast left handed, I can't even get my bait close to where I want to if I do it right handed. Anyway, me and my dad have had alot of special times in the woods together. My first deer, squirrel huntin, trout fishin, turkey huntin, grouse huntin, pheasant huntin, scouting, we both got our first elks in CO in 2000. My dad was more excited about me getting mine, he even got all chocked up and cried a little and said"good job, bud", I felt like he was so proud of me on that day. I just can't wait till the day that I have kids and teach them everything my dad has taught me and get to be there for all of the firsts, I know it will be the best feeling in the world. After reading this story I am now not going to take all of those times for granted like I have been. Once again thanks for the story.
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Old 04-02-2004, 10:48 PM
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Default RE: A Tribute to My Mentor......My Dad

Great story and thanks for sharing. You are a lucky man to have such a great father.
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