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Bucking Cancer

Danny Terril

Miraculous day in the Indiana deer woods

By Gina Codalata (Danny Terril's fiancé)

You might remember Indiana's Danny Terril, who made the BTR Record Book in 2011 with a buck scoring 169 3/8 inches composite. Unfortunately, last season Danny was struck with pancreatic cancer. 

On September 24, 2012, the avid bowhunter had a major surgery to remove a sizable life-threatening tumor in his pancreas. Always one with a sense of humor, I will never forget Danny lying in the recovery room, saying, "I think those doctors just field dressed me."

Before the surgery, Danny was a stocky 220 pounds. After surgery, following some complications, his weight dropped to a scant 164 pounds.

Altogether, he had 38 staples, five stents and three drain tubes throughout his body. For more than four months, Danny spent the majority of his time lying in bed connected to feeding tubes. 

Danny's family has a long tradition of hunting, and the deer woods are his solitude and sanctuary. He's used to working hard year round to take care of his hunting grounds, meticulously planting food plots and scouting with the use of trail cameras to patterns and recon deer. You might say Danny makes hunting an art form. 

While recovering, he pined away with thoughts of chasing another trophy buck, but his surgeon told him there was no way he'd hunt in the 2012 bow season. It was like a child who dreamed of Christmas year round was told on Christmas Eve he can't participate. You can imagine the heartache!

"Hearing I had cancer was easier to accept than accepting I couldn't go hunting," Danny said, so he didn't accept it!

He was much too feeble to draw his 60-pound Mathews bow, but it occurred to him the Indiana law about crossbows had changed, so he purchased one. 

Although Danny couldn't climb a treestand, his surgeon had cleared him to walk up a short flight of stairs in a shooting house. That meant he could hunt from a tower stand with the assistance of his 65-year-old father, Denny Terril.

Just before dawn, the man who taught Danny everything he knows about hunting held his son's hand and led him up the steep steps of their tower stand.

You must realize, at this point Danny was still tethered to two portable drains, a foul smelling ostomy bag and a feeding tube. This all added to the challenge.

Sitting in the tower, side by side with his dad again was a special father and son moment relived. That hadn't happened in a long time.

Hunting Stories Wanted!To add even more spiritual togetherness, Danny was able to witness the break of day again. Every hunter knows that warm fuzzy feeling when everything awakens and you can smell the fresh dew in the air. It's truly God's masterful art in motion! 

Fighting back tears, Danny was overwhelmed with joy, realizing the blessings of surviving another day and witnessing God's masterpiece.

Keeping with his tradition before every hunt, Danny recited the hunter's prayer. He was so focused on the prayer he almost missed his father's signal. A buck had appeared in the far end of the food plot!

They hadn't been in the tower even 45 minutes when the 9-pointer strolled in.

Like an excited puppy, his father feverishly went into action, helping Danny lift the crossbow and prepare for the shot.

"Shoot! Shoot!"  Denny whispered.

Grimacing in pain, Danny raised the crossbow over the rail and tried to squeeze the trigger with trembling hands. It wasn't easy, but he made the shot!

It took me, Denny and Danny's mother, Linda, a long while to track, find and drag Danny's buck out of the woods, then load it to be butchered.

Although Linda and I are not hunters, we loved sharing in the enthusiasm and the adrenaline rush over this extra special buck. 

This 9-pointer was nowhere near the size of Danny's 2011 giant, but he was probably even more thrilled with this trophy.

Size and score were totally irrelevant. This buck was a triumph and it stood for an even more meaningful sentimental moment than his record book buck. 

And finally, Danny had that sparkle back in his eyes!

Without words being exchanged, we all knew at that very moment Danny's cancer was just as dead as the buck headed to the processor. Our Danny was back! 

From underneath God's humbling hand, Danny has done it. He bucked cancer!

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