Monthly Archives: July 2011

Summer Bachelor Parties

“Scotty” was my first vehicle. A 1978, the pickup was in remarkable shape in the early 1990s when I started driving it. My grandfather had purchased the truck new and it sat many years after he passed away. It was a Scottsdale model and picked up the nickname from my baseball teammate Lenny Green, who rode with me most days from school to the ballpark.

Scotty was a part of many teenage memories, including carrying one of my first archery bucks

As you might imagine, I have enough memories with Scotty to fill an armored truck. Summer nights were some of the best. We spent most evenings during the hot Western New York months looking for whitetail bucks throughout Allegany County. I loved it.

While the passengers along for the ride varied, Scotty and I were the mainstays. Some nights it was Ward Craft with us, cousins Tom and Jeff made appearances, both of my brothers Doug and Mike came along from time to time, or other nights it was just my girlfriend and I burning gallons of gas looking for big bucks.

Searching for these bucks had nothing to do with early-season scouting. I very rarely hunted anywhere other than our family land – never needed a reason to. That didn’t stop me from knowing many of the giant bucks that roamed throughout the area. Finding bucks during the summer was almost like having another hunting season.

Most evenings, my parents’ old-school video camera was in tow to document deer sighting via shaky hand-held footage. I ran across a VHS recently with a compilation of highlights from one summer in 1994. There were several great bucks that summer, but even more fantastic memories. None remain stronger in my memory than the night I videoed four mature bucks feeding together only 85 or 90 yards from the road on the Knapp Farm. One was a great buck, pushing 140″ as a 10 pointer.

Gas prices make it much more difficult to hop in the car and go for a long drive to check out deer. Ironically, it’s one of the reasons my family chooses to live in Rowan County, N.C., instead of closer to Charlotte. We love the agriculture-rich terrain it affords us to be away from the city.

I’m going to make it a point to go “hunt for deer” more this summer. I know my 3-year old would love to join too. Poor girl, she is sure to get sick of the old stories from yesteryear while we’re riding around. Here’s hoping she won’t get sick of hearing about Scotty though!

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Reading, Writing, Arithmetic … and Deer!

I have no idea how long I’ve been absolutely captivated by whitetail deer. Some folks find that hard to believe. It’s as if they expect to hear about one moment, one day or one hunt that sent me over the edge for my passion.

Now there’s a little bit of evidence to help me time stamp it! I can at least show that my infatuation with deer started as early as Second Grade at Immaculate Conception School.

The presentation board of "Deer"

I stumbled upon a great piece from my childhood last week while on a short visit to my parents’ house in Western New York. My mom stashed away a research project I completed in Grade 2. It was … on deer.

The essay reads as follows:

“Deer make up one of the best known mammal families. They are native to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have been introduced in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, and have made homes in these places. Deer belong to the mammal group called hoofed mammals. Deer range in size from about 20 pounds to more than 1,000 pounds.

Page 1!

They live in cold regions, in hot regions, in forests on grassy plains, on deserts, on mountains, and on flat plateaus. But they all have certain features in comon (sic). They are all herfivores (sic) (plant eaters), and they all feed by browsing, or grazing. They eat leaves, twigs, bark, grasses, and lichens. They also eat berries and other fruits. The males of most species are called bucks and females does.”

How in the world did this fantastic prose not make a run at a Pulitzer? I mean, is there truly anything else you need to know about deer?

I’ll bet the early works of Drs. John Ozoga and James Kroll paled in comparison to my findings.

What’s not known, though, is what Sister Cecelia thought. No grade could be found on the project.