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Generational Glory

Four generations of Davis hunters (from left to right): Colten, Age 6, the author 55, his dad, Freddie, 84, and the author's son, Ryan, 29.
By F.V. “Fred” Davis

-- It was the second morning of the 2007 Indiana firearms deer season. I telephoned my dad, Freddie, to ask how his hunt was going. 

“I shot at a buck, but I don’t know if I got him,” he said, adding that he would stay in his blind until someone arrived to mark the location where the buck had stood at the shot.

Years earlier, when Dad was in his late 70s, he built a hunting blind on a small trailer so he and our uncle, Walter Primmer, could hunt in comfort. Sadly, that would never happen. Uncle Walt passed away that fall, never getting to hunt with Dad again.

Nevertheless, as Uncle Walt would have wanted, we pulled the blind to some nearby property and positioned it along a ridge. Since then, the blind has been moved twice, once into the edge of a funnel between two wooded areas and then down in the funnel itself.

When Dad was 80, he shot a small button buck from the blind. Both my son and I have taken deer from it as well. Over the next few seasons, though, Dad went through a “dry spell” and didn’t see many shooters.

His luck changed on opening day of the 2007 season, when he spotted a 6-point buck and a doe within easy shooting distance of the blind. He put the crosshairs on the buck’s shoulder and pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t fire. He’d forgotten to push off the safety.  He then hurried his shot and missed.

Dad didn’t rush the shot on the 8-pointer, but he wasn’t brimming with confidence, either. “I don’t know whether I hit him or not,” he recalled. “When I shot, he just wheeled and ran back up the path. I didn’t hear him run through the ditch.” 

Hours later,when my wife, Susan, and our 6-year-old grandson, Colten, met Dad and me at the blind, Dad directed us to the area where the buck had stood, about 50 yards distant.

We searched the area thoroughly, but found no sign of a hit. The leaves and ground were disturbed, but no blood or hair was present.

We continued in the direction the deer had fled. After walking 50 yards, we spotted the buck, a nice 8-pointer, just short of a ditch.  I rolled the deer over and noticed a hole in his right shoulder, right where Dad said he had held the crosshairs.

I have to say there was a lot of hugging that took place after that. There may have been some tears of joy shed as well.

I called my son, who was hunting nearby. He arrived later, followed by my daughter, Dani, and her two kids, Cailyn, 6 and Max, 3. So there we were, four generations of the Davis family, celebrating Dad’s deer. It is one the nicest bucks of a hunting career that stretches back to the 1950s. Did I mention Dad is 84 years old?  

The 2007 season was a banner hunting year for the Davis boys. Both my son and I took bucks on opening day within 100 yards of Dad’s blind, and with Dad taking his buck on the second day, three generations of Davis’ filled their tags that season. 

-- F.V. “Fred” Davis

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