Tuesday, 11 December 2018

C Columns

Outdoors With Dougherty: A Season When Memories Are Made

By Dan Dougherty

I just read an email from Gaye, our editor at Christian Living, reminding us of an upcoming deadline. In her email she stated that autumn was her favorite season. I have to agree with her, but probably not for all the same reasons. The beautiful fall colors of changing leaves, blue skies, and awesome sunsets is just part of it. The mild days and cooler nights make for the perfect weather to be outdoors. For some of us that means another year to enjoy Boise State football and new hunting seasons.

Ever since college, deer hunting has been one of my favorite activities. It has provided many great memories with friends and family. The nostalgia of hunting partners now gone and the pleasure of sharing memories with a new generation runs deep within me. Hunting, especially with family, provides for a very special bonding. I recently was asked, “What are your favorite hunting experiences?” I answered that I would have to write a book to tell them all, but most would have included family. I am not going to write a book, but let me mention a few.

My wife Peggy, her father Bob Yelm, his brother Eldon and I often hunted together. We hunted whitetail in the Clearwater region. We are meat hunters and it tastes better from up there. While hunting on Hungry Ridge, Bob shot a large buck. He used the 4 wheeler to get it back to the pickup. Hearing the shot and then the 4 wheeler, I met him back at the pickup. The buck was huge. It took both of us to get it in the pickup. At the check station, they told us the buck was probably around 8 years old. It was the biggest they had through that year. It weighed 223 lbs. dressed out. Bob and Eldon have departed this world. Forever missed!

My wife shot her first deer on Hungry Ridge. I left her at a spot where I had shot a deer the day before. I had just barely left when I heard her shoot. Returning quickly, I saw her standing over the deer with a knife in her hand, trembling. I asked what was wrong. She answered, “I’m just so excited!” She still gets somewhat excited every time she shoots one. (I do like how she looks in camo!)

Hunting above the South Fork of the Clearwater near McComas Meadows, I let Peggy and my son Jakoub off to hunt down the hill. I gave them my knife, just in case. I was headed back into town for some gas. A couple miles down the road a deer crossed in front of me. I parked the pickup and headed up in the woods to see if I could get a shot. I didn’t see it, but a nice buck walked out from the other direction. I shot it but soon realized I didn't have my knife. I dragged the buck down a short ways, near the road. A vehicle drove by and I recognized Ivak Copper, a friend and welding instructor at Caldwell High School. He stopped and came up to meet me with his son, Colton. I wanted to borrow his knife, but he cleaned the buck for me; Colton wanted to drag it to the pickup, so I let him. (Jakoub got a deer that day too.)

My son David, his friend Darren, and I were hunting north of Grangeville. It was near the rut, or breeding season, when there is an increase in bucks chasing does. We were putting deer estrus from the bottle onto a felt pad. Darren had never seen it before and couldn’t believe the smell. All of a sudden he whispered, “Deer.” About 60 yards away, a buck walked out with its nose raised and tongue out, smelling the air. David whispered, “Don’t move, Dad.” Using me as a gun rest, he shot it.

In church Sunday, September 16, Peter Snider showed me a picture of an elk his friend had shot. Father and son duo, Bruce and Thomas Clancy, were bow hunting in the Mountain Home area. Thomas had arrowed the bull just the day before. What a beautiful specimen. A memory neither Bruce nor Tom will ever forget.

This November, I will be taking two of my grandkids up north to go whitetail hunting. I hope it will be during the rut. No matter the outcome, it will be another cherished memory. A new season!

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