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Brock goes hunting

brock ratcliff

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Don't worry about that, Mike. I hate pimping the thing myself, really do. And though I certainly appreciate it when folks put it in a picture, I sure don't hold it against anyone if they forget to! Congratulations on Klay's deer again. Its pretty special when it comes together for your kids!
 

brock ratcliff

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My buddy, Lathe, has had a heck of an awful season. He's a good hunter, really good. He and I started hunting about the same time, he killed a deer with a shotgun a few years before I ever killed my first. I think he was 7 or 8. We grew up together, attended the same church and hunted the same area of Vinton Co. with our dads. I don't remember life before Lathe. You don't make many friends like this in a lifetime, so opening day of shotgun season is sort of reserved for me and him to get together, even if we only have doe tags and no intention of killing.

As usual, we made plans to hunt yesterday. He hasn't tagged a deer yet this year. He is selective through bow season, but when the guns come out, he is going to shoot. :) He kills one deer a year, maybe two, but is far from greedy. When his tag is filled, he is content. So yesterday he and I went to a stand I have up in Ross Co. I wanted to film him as I felt pretty sure he would get an opportunity at something, and if he would hold out, maybe even Popcorn. We arrived well before sunrise and waited anxiously. Aside from squirrels, we had not seen much. By 9:30, we got involved in a deep discussion about the Ohio State/Ichigan game. Lathe interrupted my thoughtful monologue to say "There's a deer". Two small bucks came into the woods after sparring for a bit in an old pasture. I told Lathe to shoot whatever he wanted, and fired up the Handycam. After 10 minutes or so, they gave him an opportunity at 60 yards or so and he turned loose with one of his late father's 870s. That was it, dead deer. The other buck hung around for a time, not knowing what to do or where to go. Apparently, Lathe killed the leader of the two deer herd. :)

No giant trophy buck killed by us yesterday, but we sure had a good time enjoying one of the best days of the year. And of course, the Pepsi tradition continues...
 

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brock ratcliff

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Yesterday a local boy posted a pic of FB of a really, really nice buck he had just killed. The problem with that was that it was the second buck he's posted pics of this season. Mason and I had a chat about that, a long one. I confessed a few sins from years ago and explained that it is not the way to do things. Filling tags for others = bad, bad, bad. Party hunting is not legal in Ohio, and in order to truly enjoy what we do, we HAVE to play be the rules, even if we think they are dumb.

I bought Mason another tag the other day so we could get out and stomp around, enjoy gun season a bit. Of course he can only kill a doe, and if it weren't for the fact I've got one man begging for a deer, I wouldn't let him shoot. So we've had a couple of good morning sits mixed in with an introductory course in how I like to walk up on deer in little thickets and shoot 'em. It's been a ton of fun so far and a learning experience for Mason as his only experience in deer hunting has been bowhunting, or perched in a stand with a gun.

So today we sat for a couple hours in Ross Co before heading over to one of my Highland Co. haunts. It so happens that Mason's bus goes past this farm everyday. Last year he saw what he claimed was the biggest buck he has ever seen early one morning in a bean field as his bus took him to school. He has spoke of that deer often, giving vivid descriptions of his rack as being "as big as they get", etc. "It looks like BigDumbF***#1's deer"... yadayada. Well today, after our conversation yesterday regarding shooting more bucks than the law will allow, Mason said, "Dad, if we see that big one, I might not be able to stop myself from shooting". I joked that I'd choke him if I had to call his Grandpa to bail us out of a jam with his tag, never thinking it may actually become an issue.

We strolled around a bit, Mason got the gun up on a doe while she was still in her bed, but she bounded away without him getting a shot. Next, he held his fire on a half racked buck and another doe that did not offer a good opportunity. I decided to set him up in a low spot and push out a 10 acre thicket. Before anyone gets on me about leaving a 10 year old with an 1100 full of deer slugs by himself, keep in mind I have more faith in him with a gun than I do most adults I've hunted with, he knows the rules, and plays by them!

So, I send Mason off to his position beside a big cedar tree to await the deer I'd move his way. I circled up and around the thicket and dropped in the opposite side, right alongside a neighbor's yard - a perfect place for deer to hunker down late in gun season. Sure enough, after slipping along a couple hundred yards, I heard a deer take off. Not an explosion, just sort of sneaking away. No shots fired. I slip along another 50 yards or so and four antlerless deer take off in Mason's direction. BOOM, BOOM! I grinned a little, knowing he doesn't miss often. Short moments later, my phone starts ringing. It's Mason. I answer and hear him crying...."Dad, I'm so sorry...there was this big buck....He came right to me....20 yards and I stopped him broadside....boohooobooohooo.... I'm so sorry"! I freaked out, asking what he had done, scared to death he had shot the big buck and was feeling remorse. As it turned out, he had the big buck just short yards from him, stopped him, safety off and sights lined up....and DID NOT SHOOT! He was so dejected after the buck walked a circle around him without being able to shoot that he started crying and walking for the truck when the does burst from cover. He said he shot just to shoot, didn't think he even aimed due to his current mindset. We checked for blood, and he was right, he didn't hit the doe.

According to Mason, this was the same deer he has seen before, the biggest deer he has ever seen in his young life. From where the boy was standing, he had a broadside shot, in a cut cornfield, at a standing deer he claims to be as "big as BigDumbF***#1's"...and did the right thing! He cried, I mean really cried because he couldn't pull the trigger, but dangit, he DID the right thing!!! Though I have tried, I know I cannot convey to him just how proud I am of the decision he made. I'm not so sure I'd have been able to do the same given the circumstances, and I know for a FACT, most around here would have had no problem in killing that deer stone dead if they were in his shoes! DANG, I'M PROUD OF THAT KID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I seriously doubt the deer was as big as Mrex's, not many are, but by the tracks, it sure as heck is big. Here are pics of the tracks, Mason standing where the deer was in relation to where he was hiding in the brush, and his artist' rendition that he drew on a napkin as soon as we got home. If it's even close, he was a dandy and would be hard for anyone to do the right thing on. Man, I have a good kid!
 

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Gordo

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Good for him. Kids going to be really picky from here on out when it comes to filling his buck tag.

I hope ALL of us would have done the same thing.

Once u cheat id day one of two things happen:

-u kick yourself in the ass and never come close to crossing the line again.

-snow ball effect. Breaking the law more and more.

Good meaningful write up brock.
 

brock ratcliff

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I'd say you're right Gordo.

Now he's bugging me to load up on corn and get some pics of this buck. I'm inclined to give it a try. I've never seen this deer but Mason has been telling me about him for two years now. I'd like to get a look at him too, even if it is just a pic!