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Mixed Emotions

ConwayBy Jason Conway

-- The Friday before opening day found me attending my 86-year-old grandmother’s funeral. It had been a tough week, and I was happy to get away that afternoon.

A couple of days later, I shot a little doe. Normally, I’d have been happy. But I wasn’t.

But then I remembered reading a story in a hunting magazine about a guy whose grandfather had passed getting two chances at the same buck. I felt like I was in his shoes. I needed to wear those shoes.

During my third day afield, I saw a big buck. It managed to sail over a hill before I could get off a shot. I headed home afterward, discouraged until I counted 31 deer during the ride.

Thursday morning was a bust. At midday, I decided to go to town and buy groceries so I could fire up the grill that night. I was back in the woods about 1:30.

Since nothing was happening, I decided to try a grunt call. About three hours later, the wind died down and a 10-point buck came walking over the hillside about 30 yards in front of me. With my heart in my throat – I couldn’t believe I was living that magazine story – I shot it.

The buck ran about 30 yards and stopped. I stood up and shot again, and it disappeared over the hill.

I knew I’d hit it, but I couldn’t figure out why my .30-30 didn’t knock the deer down. I waited a few minutes before tracking. When I got to the top of the hill, I saw it lying there.

I went back to camp to get a buddy to help me retrieve the buck, which turned out to be an 11-pointer. I have no doubt that my grandmother was with me that day. The mount is a constant reminder of both the greatest and saddest deer season I’ve ever had.

-- Jason Conway

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