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Old 08-05-2022, 08:30 PM   #1
Djhester
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Default A Story of Brothers, Hunting, and the Blood Trail

I posted this story on my personal blog yesterday with better formatting and photos with captions. I thought some on here may appreciate the sentiment as well (even if not formatted as clean). I posted a video last year that I hope to redo and shorten soon. As I have reread and edited this, it reminds me of the "Parting Shot" stories in dad's old hunting magazines I used to read on the porcelain throne.
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A simple photo shouldn’t do this to me. Every time this picture has popped up on my screen, my heart is stirred with emotions. Those emotions cut a wide swath from deep gratitude to some sense of loss. It’s hard to convey how deep and important this accidental photo is to me on paper, but I want to take a chance in the following paragraphs.

The Accidental Photo
On the surface, it’s just not a great photo. Two guys walking in a non-descript landscape. The “photographer” cut off the top of both guys heads. You can’t even see one face. It wasn’t staged or planned in any way. In fact, the “photographer” was a motion sensor in a trail camera posted near a corn feeder. The value isn’t found in the composition of the image.

The value is found in the relationship of those two men and the moment of time accidentally captured by the motion sensor. It is a chance photo of two men who have walked varied paths in life but have chosen to walk together more frequently in recent years. The picture is a snapshot of a larger story. It’s a story of two hunters, two brother, two friends.

The nearest man is me. I’m the one facing away from the camera. The other guy is my “little brother” Robert (or Bobby as I’ve always known him). We grew up together in a blue collar family. Dad taught us to work hard with our hands. He also instilled in us a love for the outdoors. We both grew up around guns and fishing poles. We hunted squirrels, rabbits, dove, quail, and deer with dad and grandad. We learned to run trotlines in the summer and fish for white bass in the spring. We camped in the mountains of Colorado and on the banks of the Colorado river in Texas. We love the outdoors.

Careers and Family
As many do, we drifted apart as we married, began our careers, and raised our children. He became a fantastic police officer and I followed God’s call to the pastorate. He had two boys and I had 4 girls. Our oldest kept us busy with a lot of hospitalizations and surgeries much of her life until she passed away just short of the age of 15. His boys kept him busy in sports playing baseball and football for many of those same years. My family spent what vacation time we had camping as we traveled during the summers. He hunted every fall with dad and a few other friends and travelled with his boys for baseball.

We never completely lost touch. We managed a few vacations together camping in Florida. Our families travelled together on a special trip to NY and DC for Katie over Christmas break the year before she died. I joined him on some exciting “ride-alongs” in his patrol car early in his career. He was able to visit me in May for a few quail hunts. He was there for us the night Katie died. Our girls had travelled to Austin with our mom. He packed them up and drove them to May, TX to be with us late that night.

Mid-Life Changes
As we grew older and our kids began to move off, life began to take a dramatic turn as it does for many. In 2012, one of our older brothers Rodney died unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack. Three years later our dad passed away the week after Mother’s Day. It was that Fall that we began to spend more time together.

He had joined a deer lease a couple hours from my house along with our other older brother Rick. He invited me to join him as a guest. We worked together filling corn feeders a few times. We spent hours in the deer blind talking about our life, health, and our families. He taught me more than I thought I could learn about aging deer. The next couple years, I joined him every chance I could when he was working on the lease. I was also able to hunt as a guest with him a couple times each year harvesting does and hogs for meat.

Really Reconnecting
In 2018, I was able to officially join the lease as a member. We no longer would be sitting in the same blind during our hunts, but I’d have a lot more freedom to work with him as a partner on the lease. He continued to teach me all he could squeeze in my brain about hunting white-tailed deer and feral hogs. I soaked up all I could. He loaned me a bow and taught me to bow hunt. The first weekend on the lease that year he helped me with my first kill on my first hunt just a couple weeks after I had my appendix removed!

In my second season on the ranch, I decided I’d try to take my trophy deer with my new archery skills. One incredible chilly October morning, I harvested a wide 10 while he was in another blind harvesting the ranch record! To be honest, I’m not sure the excitement of that day will ever be surpassed.



We’ve spent hours on the ranch building and repairing blinds and filling and repairing feeders. Time is never wasted while sweating in the summer sun or sitting around the campfire. His boys and two of my daughters have joined us. I know I can depend on him and I hope he knows he can depend on me.

The Spring of 2020 we spent a few days rebuilding two bow blinds and adding a blind where we had not been able to successfully bow hunt. The third blind is the location of the above photo. I remember working for hours building the blind after we discussed and calculated the location. We moved the feeder so that we could set the blind in a clump of mesquites the correct distance away. It was just the two of us on the lease that weekend and one of those times we worked hard, got a lot done, and enjoyed the company.

"Bump" My Big Buck
Early that Fall of 2020, I watched a great buck in velvet that we nicknamed “Bump.” He had a cool rack with really long tines. He had a distinct “bump” between his right G2 and G3.

We determined that he was too young to harvest and needed another year. He made it through the season, and the next summer, to show back up even bigger in 2021.

My first deer hunt in October of 2021, I watched Bump from this blind for over an hour. I was determined to not shoot on my first hunt, so I spent the time photographing the deer. Though he was spectacular, it was very early in the season. I wanted the opportunity to sleep on it, pray about it, and make sure he was the buck I wanted to harvest this season. The “bump” had grown several inches. He had developed some unique character from apparent damage to his antlers during their growth period.



