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December 01, 2006

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A Tip Of The Hat

I do a fair amount of whining, b*tching, and snarling on this blog, so it’s a pleasure to report for a change on something that brings nothing but warm, gooey feelings. In November I and four geezer friends went deer hunting at King & Bartlett Fish & Game Club near Eustis, Maine. K&B is a very classy establishment that is not a club in the strict sense of the word (all you need is money; social acceptability is not a factor), and it offers great trout fishing, grouse hunting, and whitetail deer hunting.

There are plenty of deer, and they grow very big, but because K&B encompasses a great many acres, and because the Maine woods are so dense, it’s easy for the deer to avoid getting shot. You can easily go for a whole week and never see one, even though there is fresh sign everywhere.

So Jon Story, which is his real name, sees a massive 10-point buck horning a tree about 90 yards away, but he sees only the head and neck, and that through a small hole in the brush, and there is no way to shoot except offhand, and nothing to rest against. Now I would have taken that shot, and so would just about everyone else in camp, I suspect. But Jon did not. He’s a perfectly competent marksman, but he didn’t think he could do it, so he held fire, and eventually came away from camp deerless.

What can you say but “bravo”?  There, by god, is a sportsman in the true sense of the word. May his tribe increase.


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Mike Diehl

No sensible person would have taken that shot. You can't clearly see the target. You've got an obstructed view so you can't see what may be near the target (in effect-- what you will hit if you miss the target). Rule 1 in hunting safety: Be Sure Of Your Target And Beyond.

Mike Shickele

There are two groups to the rules that we fallow while hunting. The first set is the basic rules; fallow the laws of firearms safety, always know what you are shooting at and beyond, always fallow the rules of the hunting regs; etc. The second set are the ones that we place on ourselves; I don't consider it hunting until I've left the truck, and started walking, I sold the semi auto 22 that I had because I thought that it made hitting running animals too easy; I also thought that it made me sloppy, etc.
Hunting is a sport in which there is generally no one else around to ensure that we adhere to the rules, so it is up to our own moral judgement to ensure that they are fallowed.
That is one of the things that makes it so enticing.



A solid choice indeed - making the decision to go home empty-handed instead of taking a potentially dangerous shot is the mark of a true woodsman.

Dave - when you and your K&B friends hunt public land, let us all know where you're going so we know that there's some folks in the deerwoods who doesn't follw basic firearms rules.


Everyone can talk all they want about how it was a good idea not to shoot and indeed I agree, but if placed in that same situation 95% of hunters would have pulled the trigger. Especially since he had to pay money for the opporunity to hunt there. When you pay to hunt on a guided trip or on private land you don't tend to take getting skunked too lightly.


Jon Story should be quite proud of himself. ---no maiming risk to the animal or fellow hunters. Perhaps the gods of the woods will offer him a spectacular opportunity on his next outing.

John Broussard

Annie, my German Shorthair, and I welcome Jon Story to our camp anytime.

Thank you, Dave, for a nice piece of news.

Ed J

It certainly is nice to have hunting companions that know that the shot isn't the only important part of the hunt. There are a few who can go hunting and come home empty handed and still say they had a good hunt. thanks for the story.


He is an oak!


I wish there were more hunters in the woods like Jon Story. He sure beats the hell out of the poachers, trespassers and slob hunters who cut the back legs off a deer and dump the rest of it by the road for the highway department to clean up. Sorry, just needed to vent...Congrats Jon, may the deer gods shine on you next time (and may the poachers, trespassers and slob hunters rot in deer hell).

craig curtis

Mike : i dont fallow you ?? just kidding couldnt help myself . most of us go years without even a sighting in the deer woods . and if i were in mr. storys shoes id not have shot either we owe it to the game we persue to always be sure of a clean kill (humane). rushing the shot shooting through heavy cover this is how hunters shoot hunters ! 7 dead here in mich. this year . not all from gun shot wounds but one is too many . are ethical hunters becoming the minority dave ?


Hunting is a discipline of honor, and Mr. Story showed plenty. There are things more important than killing a deer.

7 dead; thank god I live in B.C.!!!! Most go years without a sighting? This season, I bitched because I only got my whitetail, and Mulie; no elk. I truely do live in Gods country.


John Broussard

Gene Hill, bless his heart, wrote an article many years ago about how hunting is one of the few sports where the hunter is his own referee. I believe the title went something like, "When No-one Else is Looking," or some such.

We are privileged to be a part of that, and while slobs do mess things up, we have the ability to make ourselves shining examples by practicing the highest ethics as hunters and as human beings.

A wise man once said, "I you lack the qualities of a good man, fake it. After a while nobody will know the difference."

craig curtis

Mike your a lucky man it absolutely is gods country wish i was their !!!!


i had this same thing happen to me this season. i saw a mass of horns as i looked out the end of a point. i experienced those same conditions that your friend described, however, i was very aware of what was beyond my target. i took the shot, wounding the magnificent beast. as i marveled at size of the animal on the ground before me, it got up and ran down the hill. i was very fortunate to have my younger sister (she's 16, and yes, she takes hunting very seriously) slow the deer down for me by taking several, well placed shots. we were able to harvest the animal in a humane, respectful manner. (by the way, i hunt buffalo county wi, and the deer are just as plentiful and big as anywhere else in the u.s., so don't go thinking that it's some kind of deer hunting mecca.)

Ralph Bernieri

I give Jon credit fr not taking the shot.I would need to be there to make that judgement call as to if it was a viable shot or not, and I have never been placed in that situation, as yet..

Ralph the Rifleman

I agree w/Jon(blogger)most of us probably would have taken the shot.Even if we don't wish to admit it here in writing, but I do give Jon(the hunter) credit for not taking the shot.

Mike Diehl

@Craig Curtis --

*7* dead? Of the ones shot by another hunter, how many were wearing camo rather than blaze orange?

Rich Mitchell

Okay - along the lines of true sportsmen - this may be just a bit off topic, but I've always wondered what everyone had against iron sights. Now, I've never hunted, but I compete in NRA Silhoutte with Servcice grade (i.e. old military rifles) using iron sights and have been known to participate in the occasional across-the-course competition as well. I figure that if I can hit a pig size target at 300 meters and put 20 rapid fire shots all in the black at 200 yards, I shouldn't have any problem with making a killing shot at less than 100 yards over iron sights. Why the big deal about scopes then?



It's been a long time since I heard of something like that.

craig curtis

Mike im not sure but its mandatory here in mich. to wear the colour orange . and if you dont and you get caught theirs a healthy fine!! ive had deer 15 feet from me and never gave me a second glance until they caught a wiff of the man smell !!!


If a guy shoots another because he wasn't wearing blaze orange, odds are that he would just have a more defined target with the orange. I'll take my chances without, thank you very much.
In B.C., when we see a guy wearing blaze orange, we automatically assume that he isn't from around hear.

There was a story a couple of years ago where a guy shot both people off of a quad, and then pleaded that he thought that they where both the same dear; give me a break!


Mike Diehl

"If a guy shoots another because he wasn't wearing blaze orange, odds are that he would just have a more defined target with the orange."

I'm not buying that rationalization. If a guy has criminal intent he'll see you, whether you are wearing camo or not, the instant that you move.

In Maine, accidental shootings declined when blaze became mandatory.

If a guy comes to BC wearing Blaze and it marks him as "not from around here" it just proves that his presence in BC has temporarily increased the local IQ.


Im in search for a story of a guy who shot his friend while they where hunting, and he go away with it because he claimed that he looked like a bear on fire up in the tree. ( Im assuming because of the blaze vest?) If you know where I can research this story please let me know.

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