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#3211574 - 04/02/13 04:35 PM David W. Hooker Jr.
RUGER Administrator
Bambi Killa

Registered: 11/19/99
Posts: 4106600
Loc: TN

This was submitted by Hook1, about his father.

David W. Hooker Jr July 12th 1937-March 18th 2013

It's Always Coldest

Dad, I'm cold.

I know Son, it's always coldest just before the sun comes up.


But it's already light out, it should be getting warm... I thought to myself.

As a young boy sitting in the deer woods with Dad, I did not understand what he meant that morning, 35 years ago.

My Dad, David W. Hooker, Jr. was born July 12, 1937. He is a good Christian man, devoted husband of 50 years, father of two, grand papaw to six, great grand dad of four, served his country in the 1960's, and likes old westerns and Braves baseball.

Dad has hunted all his life for one form of game or another, some for sustenance, others for pleasure.

My first forays afield with him, as with most young boys, was for small game. We always started squirrel hunting as soon as the season opened and we had a pack of beagles we would run rabbits with.

But before I was old enough to go deer hunting, I remember hanging onto Dad's every word when he came home from a hunt and told us his stories.

He would tell of where he had went, what he had seen and of what he had missed. But no deer were ever taken.

As soon as Dad deemed that I was mature enough as a hunter, he started taking me afield for deer. After my first few trips, I was hooked for life.

I did not harvest my first deer until my 17th birthday, November 7, 1981. Since that day, I have taken a countless number of deer , with several being good trophies.

Dad did not harvest his first until the mid 1990's. It was a small scrub 5 point but a good one for his first deer. After that, he had only taken two others; a basket racked 6 point and a 4 point.

Mind you, this wasn't from a lack of trying, because Dad went every day that his work, health and my mom would allow. It just wasn't in his cards that he would harvest big numbers of deer.

We all wished for Dad that he would get himself a big one.

In the early 1990's Dad started having some health problems. He went through several bouts of spinal meningitis and each time the doctors would give him less than a 5% chance to live. If he did live, they said he would be a mental vegetable.

But Dad proved them all wrong. He pulled through every round and kept his mental stability.

Through all this he still hunted.

In the year 2001, after a trip to Tellico, trout fishing, Dad had a light stroke. This put him down for a while, but not out. He now walks with a slight limp and does not travel as far afield anymore, but still hunts.

Over the past several years, Dad's hunting has slowed down alot. Instead of going every weekend, it is now two or three half day trips a season.

At the beginning of this past season Mom said to me, "This will probably be your dad's last year deer hunting. He's getting too old."

Well, if this was going to be his last year I wanted to do something special for him.

I called and talked to the owner of the farm that my son and I hunt on in Middle Tennessee. I had asked in the past about bringing Dad, but was always denied. This time she said, "Sure you can bring your dad, for a day."

At 2:00 a.m. November 11, 2009, we left his house headed for the farm. Both of our hopes were high because big deer roam those fields and woods. We arrived three hours later. We got changed and headed out to put Dad in a stand.

Dad, I'm puttin gyou in the best stand on the property. It's in a five acre wooded funnel with thickets on both ends and thirty acres of cut corn on it's border. You're allowed three antlerless and one antlered deer a day. Shoot what you want.

By the time I get him in the stand and arrive at mine it is well past shooting light. But that is ok, this day is not about me.

I get settled in, hit my grunt call and just like he is supposed to, out of the cedar thicket, walks a shooter 8 point. Well , ten minutes in my hunt, one shot, one kill.

About an hour later, while enjoying the morning I hear a shot from the other end of the farm. Good, I thought, Dad has at least had a chance at one.

At about 10:30 I arrive back at his stand to find him in his favorite position. A cup of coffee in one hand, a cigarette in the other.

Alright Dad, what you get?

Aww, I think I missed her.

Missed? You have thought you have missed every one you have ever killed. Say she was standing right about here?


Well Dad, right here is blood.

But we never found her.

When we got back to the truck and he saw my buck I could tell he was disappointed that we did not at least find his doe. I could also see his hope draining as his hunt was half over.

Let me back up just a minute and put all this into perspective for you.

My dad is 72 years old. Through all his health issues and all the years of chasing deer he has only taken three. But he has never lost his love of the outdoors or his passion for the hunt. Most would have hung up their guns by now, but he still gets up and goes.

Alright Dad, we are going to put a move on these deer this afternoon. We've got the wind in our favor so we are goin to sit together and watch where they cross into this cut corn.

We build a make shift blind and get settled in for our evening hunt. We start seeing deer right away.

There's a doe on the fence row Dad, do ya see her?

Yeah, I see her.

Hey Dad, there's a small buck back in the bottom.

