What trophy was this……. An essay by William Marshall

I was clearing out the garage a while back, I was moving again. Seems to be my entire life every few years, that’s a whole different story. I have these three milk crates that were full of deer antlers. I was trying to find a way to pack them. As many of us do when we are going through old boxes, I began to look at and remember the deer and the moments. They are actually a dried up blood, cut out of an animal skull with a Sawzall. Chunks of flesh dangling in places. Many of the sets still have the blood on the antlers. It always seemed like some of the blood got on the antlers from your hands or somehow as you dragged it out.

As I looked at each, I remember some crisp dark morning or some late sunset happy hour watching a bush seemingly turn into a deer at the end of the field, just to have it slip away before you realize it was an illusion to begin with. I was probably talking with my dad over walkie talkies. At one point, we had the latest headphones and radios with whisper settings. We climbed trees, erected tents, hung big ladders and platforms on trees. We planned deer ambush zones and voraciously planned our attempts to draw them in with sweet smells of sexy ladies and great food.

I also remember the excitement when you heard the dogs strike up over on the other hillside. They bark so loud it seems like they are mad at the deer. You hear their full voice. You think that, at any moment, that big buck is going to come running right at you. You hold a shotgun excitedly in anticipation. The trophy is near.

My wonderful wife Jennifer was excited to explore this new concept. Her adrenaline was sky high as a deer almost ran over her as she flailed this new gun object around wildly and tried to figure out how to take it off of safe, shoulder it properly, aim it anywhere near the deer and shoot it. All the while she was screaming at me that there was a deer. Of course, I was standing right next to her dodging her barrel. She never got a shot off that time, if I remember. Some of the trophy’s in the box were hers. One time, she and I got Twins in the same season. Two bucks, identical 8 point racks but they were mirrors of each other. For the record, she has killed the biggest deer, both points and body size. Hands down she turned into a sniper.

I remember the deer that I shot with my AR. He was a small 6 point. A doe came running from behind me and jumped a fence that was to my left. There he was running right after her. Looking for love. He didn’t stand much of a chance I don’t guess. I had 30 chances at him if I wanted, 6.8 SPC Spikes Tactical. Seems weird to even think that, but that is what I was thinking. As I was bearing down on him, he stopped in his track when he saw me move my barrel to aim and looked right at me. He went down with one shot. I told my dad about it on the radio, walkie talkie headphone style.

The deer in these crates were the other deer. They were trophys but not wall hangers. Both Jennifer and I had our biggest deer mounted. In their full glory, chilling out on our walls. As I continued to look through the box, I got a little sad though. There were some of the trophies that I couldn’t remember. Was that my deer? Or was it Jennifer’s? What is that one? I don’t remember a 5 point?

There is a little spike that my middle daughter and I encountered. It almost looks like devil horns. It was a pretty little spike that came running by. Long story short, I wasn’t there when she shot, I was trying to cut off the dogs, but he came running by and she shot him three times and he fell down and then tried to limp away. As I was running back, full sprint to my daughter shooting guns in the woods. I ask her if he was dead. She yells, “he is limping less Dad.” I arrive out breath, she asks what she should do. He was just sitting there, yards away, looking at us like, dude, you shot me, and shot me, and shot me…..

Robyn asked what she should do, told her to shoot it again, aim for the head, she did. Boom, she kinda hit it. She just kinda pulled the shot, afraid of the recoil maybe, maybe she really didn’t want to assassinate this little animal? He was still grinning at us. Her gun was empty. For some crazy reason she reached for and I gave my 110 lbs 5’2” 18 year old daughter my shotgun shooting 3 ½ magnums. She killed the deer when she pulled the trigger. I ended up catching her and the gun as the recoil sent her flying. I’m kinda sad for that deer. I remember his eyes.

There is a picture of the 5 point. I remember now, I shot it at V field early one morning. And there are the proud trophy hunters with Robyn’s little spike. She gave him a nickname but I don’t remember. Lucifer maybe?

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