---- — I have always enjoyed listening to the accounts of others’ exploits in the woods or on the water. Over the past several months I have received literally hundreds of emails, phone calls and photos recalling memorable moments made in the field during this year’s deer hunting seasons. My favorites are the ones involving children or beginners, yet I appreciate every single one.
Just the other day I heard from Kokomo’s Josh Trine, who detailed one of his most memorable seasons ever and it did not end with him taking a deer.
Trine’s father was diagnosed with a hole in his heart at birth. Although his legal name is Charlie, everyone knows him as Bud. Even though born with a birth defect, the older Trine has always had a passion for the outdoors. It was his love of hunting that led him to pass on the tradition to his son.
In 1992, Bud had to have open-heart surgery, which forced him to give up the activity he had grown to love. It was during his recovery and unable to hunt himself, he made the time to begin teaching his son the skills necessary in becoming a hunter and trapper. Bud was often times accompanied by close personal friend Pete Schmitt. They enjoyed sharing their knowledge with the younger Trine.
“From the beginning, all Dad and Pete cared about was me taking a deer,” Josh explained. “They never really cared if they took a deer or not, instead it was all about me.”
Shortly after, Bud learned he would need a pacemaker and defibrillator surgically placed in his upper chest. This again precluded him from hunting. Unable to pull back the legally required draw weight for a bow or handle the punishing recoil of a shotgun, Bud spent his time encouraging and helping his son.
Then, several years back when the new rifle laws came into effect, Bud found himself back in the field as several of the new guns now legal for hunting did not dish out the recoil normally associated with shotguns. The father, son and family friend found themselves together again hunting Indiana’s white tailed deer. Yet there were still times when medications or physical limitations brought on by Bud’s heart ailments kept him home.
It was during the final day of this year’s regular firearms season the trio found themselves back in the woods. As mid-day grew into evening, Trine saw a doe headed towards his father.
“Please let Dad get that one,” Josh said to himself. Moments later the report of a rifle echoed through the frozen landscape. Josh immediately radioed his father with the walkie-talkies they carried. They both agreed to wait before tracking the deer.
An hour later, Trine again sees deer, this time heading towards Schmitt. It wasn’t long before the report of another rifle is heard and Josh watched as the deer ran back into the timber. This time they all decided to climb from their stands and begin the recovery process.
“I went to Pete first because he was a little closer,” said Josh. By the time he reached his friend, Schmitt was already standing over a good-sized doe. He then radioed his father letting him know they were both on their way.
By the time they reached the other stand, Bud was already on the ground anxiously waiting to begin tracking his deer.
“He was so excited,” said the younger Trine.
It didn’t take long before the trio came upon the doe.
“Even though it was getting dark, Dad was glowing like a light bulb,” said Josh. “I immediately gave him a big handshake, then a hug.”
It had been years since Trine had seen his father that excited. After all, it was the first deer he had collected in more than 20 years.
“It looks like I may still have it in me, boys,” said Bud to his son and family friend.
“The only thing I ever wanted to see was my dad get another deer,” Trine said choking back tears. “I was too young to actually hunt with him when he took his last deer. Then the surgeries almost took hunting away from him forever. Even though the deer was not some trophy buck, it was one of the most memorable times of my life. I got to witness two of the most important men in my life take deer on the final hours of the regular firearms season,” he said thankfully.
“Even though Christmas was still weeks away, it was the best present I could have ever asked for!”
John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.