08 November 2010

Frank's First Mule Deer Buck

For some of us, it comes at the age of twelve. The culmination of years of practice with a rifle, tagging along with parents or grandparents, savoring a deer steak at the table, and imagining the role of hunter. For others, it comes much later.

Frank Ackerman is well past seventy years of age. A career with Bell Labs already behind him, he turned his energies to the college classroom. My school is blessed to have someone with his experience and energy--a professor who works tirelessly to improve his software engineering classes and to work with students on the Programming Competition Team.

Frank took up hunting last year. Friends and regular readers of this blog might remember the story of the three white-tailed deer does he shot in about five minutes last year. He is serious about hunting, and his regular practice with a .22 rifle shows in his marksmanship. Before season this year, he shot two-inch groups at 100 and 200 yards with my little .257 Roberts, using shooting sticks and not a solid rest. This is as well or better than I can shoot it! His regular practice also showed with the heart-shot he made on this mule deer buck (his first) at well over 100 yards:

Now, this is no great prize for those who measure the value of a deer by the size of its antlers. But such a person errs in mistaking quantity for quality. So what makes this little buck so special? Well, lots of things: hiking into the dark hills and watching the landscape unfold beneath a rising sun; looking out on that landscape to see several dozen deer, including a big 4 X 4 buck; passing up a chance at that big (stinky, rutty) buck for a clean shot at a forkhorn; hauling said forkhorn a half-mile or more back to the nearest road; and enjoying every morsel of the excellent steaks and other cuts.

Oh yes, and the most important criterion of all: it's Frank's first mule deer buck.

So here's to the mule deer, the rugged hills where they roam, the sagebrush they eat, and those who hunt them.


Judy said...

I love that last shot, of the moon over the hills! You take some great scenery shots, and congratulations to Frank, on his first mule deer!

Janie said...

Congrats to Frank on his hunting success. That mule deer looks high quality to me!