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GRANT: First day of gun season here in Missouri and it’s one of my favorite times of year ‘cause I get to hunt with my dad. Dad and I have been huntin’ together since I was five years old. He took me on a muzzle–. Since I was six years old. When I was in first grade, he took me on a muzzleloader hunt down at Caney Mountain, which is a public use area in Missouri. Do you remember that, dad?
GLEN: Yeah. Yeah. Slept in a tent.
GRANT: Slept in a tent. And I waved a ramrod and muzzleloader at birds all day and played I was shooting them. We didn’t have a chance of seeing a deer. But dad stayed with me and has been my best friend through my whole life. So, here we are – gosh – 40, let me think about that, 46 years later still hunting together.
GRANT: Today, I’d like to share with you a celebration of my beloved Pops’ life. Pops was not only my best hunting buddy – he was my best friend.
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GRANT: Pops enjoyed hunting and fishing long before I was born and I’m fortunate that he included me in those activities when I was a small boy. I have gads of memories and the lessons he taught me have served me well throughout my life.
GRANT: Based on that legacy, it was natural when we started GrowingDeer for Pops to be a part of the team.
GRANT: The first time I filmed Pops as part of GrowingDeer was in northern Missouri during the late antlerless season. We were on a farm about six miles out of Iowa and needed to remove some does.
GRANT: It was wicked cold during that hunt. I remember during one day, the actual temperature was 15 below zero. I thought Pops might want to stay in. He was 79 at the time. But every morning and every afternoon, he was eager to go hunting.
GRANT: There was an old cattle shed on the property and Pops thought it’d be a good blind. But when we got inside, there really wasn’t anything to sit on. I found an old board and Pops made do without any complaints.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s getting ready to shoot. My dad is absolutely awesome. He is perfect. Then he turns around and asks if he got her. Of course, he dropped her in his tracks and it’s hard to see through the scope. Let’s get over here on him.
GRANT: He’s very safe. He’s gonna take his shell out.
GRANT: Just before dark, a couple of does came out and as always, Pops made a great shot.
GRANT: (Whispering) My dad just made a huge shot. Oh, let’s do it again; let’s do it again. If I can get on her.
GRANT: Some more deer came out through a side window where the camera couldn’t see but that wasn’t holding Pops back. (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) And I’m betting that’s two for two. 79 years old. On his knees. Wallering around. Two for two, I’m more than willing to bet ‘cause I know my dad.
GRANT: He made a great shot; helped meet our goal towards harvesting does and we had a good laugh.
GRANT: (Whispering) People ask me how I learned to shoot and hunt. And I can't think of any better demonstration of how I learned to shoot and hunt than what you just saw.
GRANT: Pops was so thankful just to be hunting and enjoying Creation and spending time with me. And I was thankful to spend time with him and soak up his wisdom as he shared in that first interview.
GRANT: If you could say any one thing to all the other hunters out there listening, what advice would you give ‘em?
GLEN: Hunt safe. Don’t get excited and get hurt. Enjoy the hunt. Take your children to hunt if you can or your wife – whatever it is. But always enjoy the hunt. Never make it a hard pressure – um, something that bears on people. It makes ‘em nervous and they don’t do good. But always help people – help ‘em hunt and help ‘em get their deer.
GRANT: When I interviewed Pops during that hunt, his words of wisdom still ring true today and should be a guide for every hunt when we take our family.
GRANT: The next spring, I took Pops turkey hunting. He had never tagged a turkey before. When I was a boy, he would get up early after working construction all week; drive me down to the hills where there’s a few turkeys; let me out of the truck and I’d go roam the hills. And he’d take a nap. Then, we’d go fishing in the afternoon. So, it was time I took Pops turkey hunting.
GRANT: A tom started working its way in and I was so excited that Pops was gonna see a turkey in full strut.
GRANT: Tell – just tell me about it.
GLEN: Ah. He sneaked right up on me, uh. Walked around the decoy and you said wait ‘til he stuck his head up and that’s what I done.
GRANT: I was so thrilled, I forgot to hit the record button. That turkey come right to the decoy and strutted at it and strutted around it and, and I’m filming. I think I’m filming. I’m focused; everything’s great – everything but the record button. So, I did not get that on footage. I’m about to puke. I’m so upset with myself.
GLEN: Well, we’ll have to wait ‘til next week to get another one then.
GRANT: Boy, that was a big one.
GLEN: Hmm. Hmm. Yeah, it’s a big one. Mercy, mercy.
GRANT: All right.
GLEN: I couldn’t believe that.
GRANT: His grin took away my stress for not hitting the record button. We went on and celebrated the hunt.
GRANT: Oh yeah. That is a trophy. Look at those big spurs.
GRANT: That’s a trophy. Big beard. Boy, I would have had great footage if I would have just hit the record button.
GLEN: Well, you can't do everything right, son.
GRANT: Anyone else would have been upset. Pops could care less. He wanted to look at the turkey; check it out and get into that turkey breast. Recording the hunt meant nothing to Pops. It was all about enjoying the hunt and spending time with his son.
GLEN: I had no idea I was gonna see a turkey the first day I ever hunted turkeys in my life.
GRANT: First day you’ve ever hunted turkeys – 79 years old. And this is the first day you’ve ever turkey hunted.
GLEN: Yeah. I remember when you was a kid – you was interested in it and I’d take you down there and you’d go off in the woods and I’d lay down in the truck and sleep.
GLEN: I’d hear the turkeys hollering or you one. Didn’t know which.
GLEN: All right. I’m Glen Woods and I’m 79 years old and I never hunted turkey before in my life. My boy talked me into it and I come down here to try it out. And this one walked up and I took a shot at him and down he went. Uh, I enjoy hunting of all kinds. But, I just had never turkey hunted before. And I’m sure glad I come now. Because big, nice bird – weighs 20 some odd pounds. Good three-year-old bird. So, I’m in good shape – start off right – and I plan on continuing hunting every chance I get. Appreciate the opportunity. There’s nothing like hunting with friends. So, I just don't know what else to say.
GRANT: You said enough. All right.
GRANT: Got him, Pops. You nailed him. Nailed him. Good job. Great job.
GLEN: Whoo! Man, that’s a big one, son! I tell you! He’s a big one!
GRANT: Throughout the years, I filmed many, many hunts with Pops. But it was never about the camera. I took the camera along because we share information weekly and needed the content to make a show. But my primary objective was spending time with Pops.
GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) You got him; you got him. You got him.
GLEN: I think so.
GRANT: There he lays. There’s your big ‘un. Congratulations. Give me a hug.
GLEN: Thank you for letting me hunt, son.
GRANT: You made a great shot, dad. That’s a big ‘un. That’s a dandy there.
GLEN: He’s been fighting. Look at that horn broke off.
GRANT: Look at this trash back here.
GLEN: Ah huh.
GRANT: Big ‘ole head on him. That’s much better. Now turn him sideways.
GRANT: Viewers quickly learned that Pops was a crack shot. And through the years, Pops dropped more than a few deer right in their tracks.
GRANT: Very good shot.
GLEN: Ah huh. Thank you, son.
GRANT: Very good shot, dad.
GLEN: Well, we come down about two o’clock. Drove down and seen him up on the ridge limping along a little bit. And we come on down. You said he might come by after a bit. And, uh, waited until just about the sun went down behind the trees. Here he come. And Grant said, “Go ahead and shoot him, Pops.” And that’s what I done. I appreciate it.
GRANT: Pops was always thankful just for the chance to go hunting and spend time with me. And the feeling was likewise.
GRANT: One of my favorite hunts with Pops occurred during Missouri’s late muzzleloader season. It was a cold and snowy day and the wind was blowing strong out of the north. Perfect to hunt the blind we had on the south end of a field we called Crabapple.
GRANT: I felt strongly deer would be feeding early due to the harsh conditions. I can't adequately describe this hunt, so I’m just gonna let the footage roll.
GRANT: We’re gonna keep the window shut ‘cause the wind is blowing and it’s snowing. Keep dad all covered up here. Oh, look at the dust on that thing. Got his orange on underneath our blanket here.
GRANT: You warm enough?
GLEN: I’m perfectly warm.
GRANT: Okay. I bet we see a deer pretty soon.
GLEN: That’s wonderful, son, and I know you do it for me.
GRANT: Oh, it’s a great Christmas gift to be able to hunt with you here.
GRANT: Dad’s got a green ticket. Shoot anything he wants, so we’re just gonna see what comes out and see what he wants to shoot.
GLEN: Well, we’ll leave that up to whatever comes out.
GRANT: I knew they’d come. It’s cold out there.
GRANT: Ooo. There’s a big buck, dad. Big buck just come out. See him down there? Right in front of the gravel pile.
GLEN: (Quietly) Yeah. Will it reach that far?
GRANT: Oh yeah. You like that deer?
GLEN: (Quietly) You don’t want me to shoot him down there, do you?
GRANT: Yeah. He’s gonna – I don’t want him to walk away. Let me look at him.
GLEN: (Quietly) There comes the master. Right there.
GRANT: Where? I don’t see him, dad.
GLEN: (Quietly) One right behind him. Huge buck.
GRANT: Oh, that is a good one. Okay.
GRANT: (Whispering) Shh. Shhh, shhh, shhh.
GLEN: (Whispering) That a good one?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s a good one. Oh, there – that’s a good buck, dad.
GLEN: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s a real good one. Hold on a second now. Don’t shoot. Take your time. That’s a good one, dad. Not yet, but when he turns sideways. Can you find him? Have you found him, dad?
GLEN: (Whispering) Well, he walked back…
GRANT: (Whispering) No. He’s right there. He’s right there, dad. Yeah. He’s across the road. Head down, eating. I can see him real good, dad. But you wait ‘til you get him right on his shoulder and tell me before you shoot.
GLEN: (Whispering) All right. Now, which one is he?
GRANT: (Whispering) The bigger one’s over to the left in the – yeah, the big one’s on the left with his head up. Just wait ‘til he turns broadside. See him there?
GRANT: Dad, you shot – you shot the wrong one, dad. You're okay.
GLEN: Did I shoot the wrong one?
GRANT: Yeah. But you're okay.
GRANT: When my dad dropped the smaller buck, I didn’t know how to respond. But, dad as always, covered perfectly for me. He wasn’t upset. He was thrilled. It had been a fun hunt. We’d seen a lot of great deer and he changed momentum just like that. Something his smile was always capable of doing.
GLEN: I sure am proud you let me hunt down there, son.
GRANT: You are welcome anytime, dad. That’s a great buck. And it was a cold afternoon. You earned that deer.
GLEN: Well, as much as I shook – I had the shake over on him. That sure was a nice hunt. Now, I’m gonna get back in the truck before I freeze.
GRANT: All right, dad. I love you very much.
GLEN: I love you too, son.
GRANT: I’m proud of you. Hold on a second.
GLEN: All right. Which one of them trucks? (Inaudible)
GLEN: All right. Thank you, gentlemen.
GRANT: Dad and I continued hunting together. One fall, he was diagnosed with 43 masses of cancer in his thoracic and abdominal cavities. I can remember clearly when we were sitting in the doctor’s office and the doctor gave us the diagnosis. My dad rocked back for a few moments. And without missing a beat said, “What’s next? What can we do to whip this cancer?”
GRANT: Once again, in a split second, my dad’s attitude and perceptions changed the whole course of our family’s life.
GRANT: We instantly went from mourning to fight mode and joined around dad as he fought cancer.
GRANT: During the chemo treatments, dad wasn’t feeling well but he wanted to go hunting. And I made sure every opportunity he was feeling good enough, we were in a blind.
GRANT: After chemo, dad gets cold easily. So, we took an orange sleeping bag to cover him up, knowing that if he saw a deer, he’d be plenty warm and would get out of that sleeping bag with no problems.
GLEN: Here I am deer hunting again. Uh. Colder than blue blazes. But, I’m gonna try. That sun is shining bright. I believe we’ll see some deer. I’m hoping anyway that the Lord’s blessing that I get (Inaudible). Old as I am, most people are gone anyway.
GLEN: My boy is good enough to let me come down here and hunt and he even helped me get in the stand, move around. And I wore his GrowingDeer hat. And I think I’ll be lucky today. I sure appreciate getting to hunt, son. Thank you, now. Bye.
GRANT: (Whispering) I got the gun. I got the gun. You're gonna have to – dad, you can't see it yet.
GLEN: (Whispering) He coming?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. He’s right on top of the ridge. Can you see him? His head’s down, eating.
GLEN: (Whispering) Is that him? (Inaudible)
GRANT: He’s on this side. No. See his head up? Can you see him?
GRANT: Okay. Wait ‘til you're – wait, dad. Let’s see if he’ll go over to the right a little bit to give you a better shot.
GLEN: (Whispering) He’s still way too high.
GRANT: (Whispering) Okay. (Inaudible) Get up here when you see him better. He’ll walk on up to where you’ll see him better. Just let him walk.
GLEN: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible) One coming down the hill.
GRANT: That’s another good buck. Let’s see what he does. Can you move your gun that way? Let’s see how big he is. I don’t, couldn’t see him very well. Let’s see.
GLEN: Stopped him.
GRANT: Hold on. Wait ‘til he stops. Put it right in his shoulder. That got him.
GRANT: In case that doe stops, I’m gonna get you ready.
GRANT: That got him. Good shooting, dad. Right in the shoulder. Perfect.
GLEN: (Inaudible) Yeah, it was facing me a little.
GRANT: He’s, he’s not going anywhere. There’s a bunch of does over here. Let’s see if they walk up to check him out. That’s a real good deer.
GRANT: There’s a bunch of them coming out. Just be patient. Just be patient. They're gonna come right here to you.
GRANT: Here comes some more out. They're all coming out. Just let ‘em walk out.
GRANT: No, when she’s – now kill her when she’s broadside right there. That got her. Perfect, dad.
GLEN: You sure I got that one?
GRANT: Yeah. I’m looking at the belly.
GRANT: You dropped her.
GLEN: All right.
GRANT: Very good.
GLEN: I come down here with my son and he said, “Dad, I’m gonna put you on some deer.” And I like to froze before he got around to the deer but when they kept coming in, they just flowed in. And I let the first three big bucks walk by. I couldn’t get a good shot. The fourth one – I got him. And then a doe come out later and I got her. And I mean to tell you, I’m walking ten foot high. I’m 86 years old and I fighting cancer or whooped it. Really feel good.
GLEN: I can sleep in late tomorrow.
GRANT: You can sleep in warm. You want me to send that sleeping bag home with you, keep you warm?
GLEN: No. No, no, no.
ADAM: Have you ever had so many pictures in your life (Inaudible) this fall…
GLEN: I don't think so. I only had two when I got married. (Laughter)
GRANT: During 2016, on his birthday – October 18th, dad was in the middle of some tough treatments but I took him hunting. And sure enough, he tagged a buck. Once again, it was a special occasion.
GRANT: (Whispering) Tell me before you shoot. Tell me before you shoot.
GLEN: (Whispering) Okay. Safety off?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. Safety’s off.
GRANT: (Whispering) You got him. You got him. You got him.
GLEN: (Whispering) Thank you, son.
GRANT: (Whispering) You did great, dad. That’s a great shot. That’s your first deer with a crossbow. How’d you like that?
GLEN: (Quietly) That’s for – man, that’s like shooting a rifle.
GRANT: (Quietly) Bunch of big gobblers. (Inaudible)
GLEN: (Quietly) Ah huh. I was tempted to shoot this big ‘un. He had a ten-inch beard right there.
GRANT: (Quietly) Well, you’ve got a shotgun turkey tag, too. You can come back here with your shotgun.
GLEN: (Quietly) Yeah. If you can get your mother to let me come.
GRANT: (Quietly) You know she’ll let you come.
GLEN: (Quietly) I’m lucky to have a good wife that will stay with me on my hunting. Has for 67 years. And that’s, that’s all a man can ask for. She wants me to try to hunt and that’s what I need to do.
GRANT: (Quietly) Hmm. Hmm. All right. Matt and I are gonna get out of the blind and go find your buck.
GLEN: (Quietly) All right. You ready to go look for it?
GRANT: (Quietly) Yeah. We’ll leave you here. Pretty rocky. Pretty tough walking out there and we’ll go find your buck and drag him back for you to see him. Okay?
GLEN: (Quietly) All right.
GRANT: (Quietly) You okay?
GLEN: (Quietly) Yeah. Take the arrow out of here.
GRANT: (Quietly) Yeah. I will. I love you very much, dad.
GLEN: (Quietly) I love you, too, son.
GRANT: (Quietly) I’m very proud of you.
GLEN: (Quietly) I’m very proud of you, too, son.
GRANT: For my dad, there were no arguments over crossbows or long bows or compounds or muzzleloaders or scope rifles. It was using whatever tool the season was open for and enjoying the hunt.
GRANT: The chemo treatments my dad received did a great job of cleaning up the cancer. Unfortunately, it was strong medicine and it caused some other bad side effects.
GRANT: You ready to go hunting Pops? (Inaudible)
GRANT: My dad’s body was weaker but his mind and spirit were still extremely strong, so his next birthday, once again, we were back out hunting. This time we had a blind on the edge of a plot named Prickly Pear. Dad had had a lot of great hunts over Prickly Pear throughout the years. But during the summer, we had expanded that plot.
GRANT: I knew dad was very weak and had the feeling that might be one of his last hunts.
GLEN: Getting pretty old. But I still love to hunt. I’m fresh out of Mayos. I got a fairly good checkup. I’m gonna try my luck on bow hunting again. And I love to hunt. I appreciate my boy taking me and he’s been wonderful for all these years.
GRANT: And today is my dad’s 87th birthday. So, we’re hoping God blesses us with a birthday buck. Last year, my dad killed a buck on his birthday. We’re hoping for a repeat this year.
GLEN: Yes. I hope he’s even bigger this year.
GRANT: (Laughter) But you’d take a doe, wouldn’t you?
GRANT: How about a turkey? Would you shoot a turkey?
GLEN: You better believe it.
GRANT: Yeah. He likes fresh turkey. But today, it’s all about celebrating dad and 87 years of good health and being a great dad and we’re gonna have a great hunt.
GLEN: I appreciate the build-up.
GRANT: As we settled in the blind, I was praying for God to bless us with a nice hunt and, hopefully, even see some deer.
GRANT: We hadn’t been in the blind long and, sure enough, spotted a deer.
GRANT: A little later, we spotted a buck about 100 yards away and was feeding toward the blind. I can remember watching dad and he was just as excited as his first hunt. I remember being with him. He was tightening up on that crossbow and shifting around trying to get ready for the shot.
GRANT: I was soaking in every moment and as soon as the arrow left, I knew it was going high and I also knew it’d be okay.
GRANT: (Whispering) You were high.
GRANT: The buck ran off for another day. Dad smiled and let me know once again it’s all okay. Dad’s smile has healed many wounds in my life.
GRANT: During the past few months, I spent a lot of time with Pops. And on February 14th, I knew it was getting close and I spent the day and the night with Pops. About 2:30 a.m., my dad became unresponsive.
GRANT: I continued holding his hand, washing his face and wetting his lips. He remained unresponsive throughout the night but not showing any signs of being in pain. I doubt my Pops would have.
GRANT: During the morning, my oldest sister and my mother joined Pops and I.
GRANT: Mom was holding dad’s hand and talking to him. I’m sorry. Mom was holding dad’s hand and talking to him when all of the sudden, dad got that smile that lets us know everything’s okay.
GRANT: This was shocking because my dad had not moved anything in hours. My sister said, “Dad. What are you seeing? Are you seeing Jesus?” My dad turned his head slightly toward my mom; smiled hugely once again and passed.
GRANT: Once again, my dad’s strong smile comforted the family and let us all know everything’s okay.
GRANT: My dad’s passing has left a hole in my life that won't be filled. But as always, dad took care of his family and as a young man, dad accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. He took my mother to church where she accepted Christ and then the rest of the family. Of the many gifts my father gave his family, accepting Christ and leading his family to Christ was the greatest.
GRANT: I was blessed with a great earthly father. And I realize not everyone shares that same blessing. But we all share the blessing of having a perfect Heavenly Father. My father would want you to know and accept Christ as your Savior. He would want you to lead your family to know Christ.
GRANT: My family and I and the entire GrowingDeer Team are extremely thankful for the thousands of notes, emails, texts of condolences, prayers and well wishes we’ve received. My father would be honored if you would take some time to take one of your friends or loved ones outside and enjoy Creation. And remember, that strong smile can make everything better. Most importantly, he’d want you to share the Creator’s love with those you know. As part of the celebration of my dad’s life, I hope each of y'all will take some time and enjoy Creation. Share it with someone close to you. But most importantly, slow down every day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
GLEN: All right. Yeah. That is wonderful, son. That’s a good deer.
GRANT: That’s a very good deer.
GLEN: Yeah. Yeah.
GLEN: Uh. The wind was right for it and, uh, we set there and the wind blowing in our face and, and uh, had a good time, but that’s the only deer we seen. So, uh, when he come by (Inaudible) get him. And we did.