I’m not sure when a special friendship with my hunting club buddy, Mike Brister started.
We’ve been in the same club, Two Creeks in Jackson Parish, together for several years and although he has been helpful in getting my stands ready for deer hunting season, a genuine friendship was sealed during this last turkey season.
The morning of April 11 dawned cool and clear and I drove to our camp before dawn, planning to hunt alone when Brister drove up, we visited and began formulating plans for the morning. He was going to one spot to listen for a gobble; I was headed for a different spot further down the road, but as we drove away from camp, my old truck died.
Brister told me to grab my gear and come with him; we’d hunt together. Stopping to listen, we heard a gobbler on the roost, moved around to set up on him and long story short, Brister called in a big 22 pound gobbler and insisted that I take the shot. I’m not sure who was the most thrilled, Brister or me.
Fast forward to deer season this year. You can say what you want about smart phones and texting while hunting but on opening day of gun season, October 31, my phone came in handy. I was on my stand while Brister was on his not far away. Three does stepped out and I shot one that took off into a briar-laced thicket. Within a minute of the shot, Brister texted me. “Did you shoot?” I told him I had and it ran; he said he’d be there in a minute.
I found evidence of a good hit but lost the trail 100 yards into the thicket. Another long story short; Brister busted through the briars, located my deer and helped me load it.
In last week’s paper, you read about my having a chance at a really nice buck, a fine 8 point I dropped in his tracks. Brister was there within minutes to once again help me get the deer loaded up.
While we were getting my buck loaded, Brister confided in me that he had shot at a really big buck at nearly 300 yards and from all indications, he didn’t hit the deer. As he was photographing me and my buck, I couldn’t help but feel some pain for my friend; you just don’t get that many opportunities at a mature buck.
This past Saturday, I was on my stand and Brister went back to the box stand where he had missed the big buck. Just before 8:00, I heard a shot coming from the direction of his stand. I texted him and he told me the big buck had come out again and this time, he dropped him on the spot.
As fine a buck as mine was, Brister’s was better. The big 8 point sported a 19 inch inside spread with a beautiful heavy chocolate colored rack, a trophy in anybody’s book. As I photographed him and his big buck, I couldn’t have been more proud.
Mike Brister inherited his passion for hunting from his dad, Pete Brister, who instilled in him a love for hunting, especially chasing wild turkeys. As a teenager, the two of them were on a turkey hunt together when his dad unexpectedly had a massive heart attack and passed away.
This had a marked effect on Mike and he has been determined to keep his dad’s memory alive by passing along his dad’s love for hunting to his son, Lane, now a student at LA Tech. In fact, the week before he called in my gobbler for me this spring, he accomplished the same feat by calling one in for Lane, who shot the gobbler with Mike’s dad’s old shotgun.
During my long years of being a hunter, I have crossed paths with several fellow hunters who have meant a lot to me. There have been those who have helped me in a variety of ways, especially now that I’m older and it’s not as easy to fix stands, mow and trim shooting lanes and such as it used to be.
My buddy, Mike Brister, stands near the top of that list.
Glynn Harris outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden