« My Father Is Watching | Main | First Buck »
Wednesday
Oct272010

Handicapped Parking Only

Several years ago, I had the chance to meet Terry.  Confined to a wheelchair since he was 16, Terry lived in a small house sitting on about 20 acres of land.  Several times during the summer, I had the chance to drive his daughter down to spend the day with him.  While Terry finished work in the house, Ely and I would scout around the property and look for animal signs.  It was clear that there were a lot of deer passing in and out of this small plot of land.  Terry had hunted many years ago, and while he was willing to allow me to hunt his land, we came up with an even better idea.  Over the next two visits, we chose a pair of trees on the edge of a small field, and constructed the largest natural deer blind I have ever seen…just large enough to accommodate a wheel chair.  Once the blind was finished, we kept our secret, and waited for gun season to draw near.

I called Terry about a week before firearm season.  He asked if I still wanted to hunt his property, but I told him that I couldn’t…someone else was going to be hunting there…he was.  Terry was stunned!  There was no disguising his excitement as we talked through the details of this hunting adventure.  Neither of us could wait until November 15th came along.  On opening morning, Ely and I pulled up to his house while it was still dark.  We helped Terry into the car, and put his wheelchair in the back.  We then slowly drove back on the two-track that led to our hunting blind.  Terry got into his chair, and I helped Ely to push him into position inside the blind.  I then drove the car back to the house and walked back to take my position sitting directly behind Terry.  Shotgun across his lap, Terry turned back and looked at me with tears in his eyes.  “Thank you for this”, he managed to whisper.  That put a lump in my throat.  I patted his shoulder and we waited together for first light.

Just 20 minutes into our hunt, I noticed that Terry’s arm was shaking.  I wasn’t sure if this was a medical issue, or if he was cold.  Just as I opened my mouth to ask, his shaking hand began to raise my shotgun toward the window.  Only then did I notice the large 4-point buck that had stepped out of the brush and entered the clearing just 30 yards in front of us.  Terry leveled the Remington 870 at the deer as he struggled to get his beating heart and shaking hands under control.  With a deep breath, the gun steadied, and he squeezed the trigger.  The gunshot shattered the silent morning as the slug impacted the deer directly in the shoulder and dropped the buck.  There lay Terry’s deer, the first that he had hunted in decades.  I loaded the deer onto my Cherokee, and we made the triumphant drive back to the house.  Ely came out to see the deer and hugged her father in excitement.  It was the perfect end to one of the most satisfying hunting experiences I have ever had the opportunity to be involved with.  This was a hunt that Terry, Ely, and I will never forget…truly a dream come true for a hunter who long believed his hunting days were over.  That’s the business of Freewater Experience…working hard to make outdoor dreams come true.