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National Forest Hunting Trip by Josh Rather

 All week we were getting ready for a hunting trip that we take to the National Forest in Bedford VA. every year.  I invited my friend J to come up and hunt with me.  He had never been hunting in the mountains before.  This trip would be my eighth year hunting in the mountains and I have made memories there that I will never forget.  Little did I know that this trip would be one of my favorites?

My dad left on a Sunday to go up and get the camp set up and hunt the whole week, but J and I wouldn’t be able to come up till the end of the week and we would just hunt all day Saturday.  I had been talking to my dad while he was up there and he told me he had passed up two small six pointers.  He told me he saw them every day in the same spot about 300 yards down the dirt road he had set camp on.  I told my friend J and we were both excited this was his first time hunting in the mountains and I had never taken a buck in the National Forest like my dad or sister.  We stayed in touch with my dad to see if he was still seeing them, he said “yes” we couldn’t wait; we both might get a chance to take a nice buck.

The end of the week finally came; we were planning on leaving Friday afternoon as soon as my sister got out school.  Thursday night I stayed up packing my truck with mine and Taylors hunting gear.  The next morning I met J and loaded his stuff and went to one of my college classes.  As soon as I got out I went and picked my sister up from school and we rushed home to wait for J.  When he pulled up we were all ready in the truck ready to go, he jumped in and I took off.  We got to the end of my road and my sister asked J if he had is National Forest permit to hunt and it donned on me I never got mine. So we rushed over to Wal Mart and it didn’t take five minutes to get my permit and some other supplies and finally hit the road with our sights set on the trip ahead of us.

We didn’t have any problems finding our way to the Peaks of Otter which is in the National Forest and leads to the Blue Ridge Park Way where we had to find a dirt road to get to camp.  As we followed my dad’s directions to the dirt road he set camp on we saw deer standing in the road.  Most were does but as I drove a little ways up the road my sister acted like she saw Bullwinkle standing in the field and we looked it was a little 6 pointer eating. She said “well it looked bigger when we were moving” we laughed and hurried to find the road because it was already dark and dad was wondering where we were.  We finally found the dirt road and followed it till we saw the camper and a little fire.

We pulled in to camp and blew the horn, dad came out laughing and we got out and took our stuff in side.  We sat outside talking and laughing around the camp fire.  I got up to show dad something and as we walked to my truck we saw a doe watching us. She was about 35 yards from us and had bedded down.  We watched her till she got up and walked off. We thought cool if a deer was that close to us then we might have some luck that morning.  We went to bed hoping that in the morning we would get something.  We woke up early that morning and got ready.

J and I drove down the dirt road to where my dad had been seeing those two bucks. I dropped J off and he went up the mountain and I parked my truck around a bend in the road and found a spot and dropped off the side of the mountain to a creek bottom.  We sat in our spots till noon and came out to get some food.  When we got back to camp my dad’s friend and his wife were outside waiting for him and my sister to get back.  We talked to them for a while and they had to leave.  J and I decided we were going to drive down the road a little and try and call our girlfriends.

I told him to bring his gun and told Taylor if she wanted to ride she could. We started down the road and I showed Taylor were dad said he saw the two bucks. As we went around the bend where I parked that morning J said” wouldn’t it be cool if we saw a buck”.  As the words came out his mouth I looked up the side of the mountain and there stood a buck.  I yelled “buck “and pulled on to the shoulder, we jumped out and me and Taylor started up the bank and  J went to the right of us and started up the bank about 15 yards away. We got about 20 yards up the bank and I told Taylor to shoot but she didn’t have a clear shot so I pulled my muzzleloader up found the deer in my sights and pulled the trigger.

“You missed Josh “Taylor shouted. I told her to stand were I was and take a shot.  She said “on him” and pulled the trigger, her muzzleloader cap went off but the gun didn’t.  I yelled at J and told him to come here.  He didn’t have a shot where he was; he walked toward us a couple of steps and pulled his muzzleloader up.  Now with all this going on you would think man that deer is either deaf or was thinking to its self its Moe, Curly, Larry (The Three Stooges).  BOOM echoed through the air “deer down” he yelled we ran up the side of the mountain to where it was lying.

It was a nice six pointer; we loaded it in my truck and headed back to camp.  When we pulled up I blew the horn and dad came out and was excited.  He said he could hear us yelling and shooting and was getting ready to ride down.  We took pictures and hung the deer up; it was about time to head out to hunt the rest of the day.  We didn’t see anything else that day, but we were happy that one of us had taken a nice buck.  As we sat around the camp fire talking about how exciting the day had been we look at J’s buck and dad said that’s one of the bucks he had been seeing the past couple days .

We started processing the deer ourselves and finished around midnight.  We cleaned up and finished talking about the trip and how we didn’t want to leave because we loved being out in the woods without the noise of cars and other people.  We left Sunday morning with the memories of an exciting hunt and a story to tell everybody at home.

Hunting in the mountains of the National Forest is one of my favorite hunting trips I go on.  I always have fun and enjoy being with my family and friends.  We always bring back funny memories and people always get a kick out of our videos we make while around the camp fire and in the woods.

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Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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