Few things can bond a group of people like an annual hunting trip. And so it was with the Thorne Brothers; David and Rob, who along with friends made an annual trip from Central New York to Nebraska and Missouri for some White Tail hunting.

David from Alder Creek, shared the story of their final camp when he entered our Trophy Room contest. Since the age of 18, his brother, Rob had been an avid hunter, member of the Air Force and all around outdoors-man. About 2 years ago, Rob was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. Surgeries, treatments and even a trip to Mexico for experimental answers brought little positive results. As he began to rapidly decline, Rob's final wish was one more trip to enjoy mother nature at her finest. Family and friends from 8 different states gathered for one final camp knowing how the story would end.

The annual trip wouldn't be easy for anyone, let alone a man in Rob's condition. Gear was packed in boats for trips across the river, ladders had to be used to traverse the banks even sleeping in the beds of trucks. And of course it would be bitterly cold, why wouldn't it be. But from the very beginning Rob made it clear that he didn't want to be catered or treated special. And it wasn't about the deer this year, it was about family, friends and making memories. David says you could see the exhaustion and hurt in Rob at the end of each day, but he wasn't stopping no matter the weather, no matter the pain.

The lack of deer sightings wasn't making things any easier either. There were just a couple of days left in the trip, it was Saturday morning and the winds were 30 miles an hour but as you know by now, this wasn't stopping Rob. He and David packed up the gear, took the boat across the river, pushed Rob up the banks and "took the slow, long walk to the blind." They sat for hours talking about life and watching mother nature. Coyotes went by, hawks, a bald eagle and several bucks and does could be seen in the distance.

David says as they watched the deer, a buck finally mounted a doe and you could tell Rob was "seeing things through new eyes." Finally the buck got close enough, Rob was so weak, he had to use a gun stick to steady the gun. He squeezed off the shot and the buck spun and hit the ground. They both started crying, hollering and hugging.

The buck was an 8 pointer not the biggest of Rob's illustrious hunting career, but David and his Dad insisted they get it mounted. They packed up camp the next morning and headed straight to the taxidermist. David explained their story and the taxidermy shop said maybe Santa could bring them a present for the holidays.

On Thanksgiving day the family got the call, Rob had taken a turn for the worse and was non responsive. Whether it was Rob's fighting spirit or an act of God, the mounted 8 pointer arrived on November 27th and they took it to Rob. He opened his eyes to take a look and it was quite possibly the last thing he was saw. Dennis Robert Thorne, "Rob" passed away the next day.

SOURCE:David Thorne

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