Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports columns

December 1, 2012

MARTINO: Deer hunting needs mystery

Hunters need wonderment of unknown

I was sitting high up in a stately oak, its branches extended out like the arms of a coddling mother. In the darkness, a gentle breeze rustled the leaves not yet ready to make their descent to the forest floor.

Months earlier I had placed two stands side-by-side. Sitting next to me was my 13-year-old nephew, Cole. He was excited, exuberant and still contained a bit of that youthful restlessness. Together, we watched the day dawn in the whitetail woods.

Each noise was met with a renewed curiosity. His boyhood imagination had conjured up the notion that deer would arrive at this exact location at a precise time, otherwise why would Uncle John have us sitting at this particular spot on opening morning? If only it were that simple.

As he would find out, deer have no schedules or timetables. They come and go as they please. I hoped in his growing years he would learn that patiently waiting for the unknown is sometimes a blessing, rather than a curse.

Leaves crunched in the distance as I watched my nephew stare intently to his left.

“Deer,” he whispered, slowly turning his head to see if I was watching.

Four does soon paraded by single file, cautiously looking, listening and checking the air for any cause of alarm. Several years back Cole was successful in taking his first whitetail, a fat doe. This year we had mutually agreed he would try for his first buck.

After the deer had moved past us, Cole again noticed movement through the forest growth. This time antlers could be seen as a buck made its way through the thick woods. Closer inspection revealed a small fork-horn.

“Let’s see if we can get a bigger one,” I whispered to Cole, as he tightened his grip on the .44 caliber rifle cradled in his lap.

A short time later another deer appeared. This buck appeared to be a little better.

“Get ready,” I whispered.

My nephew’s body language suddenly changed and the whole mood now became intense.

“Take him when you feel confident,” I coached.

As the deer cautiously inched closer, I hoped, no prayed, that he would collect his first antlered buck. Patience is a virtue, especially in the hunting world, and Cole exhibited a good amount as he waited for the best opportunity. The buck continued to close the distance and only when it stopped, standing statuesquely still, did Cole shoulder his rifle.

“Take him,” I hissed in his ear, a little louder than a whisper.

The guns report shattered the morning’s silence and Cole had succeeded in collecting his first buck with one well-placed shot. It was a tall-racked four-pointer with a few small stickers.

The excitement conveyed in his eyes is something I will never forget. His breath came in short gasps and his limbs quivered uncontrollably.

“I can’t stop shaking,” he said embarrassingly.

“That’s what it’s all about,” I replied, as we squeezed each other’s hand for what seemed like minutes.

The pure excitement of helping and watching a youngster take their first deer, whether buck or doe, is something only a hunter would know. Even though this will more than likely be the first of many bucks he will take during the course of his lifetime, none will be more special. Hopefully those antlers will hang proudly in his home as any buck he will ever collect.

As the woods grew still we continued to sit in silence. I wanted to give him time to think about everything that had just happened. It also gave me time to reflect on those bygone days when I was a boy of the same age.

“My, how things have sure changed,” I thought. Thankfully, at least for me, the same exhilarating heart pounding still returns when a large buck suddenly appears. However, I am concerned this may no longer be the case for a large sector of the hunting public. In our ever widening thirst for knowledge and passion for technology, is deer hunting becoming solely based on pure science?

Let’s face it. Many of us know how to locate core areas, decipher a rub line, make mock scrapes, score a deer on the hoof to within 10 inches and rattle in bucks to within spitting distance. Our knowledge is unprecedented and our gear unsurpassed.

But in the process are we losing something of intrinsic value? Are we slowly losing the wonderment only the land beyond concrete and asphalt can offer? After all, why learn to age a track when your trail cam picture has the date, time and moon phase stamped on it?

To me, deer hunting is a game that cannot be totally won, only played, and it’s how it’s played that will determine your ultimate satisfaction. If we shot a deer each time out, much of the mystery and romance would be eliminated and the activity would be reduced to another mundane job.

In the traditional activity of hunting, especially deer, we must have the wonderment and mystery of the unknown to capture our hearts and keep us coming back for more.

Hunting Results

Area sportsmen continue their success as many have collected good Indiana whitetails over the second week of the regular firearms deer hunting season. Here are the names of hunters who have attached their tag to deer sporting field-dressed weights of 150 pounds and above. This information is provided through the help of our area’s state approved check-in stations which are Bryant’s Outdoor Store, Burlington Meats, Simpson’s Deer Processing and U.S. 31 Bait and Tackle.

