Playing good luck charm for little brother

I apparently have become my younger brother’s good luck charm when it comes to archery hunting.

Growing up, Ty always had great luck shooting a buck in bow season. In fact, I believe he shot an antlered whitetail the first five years he hunted.

That was a very impressive streak back in the time before the days of crossbows and when you only got one tag to use on either gender. Most teenagers, like I did twice, would have used their tag on a doe early on in their hunting careers.

He turned into an all-state soccer player and earned a Division I wrestling scholarship. During those high school and college years, his opportunities to hunt obviously disappeared.

After graduating from college he took a teaching job in Virginia and has coached that school’s wrestling program.

Each of the five years since he started coaching, he cashed in a few vacation days and hunted during the first week of November since his wrestling practices always start the second Monday of the month. Three of those years I have hunted next to him and each of those times he has bagged a buck.

The first time it happened, Ty and I sat on the side of the mountain knowing the deer would come out one of the benches we had covered. He sat near the top, while I dropped down about 75 yards.

We both heard the deer coming on the crunchy afternoon and knew one of us was going to likely get a shot if there was indeed a buck in the group. Eventually they made their way past Ty and he made a good shot.

The next two years his luck seemed to be of the bad variety as he missed rather easy shots. I do give him credit for sticking a nice tree only a few feet in front of his ladder on one of the occasions.

Last year I once again ventured onto the mountain with him on the first morning of his vacation. I had seen a buck in that area the previous few mornings. Once again, I sat below his location in order to cut off two different paths that buck had been using.

The nice seven-pointer appeared to my right and started to calmly walk up the mountain. I never moved my bow, and instead watched it work toward my brother. Once the deer disappeared behind some hemlocks I waited to hear him shoot. A minute later I indeed did hear Ty launch an arrow from his new Martin bow. I also heard the buck fall behind me.

Saturday night the Knepp brothers were once again out chasing bucks in Mifflin County. He sat in a stand where I had seen a buck two days earlier and I positioned myself to the east.

It was prime time when I once again heard a shot. Soon I felt my phone vibrate and read a text that simply said “Hit one.” Half an hour later I was over helping him find his arrow and start to trail the buck.

We texted our friend who was in the area to come help after finding less than desirable signs of blood from the recovered arrow. As Ty stayed on the last found spot, Kyle and I went to work trying to following the trail.

It was hard going, as many times only a speck would appear every 10 feet or so. Sometimes only turned up dirt gave an indication which way the fleeing deer had gone. After 300 yards of a slow and meticulous trail job, it appeared our hard work had paid off.

The trail got better as the deer made a turn and went straight down the mountain. Five more minutes of trailing and I found the buck in some laurel, much to the relief of my brother.

Ty was sitting next to me a few years ago when I shot my personal best buck with a bow. Yet, I consider myself to be his good luck charm and not the other way around. Now that has some free time at the cabin this week since his tag is filled, maybe I should make him sit next to me and see if the brotherly luck can go my way.

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