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Hunting Buddies

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  • Hunting Buddies

    I wrote this story for another forum here in Maine but since my buddy loved Alaska just like me and has hunted brown bear there twice I thought I would share it with you. My first trip ever to Alaska was with this buddy on his first brown bear hunt and when I desided to move to Alaska he was the first person I called. Here is the story:

    Being a guide for over twenty years now I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet lots of people from different backgrounds and areas across the country. Some you wish you never met, some become friends and some yet become "hunting buddies."

    A hunting buddy is much more then a friend, you can count on it to always have a great time when they are in you company. You trust them, not only when it comes to the safety that is required when hunting but with your confidence as a true friend. You share things with them you wouldn't share with anyone else. Stories about the wife, problems at work, dark secrets about others, and you know that trust will never be taken for granted or abused.

    I have been fortunate to have a hunting buddy like that. He wasn't always my hunting buddy but he became that over the years. My first encounter with him was in 1993 when he came to my lodge for a bear hunt. He was referred to us from a past guest. Little did I know the friendship that would develop from that first meeting. Over the years he has hunted bear with me about nine or ten times, I have lost count. But after the first bear hunt with me I found his true passion was one that I was just getting started in, waterfowl hunting.

    I had only been hunting ducks about a year or two when we first met. Well, that was the start of something. My new friend would come up and we would share a duck blind together for many years to come. He taught me how to identify ducks not only by sight but by sound as well. He showed me the difference between immature and mature birds and he showed me how to take care of the birds we got. We just hit it off together.

    There are many stories I could share with you about this friend like the time we went to New York state on a duck and goose hunt shortly after Christmas one year. It was the first time I ever went out of state hunting. He took me to a place where the ducks and geese flying over, were literally like swarms of locusts. They were everywhere!!! We were limited out in less then 20 minutes. One goose I shot I had to chase across the mowed frozen corn field, well my new hunting buddy got the laugh of his life as I went tumbling down time and time again trying to catch this goose. Running in heavy pac boots across a frozen field of corn stubble is an art; I am not an artist.

    My favorite story happened a few years back. My buddy has a beautiful drake wood duck mounted under glass at his home in Massachusetts. How he got that duck is the story. We were actually out grouse hunting but we always had our duck guns and steel shot in case the opportunity presented itself. We were driving along the shores of our pond when he shouted stop the truck!!! There are wood ducks out there in the pond!!! We got out and proceeded to stalk up on those ducks feeding in the shallows. As we drew closer my buddy suggested that we spread out a little to better surround them. So I moved over to the right to do just that. What happened next is I found myself in the thickest bunch of bushes you could imagine. I couldn't see the lake, my buddy or the ducks. All of a sudden I hear my buddy say "their getting nervous we better get ready to shoot". "SHOOT WHAT, I can't see a thing!!!" "Get ready and TAKE THEM" I hear. "TAKE WHAT, NO WAIT!!!" Next thing I hear is three bangs from his shotgun. I bust through the brush as the smoke cleared and there was my buddy smiling from ear to ear and a nice woody drake lying out in the pond. "How come you didn't shoot?" he says. Because MY BUDDY stuck me in brush so thick I didn't have a chance. He smiled and said, "I don't know what you are talking about". Yeah, sure. Only a buddy could do that to you and get away with it.

    I had to retrieve the duck so I had my buddy wait where he could keep and eye on the it while I drove back to the lodge to get a motorboat. As I approached the duck I said, "hey how do you like MY wood duck?" "Oh by the way how are you getting back to camp now?" The lodge was a two-mile walk and my buddy just stood on the shore, smiled and shook his head. I had him, but I did go in and pick him up. After all, he is my buddy. As years would go on and I told the story I would naturally embellish it better. I would tell how MY BUDDY pushed me into the bushes, stepped all over me and shot the duck. My buddy would just smile, shake his head and say, " I don't know what you are talking about".