If I was in that stand I'd have a shot at him.

Yep, but you're not.

We watched this young buck pushing does around for quite some time, but they never came our way.

The afternoon progressed on into that magical witching hour. Dad pours himself a cup of coffee and lights up a cigarette.

The wind is goo so it doesn't matter.

Dad, there's another deer on the fence.

Dad, that's a buck.

I can't see him son.

Dad, that's a BIG buck !

Son, I can't see him.

Dad, he just jumped the fence !

I grabbed his cup of coffee, put his cigarette out in it and told him....
Get your gun and get ready.

The buck is about 100 yards into the cut corn before Dad makes him out.

Is that him son?

Yeah Dad, that's him.

Buddy, that's a big deer.

I know Dad.

Dad, if he turns our way, let him get into this green field below us before you shoot.

I don't claim to pray alot but at this moment I said a silent prayer.

"Lord, please. This is not for me."

You know what, that buck turned and came from 200 yards, like he was on a string.

Underneath my breath I say to Dad, In the green field let him get in the green field.

The sun has almost sat behind us. The wind is in our face. Here is the moment of silent anticipation that only those who have hunted know, as that buck of a lifetime takes his final steps into the perfect position.

I whisper, "Shoot him Dad."

he steadies his aim and fires.

Through the cloud of smoke, I see this buck flinch then he staggers for 50 yards and falls !

For all the years of hunting, for the hundreds of hours spent on stands, for everyone that had ever wished that Dad would get himself a BIG ONE his buck was down !

When we got upon this deer I do not know who it affected more. For when I saw how truly beautiful this buck was, it broke me down.

I didn't cry. I hugged Dad in both arms and I sobbed!!!

For what lay before us was a perfect 10 point, with a sticker and two daggers for eye guards. A buck that took him a lifetime to get.

I can honestly say this was the most powerful and humblin g moment of my life.

For this was the first time since that cold morning 35 years ago that I had sat together with my dad while deer hunting.

It took me many years to understand what his words had meant that morning.

Though dawn has broken, it is always coldest just before those first warming rays of the sun break through and touch you.

Dad, I'm cold.

I know Son, I know.

Youth is wasted on the young.

#3212158 - 04/03/13 09:52 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: RUGER]
4 Point

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 469
Loc: Lyles Tennessee

Very nice memory there. Cherish them while you have them.
I Play Loud

#3212621 - 04/03/13 05:16 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: imograss]
Tennessee Todd
Communicates like Rad
16 Point

Registered: 03/12/99
Posts: 12709
Loc: TuTu City, Tn

That's a great story Hooker. I know what you felt because I've felt the same things. I've been blessed with more opportunities to hunt than I can shake a stick at. My greatest blessing now is to live through the hunting memories of my Dad and my son and daughters. I'm not sure how much longer I'll have Dad with me, but I assure you, I cherish every moment.

I'm sure your Dad was a special person to be around and never forget, he'll always be with you on every hunt. Moreso than you'll ever realize......
This Country might survive Obama but what we won't survive is the mindset that elected him.

#3212752 - 04/03/13 07:06 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Tennessee Todd]
8 Point

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 1641
Loc: Cleveland, Tenn.

Great post Randy!!! Your dad always did enjoy being out and in God's creation even if he had no luck with the harvest. More folks should have his outlook. It's not all about killing.
#3213609 - 04/04/13 03:15 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: JohnG]
16 Point

Registered: 08/06/00
Posts: 10254
Loc: Ooltewah/Harrison TN, USA

That's the best thing I've read in quite a while. Got something in my eye......
Those of us who have lost our Dad can certainly relate to that story. We all have hunting stories involving Dad.
That's a good'ern right there.
~~Death from above~~

Visit my Blog:
Sons of LiberTea Blog

#3213797 - 04/04/13 07:01 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: sgtwebb1]
14 Point

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 8269
Loc: Grundy county

Great story \:\)
Team Run 'N Gunners

#3213938 - 04/04/13 08:53 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: timberjack86]
18 Point

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 21487
Loc: south fulton

awesome story \:\)
NO1 Greater- Ky Wildcats!!

Its not what happens in life, but how you react to it that matters.

#3213971 - 04/04/13 09:30 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: rem270]
in the dog house!
16 Point

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 10301
Loc: west tn

You are indeed a blessed man. Thanks for sharing. May your Dad RIP
Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet

Μολων λαβε

#3217132 - 04/08/13 09:26 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: in the dog house!]
16 Point

Registered: 07/20/05
Posts: 19786
Loc: Rutherford / Wilson County Lin...

