My burning outdoor passion is fueled by the lasting memories and vivid imagery that weave their way through my noggin.
Kindling to that fire often comes from those documented moments I capture afield. I take some kind of video camera and still camera with me every time I hunt. I work hard to capture those memories that I’m nervous my mind will someday forget.
I also love fine wildlife artwork and its ability to take me to a place, many times in places I’ve been before, or even places I only dream of someday going.
One of my fondest hunting memories came in November of 2010 when luck manifested itself in the opportunity to shoot my biggest buck to date. Coincidentally, it was a series of pictures – two, taken over the course of two days – that had me perched 17′ up a tree for nine hours filled with optimism for the chance at this deer, that day.
I was in Hancock County, Illinois.
Ryan Kirby grew up in Hancock County, well within walking distance of that tree.
Kirby is a rising star in the world of fine wildlife art. A seasoned graphic artist with a rare brush talent, Kirby and I first met not long after I arrowed that deer. He was living in North Carolina and mutual friends recommended we meet up.
Kirby recently finished a project for me that I’m absolutely thrilled about. I wanted him to memorialize my 2010 Illinois giant, and pleaded with him to consider doing so. At his recommendation, we opted to have Kirby alter an existing piece of work (“Posting Up”) to have it depict my buck.
The transformation of “Posting Up” into “The Culbert Buck” was fitting for a number of reasons, most notably the fact the midwestern giant is depicted alongside a rub on a sapling. My buck made a rub moments before I shot him! In fact, I also have that actual tree, which leans next to the mounted buck in my game room!
(Check out this awesome video of Ryan’s final work in the transformation.)
I was able to share in the experience of picking up the buck with my 8-year old daughter Sara. She documented the trip, and captured a brief interview with Kirby while we were there! Please watch that below!
I could not be more pleased with how it came out! The fine piece is a marvelous addition to our dining room. With it playing a role, the memories of that hunt will #LongLiveTheWildlife!
Cat Tales: To learn more about Ryan, and to see a number of his fantastic fine pieces of art, visit his site at www.RyanKirbyArt.com.