Lost a friend.

Jack Terpack

Well-Known Member
I have been addicted to deer and deer hunting since I was 8 years old. That was the first time I remember my father and his brothers bringing home a couple deer they had harvested. I remember sitting on my grandmother’s huge front porch as they hung them from the rafters and began skinning them out. Grandma gave them a lot of static about how they were doing it. She had been butchering her own hogs and beef her entire life. They handed her the knife, and she went to work while they sat back and drank coffee and told stories. I was hooked and have been ever since.

My cousin Dave never hunted. When he came back from Vietnam, he was 19 and I was 18. I mentioned that I was going rabbit hunting the next morning and he asked if he could tag along. We ran down to the local hardware store and got him a license. He borrowed one of my shotguns and off we went. HE and I have been inseparable during hunting season ever since. When he retired, he bought 135 acres of useless land that was only good for deer hunting. That was about 12 years ago.

I live 600 miles away now but I hunt every year in Pennsylvania with him for at least two weeks. We talk about deer hunting constantly the rest of the year. HE ships pictures to me by the hundreds every week. He hates computers, and I have never been able to teach him how to operate one, so he sends the SD cards to me through the mail. Then we go over them while on the phone. It has become a ritual.

Last year he harvested the biggest buck we have ever taken on the property. It was our 50th year of hunting together. He keeps all his licenses and has them on a wall.

Thursday I got a call that Dave had passed away. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer about 5 months ago after having a seizure. This has been the worst 6 months of my life. You would think that, at the age of 69, the death of friend would not hurt as badly as it does. Death has taken all of the people that got me started in deer hunting. Dave an I were now the old timers.

I am going to Pittsburgh for his funeral this weekend. Today, I went out to sit in one of my stands here at home. I thought being out in the woods would ease the pain a little. As the sun came up, it looked rather mundane and drab. As the squirrels began moving through the leaves, their sounds did not get me at all excited. About 30 minutes ofter good light, two doe came sneaking through and I felt nothing. After about two hours I climbed down and slowly walked back to the house. There was no fun in any of it.

I hope this passes. Dave would not have wanted me to feel this way. I hope that by writing it down I can get it out of my system. I know I will miss him terribly, but life has to go on. Right now all I want to do is cry, and I have.

Hold on to the ones you love. They don’t last forever on this earth and they take a lot of joy with them when they are gone. At this moment, I have no desire to be in the woods. Dave would not be happy with me.
Thank you for sharing Jack. That helps me to keep things in perspective. I hope the love of the hunt comes back to you.

Remember, Dave will be looking over your shoulder and sharing the hunt with you.
I'm sorry for your loss Jack. While I think how lucky you were to have enjoyed fifty years with a great hunting buddy like Dave was to you, I know your pain. Dad was my hunting buddy and we enjoyed 60 years hunting together. When he went I enjoyed nothing for a while. Now a few years later I still think of him almost daily. I remember each and every great moment that we shared and each and every moment remembered brings a smile to my face. Keep on keeping on and the memories of Dave will bring smiles back in your life sooner than you think.
That hurts, Jack.
Ive lost a lot of hunting friends because they were my friend's dads and i grew up hunting around them. Ive got to be honest, hunting is different now than it used to be. Not in a bad way. Just different.
Those does will get you excited again someday. Im sure of it.
Prayers said for you.
We all only have one life to live. It sure sounds like your adventures together have been full of the kind of life some only dream of.

You will find him again. It just may take a little while of your searching. He will be there. Right by your side. In the woods.
This post has been on my mind since I first read it yesterday, because I can so relate to it. My friend’s name was Denny. Since losing his fight with emphysema in 2010, my drive to hunt has dwindled to the point that I only go out a time or two each season. I hunted his farm for twenty years or so, and as his health declined, he could no longer go to the woods, instead living vicariously through me, and the stories that I would bring in after sundown. God I miss that man. His nephew, who still owns the property generously let’s me hunt there, and though I still show up and hang a few stands, the ghosts of the past are still too near for the enjoyment to be the same.

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I totally feel your pain Jack. I lost my father 2 months ago tomorrow. We spent 40+ years together hunting the country, from Midwest whitetails to Elk, Muleys and Pronghorns in the Rockies. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I struggle to type this now.
This past weekend was my first trip to the farm in IL that Dad and I have been hunting together for several years now. It was difficult to say the least, but I managed to get in the woods and hunt. I know this is what he would have wanted me to do. I could feel his presence and I "talked" to him frequently. They say time heals....
Sorry for your loss. It took me a while to get the passion back after my mentor passed and when my boy went off to school. You have to find someone to mentor now and pass that legacy along. That is what Dave would want....you in the woods keeping those good times alive in stories and memories and teaching the next generation. It's what any of us would want. I'm not going to blow smoke - it will never be the same......however, you can re-kindle that passion.
Jack I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin Dave. He was more than a cousin and a friend, He was also a part of your life and now it must feel like a part of you is also gone. It's not. It's still there and he put it there for you. No one can ever take that away. This is your time to mourn and your sadness is a part of that mourning. It's ok to feel the way you do. It may never be the same but can still be good or even better than before. Dave will always be with you, maybe now more than ever.
Jack, you've been given some good advice in the posts above, and I have little to add to that. I've been through similar things myself and know that if I continue to live that I must face hard times again.

If there is a silver lining to the cloud (and they are hard to find at times like these) it's that you know what he would want you to do. So you can move forward with the attitude that you are not only continuing for yourself but also for him. You must also continue on for the younger generation to show them the right way. They are searching hard for someone to show them the way in this crazy life, and who better than a caring man like yourself with deep and pure emotions, who has his heart in the right place..... They will take direction from someone, but will it be the right someone, as you would be....

I wish you the best in your healing process and God's comfort.
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Sorry for your loss Jack. Hunting is a time to get out and clear the mind. I always think of the fun times and memories of those I used to hunt with while I am on stand. Get back in the saddle and enjoy the outdoors.
Sorry for your loss Jack. I have lost a couple at too young of age like that also. Last year one of my best was taken by cancer. You are right, regardless, it is just never the same. I haven't and can't hunt his property that I still have permission on. But I will say this, late last year after shooting my buck, I sat a long time in the cold with that deer thinking about him. Yes I missed the trapping, the hunting, the chewing the fat about women, deer, kids, and life. But as I started the long drag off the mountain in the snow, there is no doubt I heard him say with that plug tobacco, shit eatin grin of his," good hunt, good hunt". It will get better for you Jack.
Jack...So sorry for your loss. Hoping as time passes that you are able to sit on stand and roam the woods with a smile as you think about the moments and years you were able to share with your best buddy.
Jack, I’m sorry for your loss. Most of us have been there. Although it may take a while, find a way to honor those memories and continue to enjoy that which he’d want you to enjoy. I’ve spent lots of time thinking of my dad while hunting. I’ve found solace and come to believe I feel his presence. Time does heal the deepest pains. I believe you can shorten that time period by counting your blessings. I know of no better place to do it than the cathedral of the mountains, woods and waters while pursuing a passion the two of you shared together.

I am sorry for the loss of your relative and hunting buddy. This loss is different than what most of us experience. My dad and my cousin are the only two that would compare to your situation.

Each of us grieve in the manner and way that makes sense to us. I suggest you grieve and use that to begin your healing process. The hole you feel & sense in your gut will only get smaller over time but it will never go away.

You will have to return to the woods to heal - I have got to believe his spirit will be with you when you go to the same hunting spots. I just can't imagine he would want you to stop hunting. It will be a different process in the short run but you will return to a better state of mind.

My cousin suffered some months in the hospital and it made me cry when he told me he would not watch the hunting videos I brought him. It was then I realized he had put some things in order and had come to realize his time was near.

Jack do whatever you need to do in celebrating and honoring your best hunting buddy. I and my 39 year old son are going to Illinois on a week bow hunting trip tomorrow. I will be thinking and praying for you when I sit in the tree. God Bless friend.