posted on January 26, 2014 13:53
By Mike Handley
When Mark Owen decided to help a fellow deer hunter get back in the game, he expected nothing in return for his kindnesses.
He certainly didn't expect to be handed the Holy Grail.
Mark sells bull semen for the artificial insemination of dairy cows, and he has customers throughout northern Ohio. While visiting with a client in June 2013, they discovered a mutual love of deer hunting, but the man - who made it clear he was a meat hunter - confessed that he wasn't very hip.
"I volunteered to see what I could do to help," Mark said.
They scouted together, and Mark brought him a couple of trail cameras. The first time he checked the units, there were hundreds of photographs of deer.
They tried some different camera setups after that. And in late July, they collected photos of a huge buck with a substantial drop tine.
"We nicknamed him Mr. Caveman because of the huge club of a drop tine," Mark said. "We even joked that he was a magazine cover deer."
Meanwhile, Mark had a new string put on his friend's old crossbow, and they practiced cocking and shooting it. He also brought a couple of treestands and hung one over the trail where Mr. Caveman was photographed.
Mark was stunned when the man told him he could have dibs on the buck on opening day, as well as the following Monday.
"He explained that I was much more excited about this buck than he would ever be," Mark said. "He reminded me that he was genuinely a meat hunter and would be happy with the first deer that crossed his path."
Mark hunted all day on opening Saturday, but he had to work Monday morning. That evening, he was aloft again.
"At 6:45, I heard a noise from within the bedding area and caught sight of something at about 80 yards. It was Mr. Caveman," he said. "I immediately recognized the drop tine."
The deer came to him, he shot it, and the animal expired within 20 yards of Mark's tree.
"I was shaking so hard, I thought I was going to fall out of the stand," he smiled.