By Dirk Thayer
The Star Herald
It didn't happen, but Brice (Cole) and I gave it an All-American try on that rare snow day we had here recently in our neck of the woods.
Just like two former Marines, one old and one young, to try. We were the only ones hunting that day, as far as I could tell, at the club.
Brice and I work opposite shifts now so we rarely have the opportunity to hunt together unless one of us takes a day off. This time it was me that had a comp-day to burn.
There’s no better way to spend and off day than in the deer woods than with a good friend and snow on the ground. Memories are made of these special occasions.
It was a beautiful morning and dreams of a big buck easing through the snow covered pines were on the edge of our minds.
Again, it didn't happen, but I did see a young doe and I let her walk.
Just the thought of a big buck in the snow was worth every minute of me having a wet bottom and the constant wiping of moisture from my scope.
I remember years ago when my son Jeremiah was about to go into the Marine Corps we had snowy day and the boys got out of school early.
Jeremy had lamented that he had not yet harvested a deer and reckoned that he would go into the Corps, get killed, and never harvest a deer.
You know, that teenage drama.
Jason, his brother and I were getting our share of deer, but Jeremy kept coming up dry.
With his teenage mindset of 'feel sorry for me', he was getting frustrated.
Well on that snowy day he got a pretty little seven-point that should have been an eight-point (I'll explain later).
That made vivid memories that I am sure he can recount to this day with detail.
I knew that particular buck well because I had taken a shot at it earlier in the year during bow season.
As I made my shot, the arrow hit the side of a large oak in front of me causing it to fly in a sideways.
The arrow hit the buck in the antlers, breaking a brow tine and knocking him out briefly allowing me a good look at him.
When that sideways arrow hit that deer, it cracked like a 22 rifle.
Ok, I know some of ya'll may think this is a tall tale but I swear I remember it like it was yesterday.
Jason and I have probably harvested more deer over the years, but Jeremy has got us beat on quality deer with his bow and arrow.
He has a couple of monsters to prove it.
If I may digress a little, I have had some close encounters with foxes in the last month or so.
I have been watching on the north side of town and a vehicle finally hit it or so it appeared.
I actually was a little sad and I kind of missed seeing him in that area. Soon thereafter I was climbing down from my deer stand a little early because a cold rain was blowing in on me.
I walked to the house and sat on my ole front porch at around dark thirty when all of a sudden a blur flashed in front of me.
My wife's cat jumped on the porch with look of fear in her eyes that startled even me.
As I peeked over the bush she had just jumped over, there stood a gray fox looking eyeball to eyeball with me.
I don't know who was more surprised, the fox or me.
I don't know if the fox had romance or a hungry belly on its mind. Our cat does have a fluffy tail like a fox and she is a female, but who knows what brought that critter to my porch.
Last month while on nightshift I had a gray fox walk right between me and my patrol car at the back of the police department.
I don't know if that was some kind of sign or what but it sure got me to pondering.
Anyway while deer hunting out back of my place, I saw a fox making its rounds around my deer field of approximately four to five acres.
As long as he stayed in my field he was safe. When I bush hog in the early summer, I see many field rats and he was welcome to all of them he could catch. However he made a turn and started in the direction of my home.
That is when I rolled him with the ole .444.
I have a deep respect for foxes, even trapped them when their pelts were bringing decent money.
But wild animals don't belong in your yard and can prove to be a problem.
Well deer season is about over and only us die-hard hunters are hunting these last couple of weeks of primitive weapons season.
A member of our club and I had noticed the same habits of deer moving in the middle of the day.
We both started about mid-morning and at 10:45, I heard him shoot.
Being a good club member and deciding it was the neighborly thing to do, I went to check on him.
We met about halfway on the road and sure enough he had gotten a fat doe.
As we stood there and talked, I told him I would help him load his deer. Well, another doe appeared and posed like she was about to be photographed.
I really wasn't going to harvest another doe but I took her picture with the ole .444, putting more meat in the family freezer.
Now we had two deer to get out of the woods and we managed just fine, though breathing a little harder as we loaded the second one.
It wasn’t that snow buck I so desired, but the Lord saw fit to bless me with more memories and freezer full of good meat.
I grew up reading Field and Stream, Fur and Fish and many other outdoor magazines with pictures of majestic bucks standing in the snow, and the magic of that moment just captures your heart and makes the splendor of God’s great outdoors even more spectacular.
On the Porch with Dirk is a recurring article written by Dirk Thayer, an avid outdoorsman and storyteller.