My brother Gerry was an unbelievably good shot. From the time he was a six-year-old with a bee-bee gun, he shot with both eyes open. Dad would tell him to close one eye when aiming, and Gerry would say that he could see his shot perfectly with both eyes open. Apparently the top competitive shooters do this. When Gerry began hunting rabbits and deer,
he continued to aim with both eyes open, and he absolutely never missed. In 1964, when he was seventeen years old, he put down one of our biggest bucks: 231 ½ pounds!!
We had been hunting for a few days, and knew that there was a big buck up on “the Ridge.” On day four, we were headed back to the Ridge to find that buck, and we had a guest. My father was always the perfect host, He would situate guests at the best spots, where they would be most likely to shoot, and sent the rest of us up to make sure the deer came down where he was supposed to. Dad asked me to place his friend, Paul, on the deer runway near Minnow Lake, at the spot we called “the Rock.” My job was to get him situated, point out where the deer would come down, and be there to back him up.
We were working slowly, because we knew the buck was up there. It took 1 ½ hours for the younger boys to find his track and get him out of his bed. Paul and I got to the right spot, and I showed him where to stand and where the buck would come down. It’s a very steep drop, over rough and rocky ground. Paul had hunted for years, so I didn’t want to crowd him. I found my spot some distance away.
There was no sound to announce that the buck was on his way down—he was going slowly, sneaking silently down over the rocks, following the runway that would have brought him within fifty feet of Paul. It was a beautiful animal, with a huge rack, picking his way toward us. Long before he needed to or should have, Paul opened up on that buck, firing three shots and missing all three. The buck turned and sprang back up the mountain, almost running over my brother Rick. Rick had a go at him with Dad’s .44/40, shooting as fast as his skinny, thirteen-year-old arms would allow, but with the buck in overdrive and right on top of him, he never connected.
The buck then decided to get off the Ridge, and took the runway we call the Cowpath. At the bottom of the Ridge, Gerry lay in wait, with both eyes wide open. He could hear the buck pounding down the cowpath, and got ready, safety off, aiming for where the buck would come out to him. He only had to fire one shot, and the animal dropped.
That was one of the biggest bucks we ever shot on the Ridge.
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