With my father riding shotgun, we had hunted most the day. The weather wasn’t good. Might be a blizzard on the way.
We used to do our hunting all on foot, as most men do. Now we sit here in a nice warm truck. The windshield frames our view.
My father’s legs just aren’t the same since he turned ninety-four. From waist up, though, he’s still as strong as he ever was before.
We chopped some wood the other day. Not once did he complain. He kept up with the younger guys. Still thinks that he’s John Wayne.
We drove a little down the road and stopped to have a snack. The sun was getting low then, so I thought we’d head on back.
Then all at once a nice-sized buck came running up the road. He was sliding in some places where the day before had snowed.
We could see he was a hunter’s dream. Those antlers! Proof, for sure. I threw one in the chamber, then I opened up my door.
He stopped and took a look at us from fifty yards or so. My father checked him out, then said, “Why don’t we let him go.”
A few years back I’d heard that once Dad passed up on a buck. I wonder if the deer today knows that he had some luck.
Did my father have a reason to let that big buck go? I doubt I’ll ever ask him, so I guess I’ll never know.
The ride back home was quiet. As usual, I’d say. I’d seen my father’s softer side. Also my lucky day.
From now on when I’m hunting and I get a trophy shot. Will there be a chance I’ll let him go? At this point, prob’ly not.
But today I learned a lesson from a man who knows his stuff. It’s the spirit of the hunt, and for some that is enough.