Kevin Meyer says it's more about the camaraderie that brings a lifetime of memories for this seasoned hunter. He was a typical farm boy growing up in Northeast Iowa, hunting and trapping on the family farm by Protivin. He lived on a perfect place for a young boy to grow up. The farm has the Bohemian Creek flowing through it and many days were spent with family and friends fishing off the bridge. His older brothers, Charlie and Bob, got him interested in hunting. Later, when he got his driver’s license he was able to venture off the farm and hunt with neighboring friends. For years Kevin has raccoon hunted with old neighbors Alice and the late Glen Klimesh family, now going on the third generation. First night of raccoon hunting becomes quite an event with about ten to fifteen people and three to five dogs that begins with an annual hunters dinner.
Kevin prefers to hunt second season shotgun because there are less hunters out and is a longer season. Kevin is proud that our son, Scott, also deer hunts with the group second season shotgun. Through the years Kevin has noticed as each generation joins the group, that older members step up and work with the new members showing them the ropes and taking time to explain safety precautions to make the hunting experience good for all.
Our house has three trophy deer mounts on our walls. The first one was Kevin’s ninth deer, a nine-pointer taken on the ninth of December taken in the 1990’s. He remembers the wind chill that day was a freezing forty-five below zero! The second trophy deer mounted was taken near Spillville in 1997, and is a perfectly symmetrical ten-point buck that is over twenty inches wide. He scored 143 and 1/8 by the Boone and Crockett scoring system, seven points shy of making the Iowa record books. In 2010, Kevin’s third big deer mounted is the biggest trophy buck Kevin has taken, an eleven pointer, yet it scored one and an eighth less than his 1997 deer because of deductions. In 2012, Kevin bagged an eight-point buck, and this last season he garnered a ten point buck. The last two deer will be turned into European mounts he does himself.
“It is not the harvesting of a deer that is the most important thing; it’s the camaraderie or the spirit of the hunt. I have been able to harvest a lot of great deer during second season shotgun thanks to the landowners and the group of people I hunt with,” said Kevin.
As we were looking back at his hunting journal I made for my husband way back in 1988 as part of his Christmas gift and continue to update, we enjoyed going down memory lane with the many years of hunting photos and entries. The hand-worn cherished book looks like it needs a second edition. In it I described not knowing or completely understanding these new-to-me hunting experiences, like the time I showed up in a new pair of jeans to go raccoon hunting and Alice Klimesh who was busy milking cows in the barn looked at me and asked if this was what I was going to wear hunting. Yeah, she laughed knowing I had no idea what I was getting into, since Kevin failed to mention I would be climbing over barbwire fences in the dark. But at the end of the evening, when I and the ten-year-olds, Kurt and Kent, fell asleep on each other from pure exhaustion, I began to understand the close bond hunting families have. It’s so much more than just hunting.
“Some of my best memories are hunting with the dogs that I raised and trained from pups. Our household has always had a hunting dog until the last few years.” Looking back through the hunting journey, it is more than just bagging the big buck, its making memories with friends and family along the way.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.