James Holloway — 155-pound, four-point buck; Cameron Fouch — 165-pound, 10-point buck; Daniel Bales — 182-pound, 11-point buck; Chris Cripe — 150-pound, eight-point buck; Greg Daily — 206-pound, eight-point buck; Jeff Vanover — 160-pound, nine-point buck; Kenny Reel — 150-pound, eight-point buck; Rodney Ellis — 180-pound, eight-point buck; Kip Wilson — 150-pound, 10-point buck; Conner Mann — 150-pound, 10-point buck; William Shephard — 175-pound, six-point buck; Steve Fague — 160-pound, nine-point buck; Larry Reef — 170-pound, 14-point buck; Brandon Deardorff — 150-pound, eight-point buck; John Burke — 160-pound, 11-point buck; Gary Hinkle — 160-pound, 10-point buck; Robert Justice — 175-pound, 12-point buck; David Bale — 180-pound, 11-point buck; Matt Good — 185-pound, 10-point buck.

John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at jmartinooutdoors@att.net.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports columns
  • State Briefs Instructor, student pilot hurt in crash GREENWOOD (AP) -- A flight instructor whose plane crashed while he was giving a lesson has told police the craft had engine problems. Police say 65-year-old Dennis Rumley of Greenwood and 38-year-old student pi

    March 19, 2014

  • de la Bastide, Ken mug ID de la Bastide: Young stars shine in Georgia For the past few years I have had the privilege of watching two up and coming stars in the super late model ranks that are going to make noise in NASCAR. The two drivers scored victories this past weekend at the Champion Racing Association's annual S

    January 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • de la Bastide: IndyCar silly season is heating up

    The start of silly season for 2014 has started in the Izod IndyCar Series with just a handful of races remaining.

    August 14, 2013

  • Emmons, Rohlfing select colleges Preston Emmons enjoyed a breakout season as the catcher on Kokomo's baseball team. He drew college interest at just the right time, and will join Wildkats teammate Eli Grimes at Goshen College, where he will continue his career on the diamond with th

    June 13, 2013

  • Hibbert.jpg GASKINS: Hibbert’s block was thing of beauty

    For the better part of the NBA season, ESPN devoted all kinds of time on SportsCenter episodes to replays of two dunks. Anyone who watches any ESPN at all surely knows the two to which I’m referring: 6-foot-11 DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers posterizing 6-3 Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, and 6-8 LeBron James of the Miami Heat hammering home a dunk over 6-2 Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics.
    Day after day, ESPN commentators lavished endless praise, which quickly grew tiresome. The dunks were strong, but Jordan and James were much taller and heavier than Knight and Terry and the dunkers also caught perfect alley-oop passes with the defenders in poor positions to defend. Still, ESPN commentators loved these plays.
    I kept wondering if a great defensive play would receive the same kind of love.

    May 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042413 - Art for Bowman.jpg Gas City I-69 Speedway has big show in store

    Weather permitting, the local racing action will kick off this weekend as the Gas City I-69 Speedway will play host to the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series on Friday night.
    Last week’s scheduled opener for the bullring in Grant County fell victim to the heavy rains that besieged large portions of central Indiana.

    April 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Frederickson.jpg BOWMAN: Frederickson ready for his 20th year of racing

    As hard as it is to believe, when Kokomo’s Jamie Frederickson rolls onto a race track in the coming days, it will mark his 20th year of toiling in a non-wing sprint car.
    Entering this season, Frederickson has high hopes as a result of the previous 19 years honing his craft and bettering his equipment.
    “This year is pretty much like I am every year,” said Frederickson. “My main goal is that I would really like to pick up a feature win at some time this year. I don’t care where it’s at and how I do it, I just want to win a feature before this year is over.”

    April 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • Indiana’s Crean simply fails to inspire confidence

    Survive and advance?
    More like, struggle and aggravate.
    Such is the frustrating reality for Indiana University men’s basketball fans this season. Blessed with roster talent rivaled only by Hoosier teams of lore, coach Tom Crean stumbles his way through game plans, matchups and adjustments; the outcome is occasionally brilliant, but largely inconsistent and underachieving.
     

    March 28, 2013

  • GASKINS: Schultes' deaths hit hard

    Like many others, I am walking around with a pit in my stomach following the senseless deaths of Dennis and Judy Schulte earlier this week in Seattle. The retired Kokomo couple was walking with their daughter-in-law, Karina Schulte, and her 10-day-old son when they were slammed into by a suspected drunk driver.
    Dennis had deep roots in Western athletics. He was a longtime assistant coach in football and wrestling and later the head coach in wrestling. In addition, he was a rock-solid teacher in the math department. Judy worked in education at Northwestern.

    March 28, 2013

  • Hoban had zeal for Tigers

    While Merrill Hoban put his signature on Howard County basketball during a 12-year reign as coach at Northwestern High School, it was his influence and lasting relationships with players, students, colleagues, friends and family that will be remembered most fondly. Hoban, 91, was a teacher at Northwestern for 31 years. He died Wednesday at St. Joseph Hospital.


     

    March 25, 2013

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller