By Ben Grohn
-- Ever since I was about 6 years old, I have loved hunting with my dad and the rest of my family. We hunt on our own land that we refer to as "the farm." The property has been in our family since it was first homesteaded in 1885 by my great-great-great grandfather, Mike Tumm, from my mom's side of the family. It is one of the few properties in the state of Wisconsin that was homesteaded and is still owned by the same family.
So many memories have been shared on this farm - some good and some bad. Many of my best memories are those of when I was too young to hunt so I videotaped my family members hunting. Of course, my favorite memory is when I shot my first deer.
It was Oct. 23, 2005, and I was 12 years old. It was my first year hunting with a bow, and I was in my portable stand by an old car that someone had hauled out into the woods and left for scrap several years ago. My stand was located back in the woods about 60 yards away from the edge of a clear-cut field.
My dad had dropped me off around 5 p.m. and made sure that I was safely in my stand before he went to his own stand. I had been hunting in this stand for a week and noticed that the deer always came around 6 o'clock. I expected more of the same, but this day would prove to be different.
It was a little windy, so I knew that I would see the deer before I heard them. At 5:10 p.m., I looked over toward the field. A buck appeared out of nowhere about 20 yards away from me. It was the first buck I had seen that season. As soon as I saw the deer, I stood up and noticed that it was a little 6-point buck. For me, it was the biggest deer in the woods that day.
As I stood, the deer stopped and gave me a perfect broadside shot. I pulled back my Browning Bow, aimed behind his left shoulder, and let the arrow fly. It was an ideal shot, right where I was aiming; and even though it didn't go through, I knew my arrow did its job.
The deer took off toward the field. When he was out of sight, I called my dad, Warren, on the two-way radio and told him what had happened. When he got to my stand, we waited 15 minutes and said a short prayer together before tracking my deer.
We followed good blood for about 60 yards, which led us to the clear-cut field. I looked up and saw this white thing in the middle of the road we use to get to the clear-cut. When I realized that it was the white underside of my deer, I excitedly informed my dad.
We ran to my deer and looked it over. My dad and I hugged each other so long that I thought it would never end. The arrow was no longer in the deer; so when we looked around for the arrow, we noticed that there was blood sprayed farther up the road. We finally found the arrow in a nearby brush pile that was made when we were clear-cutting.
When we field-dressed the deer, we discovered that I had made a perfect double-lung shot. All those days of practicing in my back yard from our deck had paid off.
After we finished tagging and dressing my deer, we dragged it to the truck and drove into town to show my deer to the rest of the family. My grandpa was especially happy to see that I had harvested my first deer ever.
That is just one of many reasons why our family's farm is so special to me. I hope that the farm and its memories will be in my family for generations to come.
Fall Creek, Wisconsin