When Grandma wants canned venison, it’s Grandpa’s job to get the deer. Antlers are an unnecessary accessory.
By Mike Kochheiser
Three generations of my family hunt on my father’s farm — my father, myself and my son. Until Ohio’s 2013-14 deer season arrived, none of us were aware of the huge, 196 1/8 inch buck with the 25 1/2-inch spread that my father would take before the season ended.
The first time we saw the buck was when it appeared on a trail camera image. The distant capture was taken Oct. 8, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. My son later saw it on Oct. 26 at approximately 7:15 p.m. when he was leaving the farm following an afternoon hunt.
I didn’t see it until right about dark on Nov. 30, just 75 yards from my treestand.
My father hadn’t hunted at all that season. In fact, he hadn’t hunted for several years. He and my mother had been discussing canned venison, however, so when he got home from work on the first day of shotgun season, Mom told him to “Go out and shoot a deer so we can try canning some meat!”
It was relatively warm considering the time of year, which is good since my father won’t hunt if it’s too cold. It was just after 3 p.m. when he gathered his Ithaca 12-gauge, some (roughly) 10-year-old slugs he had lying around, put on his orange vest over a pair of old camouflage coveralls I gave him many years ago and headed to the woods.
He knew the area where my son and I have our treestands, so he went to that section of woods. Instead of getting in a stand, he picked a random spot and sat on a log next to a tree. At about 4:45 p.m. he noticed some movement straight out in front of his “stand.”
It was a deer casually walking in his direction. A moment after that, he saw the antlers, but he didn’t pay much attention to the size. He just wanted to shoot any deer so he and my mother could can it.
The buck continued on a line straight as my father slowly raised his gun and focused on the vitals. It continued walking, nose on the ground, to a point where it passed in front my father’s shotgun, broadside at 15 yards. It was at that point the deer would run the last 50 yards of its life.
It was just the second deer my father ever shot in his life; the first was a doe. My folks are Christian people who live a simple farming life and don’t need much to be happy. I don’t think taking a giant buck meant as much to Dad as granting my mother’s wishes, but I sure got a kick out of it. And I think he’s starting to warm up to it.
My father’s impressive buck was scored by Buckmasters master scorer Edson B. Waite Jr.