By Mark Kenyon
To a non-hunter, a set of antlers might seem like nothing more than bone. Cold, hard, pointed. But to a hunter, they’re something different entirely. They are alive. With nothing but a glance or a touch, you can be transported back to another time, another place. An icy morning. A crisp afternoon. A racing heart.
And it’s a feeling just like that which I’m experiencing today as I sit in my office, looking at a wide, wrapping set of antlers. But it’s not just to one morning or afternoon that I’m brought back to, but many. These antlers take me to a cool November morning, a blustering rainy night, a frigid midday sit, a devastating December blizzard, a New Years rush, a summer thrill and so much more.
And just like those other two, unbelievably, Glenn’s antlers and memory are now here with me. Taking me to old familiar places and teaching me new lessons. The story of Glenn has come to a close. And today, I wanted to share a bit of that story with you.
In 2013, the first year my friend Josh and I started hunting a new southern Ohio property, we had two nice bucks that consistently were showing up on camera. One was a 5.5 year old buck that we dubbed Jawbreaker (you might have heard of him) and the second was a dandy 3.5 year old eight pointer. We named him Glenn.
While Jawbreaker was my primary target that year, Glenn was a deer I was hoping to see too, and we saw him plenty.
On one of our first hunts during the 2013 rut, both my friend Josh and I (from different stands) watched him chase a doe around the cut bean field for most the morning and then proceed to chase her right into a fenced-in horse pasture behind a neighbor’s house and right through their front yard. Several days later, in the midst of a steady downpour, he stepped out and walked past Josh a little over 40 yards away, but never came in to his calls. And a few weeks further down the road, while hunting all day in late November, I caught Glenn cruising along the edge of a bean field at both 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM, but again couldn’t get him to close the distance into shooting range.
That takes us to the December firearm season in Ohio and a severe cold front and blizzard that was hitting the region that weekend. I raced down from Michigan in time to catch the weather and the increased deer movement, and sure enough, I got it.
That afternoon, through the near solid curtain of blowing snow that day, Glenn emerged. But things don’t go as planned.
In short, I missed him. Twice (read the full story of that hunt and my thoughts in the days following). And with that debacle, my 2013 hunt for Glenn came to a close.
As 2014 arrived, both Jawbreaker and Glenn were still on my mind, and unbelievably they both appeared back on camera. The stoke meter was high.
Once the season began though, Glenn disappeared and my attention turned to the homebody – Jawbreaker. Fast forward a month and a half later and I’d gotten a shot at Jawbreaker but failed to recover him, and then a few weeks later got a killing shot on another nice 10 pointer. At this point, mid November, Glenn reappeared on our cameras and began making regular visits again through late November and December.
In fact during the December gun season, Josh watched him several hundred yards away feeding with a doe. And then just under a month later, on New Years Day, I watched him chase a doe in the distance as well. Given the fact that he’d made it this far, I had high hopes that he’d make it through the remaining days of the season and would be back for 2015. And if he did, there was no doubt about it, he’d be “The One.”
As summer 2015 arrived I anxiously awaited our first trail camera pull, praying that Glenn would be back for year #3, and as luck would have it, he did. Unfortunately, we captured just a handful of photos of him in July and then he disappeared again. Still, going into the season, I had high hopes that he’d return to the property during the rut as he had the past year.
In September and most of October he remained absent and so I stayed off the farm as well. Between trailcam photos and poor weather during my available dates for travel, it seemed that the time to strike hadn’t arrived, so I didn’t hunt the farm from October 4th until November 7th.
And so that brings us to last week.
When I arrived to our property last Saturday, after a tough week in Iowa, I pulled trail camera cards and got the news I’d been hoping for. Glenn was back. And with a vengeance. In fact he’d shown up 8 times on camera in a 7 day period, including several times during daylight or right on the edge of it. I knew it was now time to make my move on Glenn and over the next 3.5 days, I did my best to do just that. Unfortunately things didn’t go well and I hardly saw any deer at all, let alone Glenn.
The Final Hunt
That is, until November 10th.
But first, I do have a bit of bad news. At least it’s bad news if you’re interested in how the final hunt went. And I say that because I’m actually not going to tell you how that hunt went! Jerk move, I know. I’m sorry!
Instead I’m going to ask you to practice a little patience and wait until this week’s episode of The Wired To Hunt Podcast, on which I’ll be sharing the full story of this hunt, what I believe led to this success, what I learned, and more details about the two years beforehand that led up to this point.
But, what I can say, and you obviously already know this, is that I killed Glenn! Unbelievably, things came together on November 10th and I was blessed with an opportunity to harvest this incredible buck. A deer I’d had three years of history with. A deer I’d missed two years earlier. A deer I’d watch grow from a gangly three year old to a fully mature stud. The single buck I was most hoping to kill and somehow I had managed to do it.
I was shocked. And to be honest, I still am.
But I’m also thankful. Very, very thankful.
To have had the chance to see this deer, watch him over the years, learn from him, hunt him and then actually kill him? Unbelievable is the only way I can describe it.
It never ceases to amaze me how each and every hunting season can somehow profoundly impact me in new and unexpected ways. There are always sky-high hopes, followed by gut-wrenching defeats, and then occasionally spirit-raising successes. But in-between, there’s something unique.
A lesson learned. A gut-feeling confirmed. A challenge overcome. A prayer answered. A test passed. Whatever it might be, after each new hunting season, I come out the other side a different person.
Humbled. Blessed. Appreciative. And for that, and for Glenn, I am thankful.
Be sure to tune in this week to The Wired To Hunt Podcast for the full story, and look for the video of this three year story to come later this week as well!