The Team Hunt of a Lifetime
by Dustin Newer
After bow hunting the previous two seasons without loosing an arrow at my intended quarry, I was looking forward to the 2007 season with great anticipation. This year I would be able to hunt with my father thanks to a recent job change and relocation.
We began the year with an opening weekend hunt at Canton WMA. We had scouted a couple of areas earlier in the year and had high hopes of wide antlers and filled deer tags on the drive up. Unfortunately, the combination of extreme heat and blood thirsty mosquitoes kept the deer movement down to a minimum and soon the thought of a cold beverage and air conditioning replaced any hopes of putting back strap in the freezer.
While looking for a place closer to home and work, and remaining in the public hunting theme, a co-worker turned us onto the Black Kettle National Grasslands Area. Black Kettle lands are spread out over Western Oklahoma in small to large areas and offer a variety of hunting environments. After doing some research on the Wildlife Department Digital Atlas we were ready to scout and hang stands.
Upon arriving at the area the first thing we noticed was the amount of deer sign, it was literally everywhere. The deer were using the unit as a bedding area and feeding on the alfalfa fields to the south. Dad and I had located a likely travel route showing several intersecting trails and hung my stand. We placed Dad’s stand about 300 yards northwest at the edge of the bedding area.
That following Saturday, we got on stand well before daylight and waited anxiously for shooting light. As the sun rose we were greeted with sounds of turkeys flying off of the roost to the wheat fields to the east. The first sounds of movement in front of my stand turned out to be a large old porcupine crawling up a dead stump and shortly thereafter the deer began to move.
A small six pointer came in from behind my stand to the left and it looked like a shot was inevitable. As his head went behind a tree I slowly stood up and got into position. The small buck finally stopped quartering away at about 18 yards giving me a perfect shot opportunity. I tried to remember everything I am supposed to do at the moment of the shot but to be honest I don’t even remember drawing my bow, as I watched my shaft’s feathers brush across the bucks back before he bolted off into the foliage thee words came to mind "PICK A SPOT." What a thrill! I had several other does come through that day but as you all know, just because they are in range doesn’t mean you get a shot. All in total, I saw 9 deer, 1 of which was a buck and had 3 deer within 20 yards.
Needless to say I could hardly sleep that night in anticipation of what the next day’s hunt would bring. Once again we were on stand well before daylight but the deer never showed. About 9:30 I head movement underneath my stand, I looked down expecting to see dad, but to my surprise, it was two does slowly slipping down the trail. The lead doe stopped directly underneath my stand and began looking back over her shoulder. The only shot she offered was straight down through her shoulder blade so I waited. With her attention clearly focuses on her back trail I was able to stand up unnoticed. After what seemed like an hour but must have been a few seconds, she began to move. She took about 5 steps and started to trot off. All I could do was grab my grunt call and try to stop her. She stopped about 20 yards away perfectly broadside behind two small trees. All I could see was her hind end when I noticed a small open circle about the size of a softball through the leaves that framed her vitals perfectly. “PICK A SPOT”, I repeated to myself as I extended my bow arm and my fingers tightened on the string. I watched my red feathers center punch the opening, heard the arrow hit, and seen the deer buck before she bolted. Then I heard a voice below me, “did you get her?” It was dad.
He had watched the does bed down about 60 yards below him not long after daylight. After not seeing any deer he decided to put a stalk on the bedded does. As he approached, the deer rose and he slowly pushed them toward my stand. Dad was only 30 yards away watching me as I harvested my first ever deer with a bow. I calmed down enough to swap harnesses and climb out of the stand Dad was standing at the arrow, buried in the ground covered in bright pink blood. I was anxious to begin the blood trail when I heard him say, “Here she is, right here”.
It is still hard for me to believe that after 2 years of hunting, and 3 years of shooting the recurve bow, the moment had finally happened. I had harvested my first deer with a bow. A beautiful doe that will remain at the top of my personal record book for a long time to come.
Richard Berry 1959-2010
Rick received the BCO's Herb Hale award in 2005 for his outstanding work with the BCO newsletter and his lifelong love of archery.
Richard "Rick" Berry
Rick was born in Oklahoma City on January 2, 1959 to Jim & Dolores Berry, and the angels led him home on Friday, January 8, 2010. Rick was a fighter from the start - requiring multiple surgeries on his hands from the time he was 1 year old until he was 18.
Rick graduated from Northeast High School in Oklahoma City in 1977 and attended OSU-OKC. On June 30, 1979, Rick was joined in marriage to Cheryl Cheri) Stack. Their love was deep, everlasting, and on example of true commitment. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year. In 1983 they were blessed with their son, Christopher, and again in 1988 with their daughter, Ricque. Rick's joy was his grandson, Jaxon, who was born in March 2009. They were "Papaw" and his "Tater," and they loved each other very much.
Rick was blessed with many artistic abilities - photography, drawing, etc... He was a very skilled archer - winning tournament after tournament. He directed the Oklahoma City Gun Club Archery Division for many years. Rick loved the outdoors, and was looking forward to a day when he could be strong enough to go back out hunting. Rick was known for his passion and knowledge of trucks and fast cars...he especially loved the old Bronco's that he owned over the years.
Rick worked with his grandparents at their produce company, before going to work for many years at Oak Tree in Edmond. The kids at Oak Tree called Rick "sucker man," because they knew when they saw him, he would have suckers ready to hand out. When Rick became ill in 1999,he was the Director of Security for Gaillardia Country Club and residential community.
Rick is preceded in death by his grandparents: Pearl and Joe Berry, and Austin and Jean Tinder; and his in-laws, Gene and Jackie Stack. He is survived by his wife, Cheri; son, Christopher; daughter, Ricque; grandson, Jaxon; parents, Jim and Dolores Berry; brother, Mike Berry and family; and brother, Ken Berry and family; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, & friends. Although Rick's illness that began over ten years ago was sudden, severe, and life changing - his faith and will were nothing short of miraculous. Rick was a witness of God's healing and answered prayers. The memories we share of Rick are examples of how much a loving heart, a warm spirit and a compassionate personality can overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. Rick was our hero, and we will never forget how he lived his life. He was a blessing and a joy to our family, and we thank God for every day we had with him. While we grieve at his loss, we celebrate a life that is now whole,healed and complete. We rejoice that Rick is with God, where he belongs and we will be with him again some day.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7.
Published in The Oklahoman on January 12, 2010