The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

November 16, 2012

First buck is the one that lasts


Saturday is going to be a special day. My grandson Derek, who just turned 20, has decided that he wants to hunt. Even though all of us hunt, he’s never shown an interest before. This year, though, he asked his father for a gun for his birthday. And since he took his hunting safety course several years ago, getting his license was easy.

Thursday morning, we sighted in his rifle and talked about our strategy for opening day. He’s really quite excited and I know exactly where we’ll be sitting come Saturday morning. Hopefully we’ll have a nice buck come by at about 40 yards so he can take his first deer.

There’s something about that first deer. I remember mine like it happened yesterday.

It was the day after President Kennedy was assassinated. They had closed the schools, so I went across the road and sat near a small swamp and some thick pines. It was cold, so I decided to get up and start walking. After all, I’d seen more deer by still hunting than I ever did sitting in one place.

I hadn’t walked 200 yards when a nice eight-pointer came trotting up the hill. I was excited but made a good shot, putting the deer down.

I field-dressed the buck and ran all the way home. Dad was still in the barn when I burst through the doors yelling, “I got one! I got one!”

That day changed me forever. I was now a hunter, and I’ve spent the rest of my life enjoying the sport.

Hopefully this season, I can help Derek take his first buck. It’s time to pass along a family tradition once more.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at

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