On opening morning, John and Eli set up their stand at John's favorite hunting spot - the exact spot where Ben and Caleb had killed their first deer.
The day dawned rainy and foggy, a miserable day even by seasoned hunters' standards. Shortly after daylight, a deer wandered within range of the stand, but brush and fog kept them from getting a shot.
"We sat there for a couple of hours, and then we heard Ben shoot," John said. "He called and told us he had shot at a big buck. We went over to try to find any sort of sign that he'd hit it, and we finally determined that he'd missed."
John and Eli headed back to their stand and ate lunch.
"I could tell Eli was starting to get frustrated, and we discussed going back to the truck. He said he could hang in a little longer, though, so we stayed there," John said.
"Shortly after that, I got a text message from Ben. It said a couple of does were headed our way, but they were on the bench behind the stand and out of our view. I told Eli we should move up the hill to try to cut them off."
As soon as the two hunters crested the bench, the does came out of the brush toward them. Eli raised his rifle, and the does froze.
"About the time I heard the safety click off, one of the does raised its tail and got ready to bolt," John said. "That's when Eli pulled the trigger."
The doe dropped in its tracks.
And now, said John, the old rifle will sit idle until the next generation of Bone offspring grows ready to hunt. Then the legacy, now complete, will continue.