By Justin Vee
My father is an avid hunter and has always instilled in his children the glory and wonder of the outdoors and hunting. He took me with him hunting at 10 years old, and I have been hunting with him every day of every season since.
I remember our 2005 whitetail hunt in Minnesota; it was a year I will always remember. My father worked as a car salesman in New Ulm, Mn. He worked with man named Tom who was about 60 years old and was battling the early stages of Parkinsons disease. He still had most of his mobility and you could hardly notice it at the time. His wish was to tag a whitetail buck as he had only been hunting a few times and only harvested a few doe. My father was happy to allow Tom to hunt with us.
The first day of shotgun season we went out and set Tom up in a ground blind we had on the edge of our woods. I was hunting just 40 yards away down the wood line, just out of his view. We hunted all morning and came back for a few hours for of evening hunting, sadly all we seen were a couple of small antlerless deer flying across the field at mach speed. I was feeling down and out since it was not looking good for the season and right now no one had even had the opportunity to fire their shotgun.
The next day, and the last day Tom was going to be out with us, we setup in the same spots with no luck. After sitting all morning we decided to try something different, so for the last few hours of sunlight, we decided we would drive out a small brush thicket that bordered a stream on a small patch of land we had permission to hunt. We decided that my brother and I would walk through the thick patch of trees and brush, while my father and Tom would post on the opposite sides of it by the stream, one on each side. My brother and I started into this mess of branches and thick foliage with low expectations. About half ways in all I see is the hind end of one fat deer jump up and take off hauling through this brush. I let out a yelp to let everyone know somethings coming, and quick! Next thing I hear is a loud bang as Tom took one shot. All of a sudden we hear Tom screaming “I got him!! Help!!” He had hit it dead in the neck, and killed it instantly. It was not the best placed shot but what can you expect from a man in the early stages of Parkinsons disease. This deer had fallen and rolled right into the 6 foot wide stream and was starting to get pulled along in the current. My brother and I emerged from the brush almost simultaneously and after we realized what was happening, we both sprinted into the water after this deer. We got a hold of this buck and it was the biggest one I had seen to date. We were freezing cold and covered in mud but we were able to get it back on shore. What a buck it was, a nice typical 10 point buck with real tall tines.
To this day I will never forget how shaken up and filled with joy Tom was when we pulled this deer back up on the shore. I had never seen a man as happy as he was crying and could hardly get out a word. He kept thanking God and breaking into to tears as we all sat around looking this beast up and down. I will never forget this hunt as I had witnessed someone fulfill a dream, and his reaction will always stick in my mind.
Sadly after having a stroke and being plagued by his Parkinsons disease, that was Toms last year hunting. But I feel happy to know that he got his buck, and still has it mounted in his house to this day. And best of all, we had helped.
Hunting is a sport that brings people together. It is truly amazing!!!
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