The interaction of hunter and prey can be intensely personal. "We stood staring at each other before his lips curled and he took off, snorting," recounts one hunter. "He saw me and pushed the doe out of the way," says another. No one brags. No one gloats. Most folks thank their spouses for "putting up with me," and one kid thanks his buddies who, he says, "complain that I always drop 'im in the thorn apples, but they come out and help me drag him out anyway."
I have to leave before the awards are all handed out. On the way home, I think about my father. He doesn't hunt anymore, but he did tell me the prayer he said to the last big buck he'd take in this lifetime: "Thank you, Grandfather Deer. I'm sorry to hurt you, but my family is hungry."
The 2007 Big Rack Night is at the Farm Council Grounds on Saturday, February 3.
[Review published February 2007]