Just so you know, this will be kinda long, so feel free to check out now, if you want!
Close as I can remember, it was December 2001. I was hunting with my son-in-law and I was still giddy from some recent success. Seems I'd had a pretty good season thus far with the harvest of a 10 point taken during early Tennessee muzzleloader and then taking a couple more bucks up in Connecticut, hunting with my Buddy, Gary.
Well, I returned to Tn. from Ct. and commenced to some more hunting, of course. I took a decent buck with my 1952 mod 70 and was simply, "livin' the life". My son-in-law to be was still, however looking for his first buck. I kept encouraging him to accompany me to our very good area and he kept agreeing.
Well, one late December afternoon I got him to go with me (agian) and sent him off to the best location I could think of. Me, four bucks already, I was content to sit in a comfortable spot and await his shot.
I did that sitting and holding my M99 Savage .300. No shots by sundown and just a few minutes later I heard the unmistakable sound of a deer walking. The predator in me kicked in and I readied that Savage, getting ready for the appearance of that deer. He hit the far side of the gully to my right and as he was down in it I aligned the .300 to where I figured it should be.
Up the close bank he climbed and I gave a soft grunt. When he stopped I shot and he hunched up and ran down the hill (of course he went DOWNHILL!). I heard him crash and grinned with buck #5 of the season. Then I realized it was about to get dark and it was all uphill for this upcoming drag.
Now, the shortened version is thus: My 6' 8+" son-in-law was there to help me drag him up that hill. And after he allowed me to get him a full 25 yds uphill without croaking, he finished the rest of the 100 yds faster than I could keep up (he's a KEEPER!!)
We loaded him in my truck and then drove to the nearby check station. Now, this is in rural Tennessee, mind you. We pulled in to the store/gas station/local hang-out and went inside to register my deer. I looked around and noticed a local fella. Someone who had obviously not had the best of luck the last few years.
I'd seen him several time, riding his bicycle up and down the county roads in the area. He was not well off. We finished checking our deer and I turned to this fella and motioned for him to come over for a minute. He did and I asked if he would like to have the deer I'd just shot.
Well, I am still to this day, blown away from his response. He literally started jumping up and down and pretty much screamed...hell yes! I smiled and said, well come on we'll take you and the deer to your house (I knew where his trailer was).
Well, he sat in the back of the truck with deer and his bike for the 1 mile ride there. He jumped out and moved away the bushes he dragged across the driveway, whenever he was gone, to keep people out and Mike and I delivered that deer to a tree in his yard. We donated a rope to hang it with and left with echoes in our ears of how excited he was to now have a Christmas feast at hand.
I've thought of that deer many times. How I likely should not even have shot him. But, mostly about how, because I did, I seemed to make someone's day and actually his upcoming Christmas a bit better.
Sorry this was so long, but I couldn't tell it any other way!