Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Passing Of My Life Long Hunting Companion.
In the fall of 1976, I was just out of school and working my first full time job. Squirrel season had just opened and was a beautiful weekend. At this time in my life I had no clue as to what deer hunting was all about but things were about to change dramatically. As a child growing up I'd played with bows and arrows but in August 1976 while hunting squirrel I had my first encounter with a small herd of Whitetail Deer. Yearning for knowledge about the whitetail deer and growing up loving to hunt, I began searching every article I could fine in magazines and asking questions from local friends and farmers. This lead me to a family that kept popping up time after time and one that I'd gone to school with since the first grade. The family known by everyone in my home town of Lascassas, Tennessee as "The Dukes" would soon become my life long mentors, hunting family and second family. If I wasn't at home I was at the Dukes learning about whitetail deer and other wild game, fishing and life. The entire family ( father, mother, sons, daughter and even the grandmother )taught me everything I know today about hunting. The father ( Charles Duke ) who passed away 20 years ago was my biggest mentor but it was the youngest son ( Ricky Duke ) that was my hunting companion. Ricky was a year older than me but had hunted whitetail deer all across America since he was 9 years old. All the Dukes would limit out every year and with that kind of experience, classified the entire family as experts to me and well worth my time to learn from them. On Sunday February 1,2009, I received a phone call informing me that my life long hunting companion Ricky Duke had passed away of cancer. The news was devastating and all I've thought of since was the memories of our hunts and time together over the past 40 years. Though Ricky's astonishing accomplishments are all just memories for me now, they will live on in my heart, the woods and the fields forever more. You'll be dearly missed by all who's lives you've touched here on earth Ricky and may God be with you in your new hunting grounds though eternity.