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September 25, 2008

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BuckTracker: Long Time Coming

My dad shot his first archery buck yesterday. He is 78 years old.  Dad started bowhunting back in the 1940’s, not long after the Badger State hosted the nation’s first whitetail bowhunting season of the modern era. I have the bow he used on those hunts—a wooden “self” bow with a leather grip—hanging in my office.

It would be tempting to think that a guy who takes over five decades to kill a buck is a poor hunter. That assumption would be wrong. Dad grew up in the Great Depression, a time when hunting was divided, simply, into one of two categories; a means of gathering meat, or a luxury you indulged. Pops fell into the latter camp. He loved deer hunting, but it was an activity that took backseat to the priorities of working, worshipping, caring for family, fixing things that were broken, and helping other people.


Categories Three and Five are where I came in. Dad introduced me to the outdoors hoping I’d love it as much as he did. My mother blames him for infecting me with the Camo-Flannel Virus. Dad gun hunted deer (successfully, I should add) every year with me, but the bowhunting bug I found on my own. When dad retired several years back, I willfully passed my dementia back to him. Ever since, he has had a simple, enviable goal; to kill a buck—any buck—with his bow.

I’m one of those men who long ago realized he can do almost nothing to return the many favors done for him by his father. He is simply a better man than I am in every respect that counts. But I can hang a decent tree stand, and on Tuesday afternoon, September 23, 2008, I put dad in the right one. We trailed, found, celebrated, dragged and butchered this buck together. I’m hoping we’ll repeat the performance for many seasons to come.


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I hope @ 78 years of age I'll still be able to get out after it!

Congrats to your father!


John D

Nice post Scott. I lost my Pops suddenly in May and I'll forever cherish our many successful hunts together. Glad you got to put him on one.

Field and Pool

Great post, my best hunting buddy is my Dad. I hope we can both still get out there at the age of 78. Thats what I call retirement!

Tony V (Michigan)

Great post and ironically I'm reading/writing this on my young son's birthday. (He's seven today!)

My father called to wish his grandson a happy birthday and we talked, of course, about hunting and key dates for the upcoming deer season. He's taught me everything there is to being a good man and I'm doing my best to do the same with my son.

Good luck to all in the field and blessings.


Way to go ! Thats awsome and that is what it's all about .Thats a wonderful story for you to pass on. Best of luck to the both of you.

Greg Brush

A touching story, for sure! I am tickled to hear of your dad's recent success! Having met and spent time with your "Pops" years ago, I can honestly say " It couldn't happen to a nicer guy!" One could hunt high and low and not find a kinder hearted, more genuinely good person than Marv Bestul! Congrats to the both of you-you should be quite proud!


Wow, that is an excellent story. I enjoy hunting with my Dad every year for grouse. We also hunt deer during the gun season. However, this makes me want to get into bow hunting even more. I appreciate the great stories.

If anyone is interest they can check out my (meager) blog at: http://thatothersite.net/sportsmanblog/


I grew up fishing with my dad, and have a great many wonderful memories of those special times. Unfortunately, my dad passed away before my hunting life began. As emotional of a time as the taking of my first deer was the one predominate thought was of my dad and how I thought he would react and wishing he was there. If he would be proud or disappointed is hard to say. I think that he would be a little of both. I can remember asking him as a kid why we didn't hunt, his answer was short and to the point: "I carried a gun long enough." He was referring to his time in Korea with the 45th. Happy hunting, good luck to you all, and above all - cherish the time you have with your loved ones because you never know how long you've got with them.

Derek Kilker

I am getting my oldest one a 22 for her 11 birthday. Have a great time hunting you to. Have many more great times huting.

al whitcher

you have done a good thing by infecting your father with the bow hunting bug more should be so lucky to be able to spend that kind of quality time with the ones they love. nice job

Vern Puck

Scott, I came across this article accidentally and if this is the same Scott that lived in Davenport a year or two ago and his Dad fixed Sensimatics, Tell him Congratulations for me. If you didnt live here tell him anyway.

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