Split Browtine Buck: A Tribute To Our Fathers

Their dads used to hunt together, now these two younger hunters are continuing the tradition.

Reader Contributed | September 29, 2023

By Preston Wall

My good friend Brannon Cook invited me to hunt with him in Jackson County on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 24, and of course I went. Brannon and I grew up hearing the stories of our dads hunting together through their younger years all the way up to today, so we have always strived to make similar memories.
Little did we know that Sunday afternoon would be one of those hunts that we would never forget. We got to the woods about 5 p.m., and I walked in through the thick, young pines to a ridge that was loaded with muscadines. It took me a few minutes to pick a tree to climb because it was so thick and I was concerned about being able to see far enough. I picked a mature pine and went up and got settled in. Brannon was hunting about 120 yards away over my right shoulder in his climber.
Eventually after sitting there for awhile, I just happened to look down to my left and I could see movement and antlers through the thickness at about 60 yards. I watched for five minutes as he fed on muscadines paralleling me at 30 yards with no shot. I thought he was going to walk straight away from me and disappear just as quietly as he appeared, but at the last second, he turned and started walking broadside up the hill. I had one gap I could shoot through, and when he stepped into it, I stopped him and let the arrow fly 40 yards downrange. The buck mule kicked and took off running with his tail tucked, and no more than 30 seconds later, I heard him crash. Immediately after I shot, my body began to shake and feel warm as buck fever set in.
Brannon met me at the base of my tree an hour later to begin tracking. We found good blood and tracked him 120 yards through some thick undergrowth before Brannon said, “there he is Preston.”  The initial reaction was hugs and a prayer, but we both had the same thought immediately after, which was, “I need to call my dad.” We each called our dads and told them that we had found him, and they were excited and happy for us.
Later on that night, Brannon and I had the conversation of if our dads ever had a similar memory hunting together and if we remind them of their younger selves. Without our dads dragging us hunting as toddlers and teaching us everything they knew about the outdoors that experience Brannon and I shared together that night would’ve never been possible.
I write this story to say to both of our fathers thank you for all the countless hours you spent guiding, teaching and building us into the outdoorsmen we are today. None of it would be possible without you. I always wanted to be like you as a young boy, and I hope that I am becoming that as a young man. Hopefully you both get to read this in the GON magazine one day.

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  1. Andrew Curtis on September 29, 2023 at 8:58 am

    Congrats on an awesome buck, but more importantly, great job in seeing the bigger picture of the hunt and for being willing to share your feelings with us.

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