One of the ways that I earn Christmas money for the Burkhead household is by serving as the play-by-play voice of the local high school football team, the Yellow Jackets.
Friday Night Lights, North Texas style.
Recently, literal moments before beginning the radio broadcast of the Jackets’ 112th encounter against their arch rivals the Bearcats, my Blackberry buzzed.
In late October, that could only mean a couple of things.
Either our broadcast feed had been suddenly cut off.
Or someone had knocked over a pile of big buck head-bones.
One glance at the “Caller ID” confirmed the latter as I received a text from my bowhunting brother Casey Ingold, an arrow slinging pastor from Topeka, Kansas.
The message: “I just shot a MONSTER!!!!!”
By halftime on a storm-filled autumn evening, Ingold had sent the visual proof showing a big Kansas bruiser in more ways than one.
Along with the details of one of the more unusual hunting stories that I’ve every heard.
It seems that after a hectic week of tending his family and his flock, this pulpit version of Team Realtree’s David Blanton had decided to make a late afternoon visit to a nearby farm where he had a couple of stands hanging.
But a chance encounter with the land-owning farmer – and the empty yawn of the Ingold family freezer – changed any plans that the “Sermonator” might have had for the evening.
“Any luck Casey?” queried the farmer.
“Nope, not yet,” replied the right reverend. “Been real busy this week. You know, I’d be satisfied with just a doe this evening.”
Upon hearing that, the farmer informed Casey that he had seen a few does easing past his barn a couple of times over the past several evenings.
“You might sit down there at the barn and see if they happen to come by again.”
After all, as the New Testament tells us, with faith in Christ the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains.
Or maybe even fill a freezer with succulent venison steaks and backstrap.
So Ingold quickly exchanged his previous plans for a sit in a high hanging treestand for a now lengthy wait upon a lowly hunting stool.
A while later, Ingold was questioning his decision and growing a bit restless after no does had appeared.
But that suddenly didn’t matter anymore as my pal spied a terrific buck on the horizon.
Slowly, surely, the hefty buck sauntered his way a couple of hundred yards in the direction of the still disbelieving preacher.
Oh yee of little faith Brother Ingold.
But when the huge buck finally eased into bow range, my doubting Thomas preacher friend drew his bow in the shadowy recesses of the biggest box blind this side of Canada.
And when the buck paused within shooting range, Ingold sent the broadhead tipped meat missile crashing home.
An hour later, the Kansas man of the cloth stood excitedly beside the final resting place of a 150-class Pope & Young buck, his second in as many years.
A basic 10-point with a split brow tine, Ingold’s buck was big in the antlers and huge on the scales.
Ingold – who is a big fella in his own right – estimated the buck’s live weight somewhere between 275 and 300 pounds.
More like a side of beef than a couple of sides of venison.
But what else do you expect from a story about a bowhunting preacher hunting out of a big red ground blind…err, a barn?
And that’s no Double Bull either.
So what’s the tagged out preacher going to do now?
Watch the “Outdoor Channel” it sounds like.
“I hunted a total of one hour this year and I’m done,” Ingold said. “But I’m not complaining…for now.”
After two Pope&Young entries in as many October’s in the land of Oz and big whitetails, I would certainly hope not.
By the way bro, save me a spot in that barn for next season.
After the home team took a shellacking in the Battle of the Axe, all I’ve got to say is that I like your version of Friday Night Lights a little bit better than mine.
Because the Kansas version of FNL is a bright flashlight beam casting its LED glow on the gleaming antlers of a really big buck with a 150-inches plus of headbone.
Put that up on the scoreboard.