We all know that one guy, that despite all your scrutiny, you just cannot find a single thing to dislike about them. He is the guy always inviting you hunting or fishing, where your personal experience and success is much more important to him, than his own. He is the guy who calls in your turkey, or runs the motor of the boat, so you get the first cast into the premium spots. I am privileged to have a friend such as this, his name is Pat McVey.
Pat had hosted and invited me on turkey hunting trips for 8 years before finally agreeing and arranging to accompany me on a deer archery trip. We headed up to my northern Missouri farm on November 3rd. The weather forecast wasn't terribly promising, as the full moon phases were playing havoc with the deer feeding patterns.
This particular farm has seen its share of success with 1st time bow harvest, two of my friends tagged out in 2014, and Jeff Roberge from Field and Stream, harvested his 1st buck last season. If our SpyPoint camera activity was any indicator, I felt very confident in our chances this weekend. After all the years of Pat "guiding" me, I was finally able to reciprocate to give him a chance to make it happen.
Friday morning came way too early and we made ready for a long hunting day. I had picked out stands at opposite ends of a 23 acre CRP field, with a food plot strategically placed in the middle. We had a 5 mph wind out of the SouthEast, which made these stands a perfect location to hunt. As the sun arose in the east, I was reminder of nature's beauty and eloquence of which we as hunters, are privileged to experience. The sun quickly burnt off the morning dew and haze and presented a perfect day to be in a stand.
Early morning had deer movement deeper in the woods, but nothing had migrated to the field to feed. . My goal was to shoot a doe for meat, and hope a nice mature buck happened to Pat. After a couple of hours, a solitary deer made its way directly to my stand. At 50 yards, I drew my Prime bow and settled in for the deer to makes its way into a shooting lane. My arrow flew true, and everything following went exactly to plan, the mule kick, the death run, the stop and wobble, and finally it fell like a drunken college freshman.
Immediately I received a text #1 from Pat stating "that was really cool, I watched the entire thing through my binoculars". While responding, two deer enter the field in between Pat and I. I watched the lead doe migrating south, directly in path to Pat's stand. I am thinking, this is going to happen right in front of my eyes. As she neared, I hear the "twang" of his arrow flying....she jumps quite startled and then continues directly towards his stand. I hear another "twang" and she bolts off the property in a hurry.
Text #2..."Missed, TWICE". Now when this happens to most hunters, we tend to beat ourselves up and feel down in the dumps. We tend to doubt our abilities, but not Pat, he is even more determined to close the deal on his first deer. We moved to another farm later that day, and the conversation could not have been more positive, Pat was like a kid in a candy store. We hunted all day Saturday, and while we saw multiple deer, nothing came into bow range.
After lengthy deliberation on the way home, we decided he really needed to upgrade his bow as this was the cause of the missed opportunity. So Sunday afternoon, we picked up a new bow for him to begin practicing with, for next season.
This is where the story takes a sad and somber turn. While driving home from work on the next Wednesday afternoon, Pat was tragically shot and murdered in his vehicle on Highway 55 in St. Louis. As only Pat could, he somehow had the wherewithal to get his vehicle to the side of the road before he passed. He died slumped over in his vehicle for no apparent reason. As of Jan 10th, there are no leads or an arrest, in this senseless crime. At the funeral one of my friends summed up Pat's life with a very simple "I need to live my life, more like Pat lived his".
This has awoken a deeper appreciate within me, for those who so positively impact my life. We should, and cannot take for granted those people we call friends. I will forever remember and cherish this last hunt together. Pat will always be remembered for his gregarious disposition and the positive influence he had on so many lives. Rest In Peace, my friend..... appropriately, we have re-named the south stand in the 23 acre field to: "Pat's Stand" .
There is a significant reward in this case - See "View slideshow" for a picture of Pat.