Joe Kurz Buck Recovery Helps Hunter Through Difficult Time

"It's great how God works in those strange ways to get people through stuff."

Brad Gill | November 26, 2014

It makes this GON editor smile knowing that we played even just a minor part in a hunter recovering his deer, while helping him through a very difficult period in his life.

Justin Simpson, of Social Circle, was drawn to hunt the first 2014 quota hunt at Joe Kurz WMA. He was hunting on Oct. 24 when a nice 8-pointer came though pushing a doe. Justin shot at the buck, and it ran off. After four or five hours of hard looking, the search was abandoned. In fact, there was no sign that the deer had even been hit, but Justin was absolutely certain that he connected on the buck.

Three weeks later, on Nov. 16, Barry White (aka Whiteboy on the GON forum), was bowhunting Joe Kurz during the area’s non-quota archery hunt.

On Joe Kurz, bucks can’t be killed unless they have at least four points on a side or a 15-inch outside spread. Barry saw several bucks on his evening hunt, but they were too small to shoot. He decided to take a shot at a doe that was being harassed by several smaller bucks.

“I let an arrow fly, but I knew I had rushed and hit high,” said Barry. “She went 10 yards and piled up hard. I got ready to get down, and the bucks didn’t want to run off. My bow was swinging from the rope, I was coughing and trying to get them to move on, but they were focused on her.

“The biggest buck went to her, and she struggled to get up and went about 30 yards and piled up again. As I was climbing down, this happened a couple of times.”

Barry went to his truck to get his dragging strap and came back and found the doe was gone. One of the bucks apparently got her up again.

“I started working my way through briars and found blood on the trunks of saplings she had rubbed against,” said Barry. “I was standing in a spot where I couldn’t move because both arms and my hat were caught in briars, and I noticed a piece of pelvic bone. I thought it was old, but I then noticed the rib cage and a few feet away was the skull. I grabbed it and continued to follow blood slowly for about 100 yards—a drop here and there—and then it quit. I worked back and forth the next two hours until dark but never could find any more blood.”

As Barry held the nice 8-point skull in his hand, he hated to leave his doe while thinking that someone in the same area had lost a nice buck recently. He never recovered his doe.

“I posted the pics of the skull on the GON forum and then added it to the collection of racks gathering dust in the garage,” said Barry.

Jon Thomas (aka Jtnoval) saw Barry’s post and showed it to his buddy Justin, who is not a member of the GON forum. Justin knew for certain it was the deer he shot on Oct. 24.

“I sent the picture to Justin, and he was going nuts,” said Jon. “He had no doubt in his mind that it was his deer.”

Jon reached out to Barry and shared with him where Justin had shot the buck. As it turned out, it was in the exact same area Barry was hunting.

“The deer made a big, 700- or 800-yard circle, but in a line he probably only went 250 yards,” said Jon. “I met up with Barry, who is a super nice guy.”

Justin was ecstatic that he’d finally get his hands on his buck. However, the good news of the recovered rack was clouded when the horrible news came that Justin’s half sister was in a fatal car wreck.

“I talked to him on a Tuesday night, and found out they had pulled her off life support,” said Jon. “I told him that I had something that would make him smile. I sent him a picture of the skull, and he flipped out. He said, ‘You just made my day.’

“Yesterday (Nov. 25) I called him, and he didn’t answer because he was at the funeral for his sister. When he gets out of that, he called me up, and I told him GON was interested in the story. He is like, ‘What is the deal? There is something special about this deer.’

“All the stuff that he has gone through the last few weeks, and it’s like when he is down in the dumps, something bright happens, and it’s all about that deer. It’s great how God works in those strange ways to get people through stuff."

Barry added, “A blood trail that ends without the game in sight is never what any of us wants, but hopefully getting the rack in hand and knowing where it was found will help.”

I’m not sure if Barry knows the events that have unfolded in Justin’s life over the last few weeks, but I am now sure there is no doubt getting the rack back has meant more to him than any of us could ever imagine.

In fact, I’m reminded that God’s timing is always right. I’m certain that Justin recovered his rack right on time.

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