MonsterMuleys.com

"Jack the Barber"
Written by Larry Pasero Jr.

It was opening day, 2003, in Colorado, we were hunting up a canyon in the truck, eyes peeled, trudging along in the fresh fallen snow, trying to make our way to the tops to hunt out the ridges. As we made it around a bend I saw a figure dressed in orange from head to toe. He was obviously working diligently on a buck in the chest high sage.

My brother Jason, buddy, Rich, and I came to a stop and whistled at an older man taking a knee over his buck 50 yards off the road. Always enjoying seeing a harvested buck, we piled out and off we went to lend a hand. As we approached this man, I could see his hands shaking as he folded his buck knife, he wore a grin from ear to ear and could hardly put together a sentence as his deep searching breaths interrupted his excited thoughts. Hidden behind his thick glasses was a twinkle in his eye. His cheeks were glowing red. He pointed to a distant draw and told about the group of bucks he jumped. I tried to steal a quick glance out of the corner of my eye. Based on Jack's enthusiasm, I was fully prepared to see lots of bone stacked on this bucks head, instead I found almost 7 inches barely forked. I offered my congratulations and offered a hand getting the buck down to the road.

Jack, as we learned was on a hunt all the way from Michigan. A career Barber (45 years) had just realized his dream; he killed a muley on opening day. He didn't care about the rack, all that mattered was that he succeeded and accomplished something he set out to do. He said he had waited his whole life for this. As the three off us easily dragged the yearling back to the road with Jack following behind, I had a great feeling of camaraderie and warmth.

Jack the Barber
Jack "The Barber" with his 2003 Colorado Trophy
We took some photos for Jack as he had forgotten his camera. As he smiled from ear to ear, oozing excitement and satisfaction, I couldn't help but think of what hunting is really about. I offered Jack a soda and some goldfish crackers as he jotted his address so we could send him his pictures. I looked at my brother, a second year hunter himself, and saw in his eyes the same feelings I was having. I could've gone home that day, after meeting "Jack the Barber". Heck, my trip was complete.

We loaded up and left Jack, continuing to our own dreams and adventures. Then my brother broke the mesmerizing silence. "Not to sound corny, but that made me feel all warm and fuzzy, helping him out". I shot back quick, hoping not to let my own feeling get away, "That's what it's all about". At that moment I felt proud, I knew the three of us understood the magnitude of the moment. We were more than just three jerks from California on an out of state hunt. We're men, sportsmen; we're muley hunters. We all said some nice stuff about meeting Jack, and once again it fell silent as we bumped down the road and returned to our thoughts. There was an air of content, calmness, and satisfaction. Success.

Often, folks apologize when they show a picture of a "Forky" or a small 3x3. Why? Maybe it takes meeting a "Jack the Barber", to realize how lucky we are to share the dream and chase monster muleys. Success can't and shouldn't be measured by the headgear. The journey and obstacles we overcome offer the challenge and create the prize we all grind for. Jack had waited 30 years for that moment, and he looked all of 7 years old, wearing that proud smile, almost tears in his eyes. I hope someday all of us have that moment. That magical instant when you're living in a moment you would die for, when you know, this is as good as it gets.

Soak it up; it's the good stuff