John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 5, 2009

Big buck contest left out important category: best story

The big buck contest that this newspaper jointly sponsors with Batesville Pawn Shop is long since over. Prizes have been awarded, bragging rights secured.

But we left out an important category: Best Deer Story. The teller of the best deer story should get a prize as big as the hunter who bagged the biggest buck.

My favorite from last year involves two young hunters who duped a third. I know the identity of only one of the three, but I’m not revealing his name. Yet. Not before the statute of aggravation has run out.

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The hunter whose identity I know is also known to be a frugal man, not one to spend frivolously. Yet he and his buddy went online and purchased for $110 the “shed” of a very large whitetail buck.

A shed, of course, is the set of antlers discarded annually by the buck after the mating season. Large shed equals large buck, big bragging rights, etc. And for $110, it must have been a very large shed.

When the shed arrived, they placed it very strategically in an area of woods near the hunting stand of their friend, the third man.

Oh yes, and before they planted that shed in the woods, they made a photo of themselves holding the shed.

And grinning.

They planted that shed long enough before hunting season to be sure that their friend would spot the antlers during his scouting trips.

Then they waited. And they waited.

All through the first season, their friend hunted. He never mentioned finding an extraordinarily large shed.

“But we knew he was hunting hard,” said the co-conspirator.

I heard this story near the end of the last season. The bigger my ears grew as he told about the caper, the less forthcoming with details became the co-conspirator.

Sometime after the last season was over, the victim was going receive an envelope by mail, the co-conspirator said, grinning. Inside he was going to find a photo of his two buddies, holding the shed. And grinning, of course.

“Best $55 I ever spent,” said my frugal friend.