The next day, I made the decision to hunt him, hoping he would return to that blind. He did. I made a great shot and he went down in sight. “Bump” is a “buck of a lifetime” for me. (He grossed 153 5/8")

I was elated and immediately called my brother. I told him we wouldn’t need the dogs to track this one, but I’d need his help getting it back to camp. I sat in the blind until I heard his old Nissan ranch truck coming up the dirt road. It seemed like a long wait but the timestamps on the camera tell the story. I shot at 5:42pm and my brother arrived at 6:04. I greeted him at his truck, and we began to walk to the deer. Though I knew where the deer was, out of habit, we looked ahead for the bloody arrow and searched the ground for the blood trail.

Walking the blood trail
That’s where this picture was snapped. As we began to walk the trial of blood, we passed in front of the game camera. In the photo, I’m excitedly explaining the hunt, and he is smiling as he soaks it in. In the photo, we are in step together, enjoying the moment.

Yep. Every time I see this photo, I get emotional. At 55 and 53 years of age, the Lord had brought our paths closer together. We are not always in “lock step,” but we enjoy a great relationship that is rooted in our own blood relationship. However, it doesn’t escape me that it is in the harvesting of God’s bountiful gifts that we find ourselves walking other blood trails together.

The shared blood of family often binds people together, but there is so much more to life. Years ago, we both put our trust in the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. I was called to preach about that blood. He was led to serve his community willing to shed his own (and sometimes did) as an officer. It is said that there is life in the blood. I believe he saved several lives. I hope my declaration of God’s Word has saved many lives as well. Certainly, the blood of Christ gives us hope of eternal life. We hold to this truth as we look forward to seeing Rodney, mom, and dad again.

As we followed the trail of blood left from this hunt, I see a picture of two brothers who are becoming even better friends as they follow the blood.
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Old 08-05-2022, 08:56 PM   #2
J&M Hamilton10
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Enjoyed this. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 08-05-2022, 08:58 PM   #3
MadHatter
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Nice deer, and one of the better writeups I've read on here.
Good to see ya'll connecting again.
I miss my brother every day, and wish I could write a story like that.
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:06 PM   #4
txhunt7
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the relationship you have with your brother is invaluable. Congratulation for finding peace with the simple things
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:07 PM   #5
BOBSTER
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Great story, also, thanks for posting this.
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:21 PM   #6
Bone Thug
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Well done all around. I really enjoyed the read.

Great bucks…Big congrats to you and your brother on the bow kills.
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:22 PM   #7
Jcjohnson
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Great read!
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Old 08-05-2022, 09:41 PM   #8
100%TtId
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Thanks for sharing. That's an inspiring story and testimony.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:01 PM   #9
GarGuy
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Well done. Very well done
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:20 PM   #10
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Great write up
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:04 AM   #11
Djhester
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Thanks for the kind words. I was a little nervous posting such a heart felt post on hear. :-). Most of my previous posts have been videos of arrows drawing blood.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:23 AM   #12
N.DaWoods
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Great post.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:04 AM   #13
bowhuntercoach
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Great write up. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:29 AM   #14
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Fantastic deer. But the write up reminded me of what I am really hunting.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:43 AM   #15
IowaHunter
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What a great story demonstrating the chapters of life. A super write-up.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:36 AM   #16
Fajkus7
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Great write up and deer. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a place to hunt with just my brother and my dad. We could go somewhere to shoot bigger deer, but it wouldn’t be the same experience as just the 3 of us getting to hang out and have fun.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:44 AM   #17
TheHammer
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Awesome story. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:35 AM   #18
rolylane6
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I'm in tears brother! Well done. Well done.

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Old 08-06-2022, 08:48 AM   #19
kurt68
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Very nice write up. Thanks for posting.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:24 AM   #20
AntlerCollector
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Greatness. Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:30 AM   #21
huntingarcher
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Great write up,I really enjoyed it and so very well done!

I am blessed to hunt with my dad and brother the first week of bow season every year.It's kinda a tradition now.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:26 AM   #22
manwitaplan
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Great write up. Has your brother read this? From the picture to the end of story the image changed of what I was really looking at. Thank you for sharing.


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Old 08-06-2022, 12:07 PM   #23
Djhester
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manwitaplan View Post
Great write up. Has your brother read this? From the picture to the end of story the image changed of what I was really looking at. Thank you for sharing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks for the comment. I sent it to him a couple days ago before I put it on here.
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:13 PM   #24
SmTx
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I'm glad I revisited this post on my computer to read it all. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:17 PM   #25
bowmansdad
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Great story and fine looking deer! God and family is where it’s at!
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:37 PM   #26
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Really enjoyed that, thanks for taking the time to share. And great bucks too.
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:55 PM   #27
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Great write up. Congrats on the hunt and getting to hunt with your brother and sharing memories together. I’ve been on that tank dam before. Still have a good friend hunting that ranch. Wishing y’all great success this year and looking forward to another great write up.
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:56 PM   #28
Texas452
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Me and my youngest brother had the same thing happen once, we were talking about our hunts that morning and the game camera got us.
It was a very nice picture that got lost over time
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:18 PM   #29
IvoryRoot
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This is awesome!!
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Old 08-06-2022, 03:46 PM   #30
EasttexSam
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Thanks and may God Bless you and your family with many more memorable moments.
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