Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: You'll never forget your first deerBy DICK PINNEY September 03. 2017 1:59AM
BECAUSE IT'S only a few days before New Hampshire bow hunters will be flinging arrows at our wonderful and healthy deer, we thought we'd share a couple of short stories about our successes and failures. Luckily, more of the good times!
We were invited as a teenager to join a group of mixed young and older hunters on their annual deer hunt in Pittsburg. It was pretty exciting to me as one of our co-workers at my dad's very busy corner store complete with gas pumps had wormed an invitation for me out of the group. He did so because of my enthusiasm and dedication to hunting that he'd witnessed during our times working together.
A deer hunt in Pittsburg always seemed like a dream come true! We'd heard story after story of big deer being taken there by our neighboring Seacoast hunters. I had many times dashed out the front door of dad's store to admire big bucks that those older friends had stopped by to show us. And now we were actually going to stay at the legendary Tall Timber Camps at Back Lake and hunt with an enthusiastic group that meant well, hunting in that area, but had scarce luck because of their lack of experience.
Before leaving for that hunting trip, we sought some advice from our local conservation officer, Carl Akerley, about hunting there as he was legendary for always returning back from his hunting trips up to Pittsburg with giant bucks adorning his vehicles.
We found out that even the natives respected Carl's skills at always "bringing home the bacon" and were aware of this when we arrived at the camps. We were greeted with stories there about Akerley's ability to always bag a big buck.
On the first hunt of our trip, we talked the group into setting up a kind of silent drive that Carl had sketched out on a notepad for me. My hunting group also insisted on having me take the stand, requiring me to wade across the freezing waters of the Perry stream to get to the sweet spot that Carl had circled.
Boy, the water was cold but my excitement kind of nullified the feeling. Carl's sketches were quite accurate, so it was easy to find the big blown-down tree that he told me to seek and hide behind.
Shivering from the cold, it was difficult to stand still, so we tried to hide our movements behind the tree. But it seemed that we were only there minutes when a big doe came bouncing across the opening we were watching. We flung a quick shot at it, but we must have been zigging when the deer was zagging! In disgust, we were in the process of reloading the borrowed .32-Special lever-action rifle we borrowed from friend Brad Conner's dad's collection when we spied a giant buck just standing there at the edge of the opening watching my every move!
Very slowly, while watching the deer, we reloaded one shell into the gun, placed the front sight's bead right on the white spot under the buck's chin and, fighting the excitement, stayed calm and slowly pulled the trigger. That magnificent eight-pointer just sunk to the ground and gave out its last quiver when we, out of breath, arrived.
My best attempt at yelling out a "wahoo" must have been heard for a mile around, as quickly the rest of my group showed up. I was showered with congratulations and pats on the back as they admired that incredible buck.
To say it was party time when we arrived back at the Tall Timber Lodge to hang our buck outside our camp isn't even close to what a great greeting we got from those hunters and lodge workers! And all that day and for a couple more days that we stayed there, there seemed to be a steady stream of people that stopped by to admire the Dickster's first deer!
At 18 years old, we were told many times that our first deer would probably never be equaled and those words rang true.
We can still feel the exhilaration of bounding across that 60-yard stretch to lay my gun against the antlers and just stand there wordless as my group assembled there.
Although we've taken a few nice bucks since then, none of them even approached the size or beauty of that first one.
And speaking of beauty, those wonderful memories are still etched in Technicolor in my brain!
Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some!
Dick Pinney 's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com