Wisconsin hunter shares memory of final hunt with stepson
By Michael Moritz
It was the last day of the 2009 Wisconsin rifle season for me and my stepson Ian Fossum who loved to hunt. He had just turned 14.
Ian was able to sit in his stand all by himself, but on the eve of the final day, he asked me to take him out and sit with him.
I woke up early that next morning, looked out the window and noticed fresh snow. I immediately woke Ian and told him, it snowed last night; let's get out there early.
The moon was bright before dawn that morning. We decided to go to Grandpa Ray's deer stand because it had a heater.
Before long, we saw several deer walking across the hayfield in the darkness, easily visible because of the new snow and bright moonlight.
About 7 a.m. I whispered to Ian. Whoever sees the big buck first gets to shoot it, I told him, and he agreed.
It was only 20 minutes later when I spotted a lone doe coming out of the neighbor's woods and onto Grandpa's property. It was about 100 yards from our stand.
Then I noticed a big 8-pointer following the doe.
I whispered to Ian. Holy cow! The big one is coming out!
That's when the begging began.
Ian pleaded. "Please, Dad, let me shoot! Let me shoot!"
I jokingly said, no way! I saw it first.
"Please, please!" he continued to beg.
I laughed and said, C'mon, let's switch spots.
I was hoping Ian would have an easier angle from my seat to make a shot, but the buck was still positioned at an awkward angle.
It slipped into some tall swamp grass, still following the doe. All we could see were antlers sticking above the grass. Then the doe suddenly popped up on the other side of the swamp grass.
Put the crosshairs on the doe and wait, I told Ian.
"Why?" he asked.
Because the buck is about to be standing right where she is.
Sure enough, the big 8-pointer walked right into the spot and Ian put it down with one shot!
After much hugging and high-fiving, we called Grandpa and Ian told him all about it.
At first Grandpa didn't believe Ian, so he drove out to see for himself.
The reason this was Ian's last buck is because we lost him last year in a drowning accident while he was swimming with friends.
Not only did I lose a son, but I also lost a great hunter, tracker and outdoor companion.
I miss you, Bud!