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Pain can't keep deer hunters out of woods

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This is the first year I can remember we have not had one or more members of our deer hunting party incapacitated in some manner.

We have had people hunt with a broken leg, and one with recent knee surgery. In a case like that, we either prop them up against a tree or put out a lawn chair for them. When we drive deer to them, they can shoot and do not even have to field dress their own deer.

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We have hunted with one of our party recovering from heart surgery. We did not make him drag out his own deer. One year, one of us had a pinched nerve in his back, to the point he could not walk. We had to drive the wounded individual to his blocking point and point him in the right direction. The pain was so bad he could not even turn around. We never let little things like broken bones or extreme pain, stop us from a good hunt.

Not all of these injuries were mine. I have suffered a few misfortunes, such as driving my truck into the pond one year, and rolling it into a ditch another. Our group has been fortunate in that we have never had an injury that required hospitalization long enough to miss the next day of hunting.

I was beginning to wonder if our luck had run out Saturday morning. We were preparing for the first drive of the season. It was icy and very slippery bright and early (around 10 a.m.) when we decided the weather was not going to turn balmy and warm. I went to start the Gator while Doran got in the back of his truck to unload the four-wheeler. I thought I heard something over the sound of the engine and turned to see Doran flat on his back on the ground. I thought it rather peculiar to be resting on the ground this early in the day, especially with the freezing rain pouring down. I went over and asked him what he was doing.

"Don't tell me you missed it," he exclaimed. I did not have a clue what he was talking about, so I told him I must have missed "it."

"I did a perfect back flip off the tailgate of the truck. It was close to a perfect 10, but I just missed sticking the landing," he explained. That would be why he was laying flat on his back on the frozen ground with freezing rain pelting him in the face.

I have learned not to ask questions when information is not freely offered. If Doran wants to do back flips off the back of his truck in an ice storm, it is not my place to judge his motives.

Several years ago, I saw him take off at a dead run, over hills and through creeks for over a half of a mile. I thought I was going to have to shoot him, just a little, like in one leg, to prevent his having a heart attack. Come to find out, he was hot on the trail of a big buck, which he actually got. If I had winged him, it would at least have slowed his hunt dramatically, if not spoiled it altogether. If he wants to do back flips, who am I to judge another mans sanity?

As Doran lay on the ground, I asked him if he would like to try his back flip again to work on his landing. He did not think so. He was not sure he could stand up. As he was unloading the four-wheeler, it started sliding off the truck. To avoid being crushed by the falling machine, he attempted to jump free. The poor take-off on the slippery truck bed is apparently what affected his landing. He had to block rather than drive the first couple of hunts but by Sunday, he was as good as new.

When it comes to deer hunting, a person has to brush off a little pain, for the sake of the sport.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.

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