Great tribute to who I'm certain was a great man. When I read things like that I think of my grandfather, Pap, as he is the one I grew up deer hunting with as my father didn't big game hunt.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

#3227152 - 04/20/13 08:39 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Gravey]
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point

Registered: 05/01/99
Posts: 15823
Loc: Rutherford County, TN

Awesome....from one Hooker to another.......
Everytime I see you....there you are.

#3229951 - 04/24/13 12:04 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: HOOK]
Marion deer hunter
6 Point

Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 740
Loc: Marion County

Very good post. Brings back alot of memories of my dad. Ty for sharing!
Let's go hunting!

#3233881 - 04/28/13 03:38 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Marion deer hunter]
12 Point

Registered: 02/18/12
Posts: 6513
Loc: loudon

Wow!! What a wonderful tribute to your father. It makes me think of my dad and all the good memories I have of him. We lost him in 1998. May they both RIP.
William G Kollock

#3262328 - 06/05/13 06:55 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: WGK]
16 Point

Registered: 10/23/01
Posts: 19750
Loc: Antioch TN

Cherish them while you have them. For mans days are numbered.
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;"The greatest pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much, and power over nothing" - Herodotus

#3273272 - 06/21/13 09:36 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Locksley]
Paul Burns
TnDeer Old Timer
8 Point

Registered: 03/28/99
Posts: 2142
Loc: Westport--- Carroll County Tn

Don't know if you are as good a hunter as a writer but if you are you are one of the best. Thanks for a great story and the emotion of a true heart---it shows thru. Your Dad has a lot to be proud of, he passed it on, now it's your turn.
Thanks again.
Paul Westport-Yuma Tn
On the banks of the Big Sandy River and Maple Creek

#3340276 - 08/29/13 08:09 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Paul Burns]
14 Point

Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 8264
Loc: Dyersburg,Tn.

Great story! thanks for sharing, I never got to sit on stand with my dad because he was not a hunter. But we spent many a days together in a boat fishing.
#3344954 - 09/02/13 06:18 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Slaughter-06]
8 Point

Registered: 10/06/12
Posts: 1075
Loc: Tennessee

great story hook1 never had a dad to teach me about hunting .went with my uncle one time when i was 10 and been hooked ever since .carried countless juvys for their first hunt and enjoyed ever min of it .great story and as always it's not always about the hunt but the memory's you make on the hunt .
#3364021 - 09/18/13 07:15 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: HOOK]
6 Point

Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 844
Loc: jamestown,tn. us

Great times.
#3400431 - 10/13/13 01:14 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: HOOK]

Registered: 10/11/13
Posts: 34
Loc: Sumner Co

wow this is an amazing story
don't stop till the job gets done

#3418858 - 10/25/13 03:53 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: HOOK]
12 Point

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 5070
Loc: medon,Tn.

That touched a spot in my heart. Great post. Thanks

Edited by tickweed (10/25/13 03:54 PM)
The hardest thing about Bowhunting Turkeys is leaving the gun at home!

#3464091 - 11/21/13 11:03 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: tickweed]
The ScubaCamper
6 Point

Registered: 08/14/13
Posts: 547
Loc: Chattanooga, TN

Thanks for sharing - really enjoyed the story.
"You think education is expensive? Try ignorance."

#3552264 - 01/19/14 02:44 AM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: The ScubaCamper]
6 Point

Registered: 05/04/13
Posts: 977
Loc: Estill Springs, TN

Really good read. Thank you for sharing it with us!!
#3619066 - 03/17/14 09:16 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: gobblegrunt]
4 Point

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 330
Loc: Cleveland Tn.

It's been one year ago tonight that I lost my Dad
If I could just have
One more day of fishing
One more day of hunting
One more day to talk
If I could just have one more Day
To tell him, I Loved Him
This story, His story, Our story, it literally took a Lifetime to write.
Our story was not always Perfect, but a better Dad could not have been ask for.
I never pass up where he lays, it does not take a Long visit with him to change my Day. A cup of coffee and cigarette I have with him, and Yes some Tears. But I visit here often to read his story, because this was Dad, a True outdoorsman in every sense. To all those who have read and responed,,,Thanks,,,Don't wait till tomorrow to tell someone that you could tell today, that You Love them. Dad read his on story,,I hope it told him what he meant to Me
Gone Huntin/Gotta Luv It

#3619106 - 03/17/14 10:00 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: Hook1]
4 Point

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 118
Loc: mid Tennessee

God bless. Memories like this is what it is all about.
#3658418 - 04/29/14 01:20 PM Re: David W. Hooker Jr. [Re: HOOK]
Bone Collector
14 Point

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 9646
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

Great Story! Thanks for sharing.
Semper Fidelis!

“There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
General James Mattis

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