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A Grandpa's Influence

photoBy Timothy Dunn

-- I was not interested in deer hunting until I turned 24. It was the fall of 1992, when I talked with my grandfather, Roy, about deer hunting, that I became interested. The old timer jumped at the chance to tell me how exciting it is to take a buck in the whitetail woods.

I could see by the look in his eyes that I had touched upon a wonderful subject. It transformed this tired old man into, as he would put it, a young buck. Grandpa was close to 80 then but still as strong as an ox from years of working in the auto wrecking business.

He believed strongly in game management and he would buy a hunting license every year no matter if he went hunting that year or not.
Grandpa and I talked for hours about hunting on the eve of opening morning. He went over safety rules and made sure our gear was ready. I was so excited I couldn't sleep at all that night. I don't know if it was the anticipation of my first hunt or getting to spend time with a man I admired and respected more than anything that I looked forward to the most.
After a sleepless night, I arrived at grandpa's house around 5 a.m., where we sat in the kitchen and drank coffee. Then we headed out to the spots he set up for us the week before. I could hardly believe the energy this man had while we were walking through the field - he was outdoing me for sure. He was more excited about this hunt than I thought.
We were settled into our spots for about two hours when, across the field about 200 yards away, we saw some deer break through the hedgerow. Grandpa told me they must have been chased out of the woods by other hunters. He informed me to sit tight and be calm.

My heart felt as if it was about to beat out of my chest. The deer were now 100 yards away and closing. I was about to lift my gun when grandpa put his hand on my shoulder and told me to wait for the deer to get a little closer. I tried my best to relax until we noticed a big 10-point buck in the group was headed right at us.

The buck was 60 yards away when I drew a bead on the buck with my Browning shotgun. Eventually, the buck gave me a perfect broadside shot.

"There you go," grandpa whispered. "Take him."

I slowly pulled the trigger and the shot connected. I looked up to see my buck on the ground.

Grandpa slapped me on the back and said, "Good shot, Tim, you did it!"

I went hunting many times with Grandpa afterward, but that one day will always have a spot in my heart. Grandpa has since left us, but the things he taught me will be passed down to my son. Grandpa never got to see his great grandson but I know he would be proud of him. I hope I can give my son the wonderful feeling that my grandpa gave me when I first went deer hunting.

Timothy Dunn
Bliss, New York

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