Of the 125,000-plus deer bagged during the 2004 Ohio gun hunting season last week, none may mean more to a hunter than the 10-point buck taken on opening morning by Steve DuShane of Zanesville. It likely is his last deer.
His mom, the Rev. MaryAnn Krell, of Toledo, shared the story so well that she will tell much of it here:
"I have a 51-year-old son who is in home-hospice care in the terminal stages of Crohn's disease. He had told me he would like to get one more deer to fill the freezer before he leaves this planet. He got his wish.
"While in his pajamas and without leaving his home he shot a 10-point buck from his patio door. He lives in Muskingum County on 120 acres, where deer are abundant." Once a lab technician at the former Riverside Hospital in Toledo, DuShane moved to rural Zanesville, about 60 miles east of Columbus, about 10 years ago.
Krell, an independent Unity minister, said her family believes the Lord sent her son one last buck. "We really do believe that. There's going to be a great deal of sadness when he goes. But he is at peace."
She said that DuShane's sons, Anthony and Lucas, field-dressed the buck for their dad and took it to a processer.
"As he continues his daily habit of watching at the windows and doors of his home nestled in the woods, Steve may be able to get another one, but has to be sure there is someone available to field-dress it.
"He has kept his family in venison ever since he lived there, and has developed some delicious venison dishes: Chili, spaghetti sauce, venison pot pies and vegetable soup from ground venison are family favorites, as well as venison steaks, chops and roasts."
Krell said her son used to bowhunt, but now lacks the strength to draw a bow. She said he may not live until Christmas.
On the day of the buck, Steve spoke with his brother, Ron DuShane, a Toledo mail carrier, and told of seeing two good-sized does from the patio window. "Ron was letting him know he was on his way down with two friends, to join a buddy, Gary Wodarski, who was already there to hunt."
Wodarski, it turned out, bagged one of the does. "He was so happy about getting a deer he would have been satisfied with his hunting trip," Krell said. "The next day, however, the excitement of that was exceeded when Gary got the biggest deer ever taken on the property, a 14-point buck. In the past 15 years, over 65 deer, many of them 8-points or 10-points, have been taken by family and friends." Another DuShane brother, Rick, a pastor at CedarCreek Church in Perrysburg Township, visits Steve weekly, but, Krell adds, "has never seen a deer on the property. His son Matthew, son-in-law Alan Stobinski and daughter-in-law Sandy DuShane, Matt's wife, all have taken deer on the property. And his mom -me - and step-dad, Don Krell, see them nearly every week. But not Rick. Even after sitting in a blind for over three hours this past visit, he says, 'There aren't any deer out there.'●"
Krell added one more note to Steve's last buck: "The deer he took weighs more than he does."
The outdoors desk wants to thank all the successful deer hunters who have shared e-mails, photographs and tales of big bucks and good luck. Space will not permit telling all, but just three more brief items will close this season of deer stories:
Tim Knepley, 19, of Napoleon, bagged what veteran Oregon taxidermist Earl Wolfe called "a monster-monster buck."
When Knepley brought the buck into Wolfe's shop, "I knew I had the cream of the crop," Wolfe said. "The young man's buck had 14 points and a 29 1/2-inch inside antler spread. Two of the 14 points were evenly matched drop-tines between 10 and 11 inches long.
"They were as thick as handles on a big screwdriver," said Wolfe of the drop-tines. "This guy was an old guy. His teeth were worn down to the gums. How the old guy ate I don't know."
Eric Ash of Maumee took a six-point buck on opening day in the Wayne National Forest after completing an 8 a.m. exam at Hocking College in Nelsonville in Athens County, where he is a freshman enrolled in the fish and wildlife management program. Good way to end a school term says his dad Bill.
A piebald doe is being seen with some regularity in the deer-glutted Side Cut Metropark area in Maumee. Several readers have e-mailed photographs of this unusual, partially-albino deer with a white and brown/gray patchwork coat.
Today: Nature at night, 7 p.m., Wildwood Preserve Metropark, Metz Visitor Center; also, family program/winter evening walk, Blue Creek Conservation Area, call for reservations, 419-535-3057 extension 101; also, Saturday, nature art/creative holiday cards, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., ages 8 and up, Swan Creek Preserve Metropark, Yager Center, call extension 101 for reservations; also, winter journals, 10 a.m.-noon, Side Cut Metropark, Lamb Center, first of four sessions, call extension 101 for reservations; also, wooded wonderland, 2 p.m., Wildwood/Manor House; also, night hike, 5 to 7, Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Buehner Center.
Sunday: Toledo Muzzle Loaders, shiver shoot, 11 a.m., Clinton Boothby Memorial Range, 875 Schwamberger Rd., call Rich Hulsebus, 419-474-6666.
Sunday: Swan festival and auto tour at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor; celebrating the tundra swan and trumpeter swan; call the refuge, 419-898-0014.
Contact Steve Pollick at: