No Better Way to Die

Do you ever think about how you would like to spend your final minutes on Earth?

No Better Way to Die

Photo by Jenna Mahs

This story won’t be like others you read on this website. It’s not about how to shoot more or bigger deer. It’s not about the latest and greatest gear. Instead, it is simply food for thought.

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post made by a friend of a friend that stopped me cold. In these modern times, it seems we’re all connected by our passions, and in my case that means hunting and fishing.

Rather than paraphrase the man’s Facebook post, I’ll simply show it here in its entirety. And then I’ll follow it up with a comment or two. Note: For privacy reasons, I’m choosing not to name names.

I’m deeply sad; my dad passed this morning. He didn't come back from hunting this morn, and my brother and I went looking for him with dreadful hearts. He shot his last buck. In his excitement, it was concluded he started having a heart attack, climbed out of his stand in a haste, made it to the bottom and collapsed next to the ladder.

I’m grateful that he went out as he did. And I'm forever grateful for the incredible gift we had to call him Dad, the incredible selfless legacy he left. The many adventures we got to have with him.

He had a heart attack and five-bypass surgery 22 years ago when he was 48. He was 70 years old and those 22 years were quite a blessing to all who knew him. As my friend said best, he would've sold everything he owned, his house included, if it would make things right if someone held something against him.

He was a Godly man and loved those around him dearly. He will be deeply missed. I was honored to gut his last deer for him with the same knife he used every year since before I can remember.

The photos below accompanied the words above, and they show the father’s downed buck and the knife used by the son to field dress the deer.

Perhaps this story hits so close to home because of the relationship I have with my father. I was introduced to hunting at a young age by Dad, and I cherish every moment we have in the field together. My dad also had open-heart surgery years ago, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to worrying a bit whenever I see caller ID with my mom and dad’s number on my phone. You see, Dad lives in the country and is still very active in the outdoors — cutting wood year-round, gathering sap from maple trees during early spring (700 taps!), and deer hunting in the fall. Dad will turn 82 this December, and he’s still the most passionate deer hunter I’ve ever met (photo below). I can’t begin to guess the number of critters big and small he’s tagged during his 70 years of hunting.

Dad won’t live forever. And neither will I. When I think about, I sure would like to leave this world with a twinkle in the eye and a wide smile as I walk toward a downed whitetail.

The author and his father a few years ago in Wisconsin. The two will deer hunt together again during 2019 and hopefully for several more years as well.
The author and his father a few years ago in Wisconsin. The two will deer hunt together again during 2019 and hopefully for several more years as well.
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