    Last week my buddy was supposed to be up for the first week of birds. We now have an annual thing called the "Top Gun Trophy" (actually a plaque). We compete with two other guys who come up from Mass and NH. The plaque goes to the pair that gets the greatest number of birds, ducks and geese combined in a week. My buddy and I were going for a threepete this year. Sadly the tournament never took place though. My buddy went in for a routine test and developed a bad infection, which went to his heart. He passed away this past Friday.

    The last time I was with my buddy was the end of August when he came up for yet another bear hunt. While here he wanted me to come over to the cabin he was staying in. When I got there he pulled out a JC Higgins 410 shotgun that had been his brothers who had passed away years before. He told me he wanted me to have it. Since the beginning of bird season I have fired the gun eight times and taken eight birds. If he was here today I would have told him I know why you gave me the gun, you can't hit the broad side of a barn with it. Then I would have smiled and told him the truth. That was the relationship we had

    We were hunting buddies.
    Attached Files
    If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.

  • #2


    • #3

      I had a friend like that also. Fortunatly he did not die but like many in Alaska he had to move to take care of his aging parants. Truly stinks as we have done all hunting and fishing together for many years. 5 am and twenty below and he was ready to go sit on a bucket all day. Never late always dependable, the same way i am. We truly were best of friends and spent many valuable times in the wilderness. Now who knows maybe some day another person with the same drive and dependebility will come by. Never know. Viktor


      • #4

        A great story of true friendship!!! I'm sorry for your loss!! HH


        • #5
          i have a hunting partner just like that and would not give it up for anything. i too am sorry to hear that. but im glad you have a relationship like that with another. vance
          NRA life Member JVJ


          • #6
            Great story.

            Thanks for taking the time to share it, Maineguide. Your memories of friendship will sustain you.

            Proud to be an American!


            • #7

              Sorry to hear about your loss. I am kind of in the same boat as chef victor, I have lost best friends and hunting partners due to them leaving Alaska. Have been doing alot of solo hunting ever since. Its hard to find the right person, thats always on the same page you are and reliable in all situations. Not to mention and equal drive to yours, thats the hardest.You got to cherish those partners. You push them , they push you and good times are always had.Thats the toughest element of hunting by yourself, sometimes you just need a little pick me up,maybe a little razzing and joke or two here and there.I have found many times though that with the wrong hunting partner you are sometimes better off by yourself. I enjoyed your post. Once again, sorry to hear about your bud.


              • #8
                By the way you talked about your buddy I can say , He had a great life
                And I think you have too. Sorry for your loss and thanks for a great story. I have a few buddys I think off like that.Some I would say I have taught more then I have learned from but that would be a lie.
                Shoot to kill, kill to eat!



                • #9

                  The bond that is shared by hunters, is one of the strongest I know of.
                  Warm recollection.
                  Marc Theiler


                  • #10
                    Buddies are priceless

                    Spending time outdoors doing the things I love with the people closest to me make up for all the **** I put up with in everyday life. I wouldn't trade one good hunting buddy for anything. The time we spend together are priceless, as is your story. Thanks for sharing. I just remebered I need to call a "buddy".



                    • #11
                      Thank you

                      I appreciate everyone's sentiments. I have lost many close family members over the years but this is one of the toughest I have ever had to face. I drove 9 hours to pay my last respects to my hunting buddy. Three of his pallbearers were family, the other three were myself and two other hunting buddies. We sent him off with his favorite hunting hat and a duck decoy.
                      Do not pass up an opportunity to spend with your hunting buddies whether it be a family member or friend because you never know when it will be the last.

                      Thanks again,
                      If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.


                      • #12
                        Mike, There is little I can say that hasn't already been said. A true hunting buddy is a rare person and you truly had one. You will never find his like again. I can count the people I'll go hunting with, especially a week long caribou, bear or moose hunt, on one hand and I do not wish to lose any of them. By far my best hunting buddy is my brother.
                        I was stationed way up north in Maine for awhile. We got more snow there then we do in Anchorage. I enjoyed my stay there.


                        • #13
                          Warm thread

                          What a warm thread, it's a good feeling to hear other hunters be so open with their expressions on their hunting partners. There's no doubt my foundest memories are of hunting with my father and close friends. We are all very priviledged to still be able to do so.
                          Marc Theiler


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