When the Hunt Party Is a Surprise Party

When the Hunt Party Is a Surprise Party

Harry was slightly irritated when the phone rang. It was dinner time, and he was ready to sit down and eat. It was his son, who had a request.

"Dad, I need help," Peter said. "I wounded a buck and couldn't find it. There's not a good bloodtrail, and I would like you to go along."

Harry was slightly confused. Peter was a savvy hunter, and his hunting spot was literally in the woods behind Peter's house. Several of his neighbors were his hunting buddies, and they'd be willing to help.  But Harry told Peter he'd be right over, and put on his coat and boots.

Harry drove across town and met Peter. With flashlights in hand, they headed for the woods where Peter indicated the beginning of the bloodtrail about 30 yards from his treestand. The arrow was still lying there, bright red throughout, indicating a pass-through. They followed the very sparse blood trail slowly, and Harry worried that the deer was only slightly wounded.

After 20 more minutes of very slow trailing, Peter, who was a few yards in front of his Dad, yelled, “Here  it is, Dad, I found it."  Excitedly, Harry moved up and saw a dead squirrel lying on the ground. Suddenly the woods erupted with an explosion of flashlights, head lamps and lanterns.

"Happy Birthday, Harry!" the group shouted. There was much backslapping and hugging, and the birthday party was continued at Peter's house. Peter chided his Dad for mistaking squirrel blood for deer blood, but Harry didn't care. The squirrel was field-dressed and eaten at a later meal as a wonderful memory of a very special birthday. Harry would never forget his 60th.

As we American hunters know, shared memories of time spent afield with family and friends last a lifetime.

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About the Author: Jim Zumbo is best known as a Western big-game hunter, though he has hunted deer in all 50 states and is an avid turkey, upland game and waterfowl hunter. With two degrees in forestry and wildlife, he has had more than 2,000 articles published in outdoor magazines, written 23 hunting books and conducted numerous hunting seminars nationwide, including for NRA Hunter Services. In addition to serving as a full-time writer/editor for Outdoor Life magazine for 30 years, most of them as hunting editor, he was host of the popular outdoor TV show “Jim Zumbo Outdoors.” A Benefactor member of the NRA, Zumbo has won numerous awards for his writing and remains active with conservation groups, including serving three terms on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s board of directors. For information on his biography, “Zumbo,” released in November 2016, click here.