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DAD AND THE DEER HOUNDS
In the 1950’s, Dad was a building contractor, and had lots of business contacts. About 1953, one of these gentlemen, knowing that Dad was a good hunter, invited him to participate in a week-long deer hunt. This was Dad’s first experience with a hunting club, and hunting with hounds. 

The club had a tract of land about 75 miles west of Ottawa, where the woods were big and

  deer were abundant.  In that area, at the time, hunting with dogs was legal, and there was no buck law—hunters could shoot bucks, does, or fawns. 

The hunt was run by a father-son team, who were responsible for placing the dozen hunters in the woods, and cutting the hounds loose.  They  assigned each hunter a spot along the runways, where the deer would show up when they were pushed by the hounds.  As the new guy in, Dad knew he wouldn’t have a prime spot.

Day after day, the routine was repeated:  some of the men would even light a small fire for warmth, as they waited along the runways.  By the time the deer got there, they would be so panicked by the hounds that they would run right by, disregarding the fires and all else.  There were breaks for lunch, breaks when someone shot a deer, and breaks when the hounds were tired and had to be gathered up.  On Sunday, hunting was prohibited by law, and the gentlemen posed in their jackets and ties in front of the hanging pole, after church.

When hounds run deer (or rabbits, or foxes), they generally pick one deer to chase.  All the rest of the deer scatter and try to stay out of the way.  A good hound runs with the pack. Less experienced hounds, not so good at their job, may take off this way and that, after the other deer. Dad said that, in the entire week, he saw only small deer scattering away from the main hunt, and one or two that ran by, chased by the poorer hounds. He didn’t shoot, during the whole week.  He said it was the longest week of hunting he had ever experienced, and he would never do it again.

Dad said that hearing the hounds on a crisp fall day was something special, and it was exciting to see so many deer on the run.  But he observed that, to hunt this way, one need not know anything about traveling the woods or finding deer.  The only requirement for success was to be a good shot with open sights, on running deer.  Dad believed that a good hunter should be able to do much more.  He was always proud to say that he could track a deer as well as the hounds could.

This is where we come from.  We have always tried to be like Dad.  He was the Patriarch, and we always knew he was the best.



Dad is the one holding the .44-40 Winchester.