Egger ‘one-ups’ son in Big Buck Bonanza

12-point by Josh Egger.

Hunting in Warren County is more often than not a family affair.

A sport passed down from fathers to sons… mothers to daughters.

Josh Egger’s been hunting for over 30 years; first hunting with his father, Jim, and now hunting with his 17-year-old son, Andrew.

“Any kid around Warren, growing up, you start hunting when you are 12,” said Josh. Then you have your own kids, and you start taking your kids out.”

After all these years, Josh admits this may be the family’s best season yet.

“I usually hunt with my son,” he said. “I’ve shot several smaller (eight-points) the last six or seven years. He gets the first shot. (This year,) he shot a 10-point the first day.

“This year, I’d rather be lucky than good,” said Josh, who will be awarded a prize by Tall Tales Sporting Goods, co-sponsors of the Times Observer’s Big Buck Bonanza contest.

There were several hefty entries, including a gigantic 11-point, but Egger’s story measured up.

Two days after going out with his son, Egger “went for a walk that Wednesday with his gun,” he said. No real plan, or focus.

He climbed on top of this big rocky area — that sits in a valley he and his son have hunted many times before.

That’s when he bagged a 12-point buck (19-1/4-inch outside spread/17-1/2-inch inside spread, and close to 200 pounds)… a couple hundred yards from where his son had shot his two days prior.

Andrew Egger’s 10-point was the biggest buck he’d ever shot, and when he found out about his father’s 12-point, he quipped, “You had to go and one-up me, didn’t you?”

A family affair, Andrew wasn’t Josh’s first phone call.

“I was so excited as soon as it happened, I couldn’t even walk up to him yet,” said Josh. “I called my wife (Jen); she was at work, and told her, ‘I just shot a freakin’ giant.'”

It’s true that Josh was surprised.

“I’ve gotten pictures of some good ones (in that area),” he said. “I have tree stands in this area, but I’ve never gotten a picture of this deer. I had never gotten a picture of my son’s deer, either. That was his biggest deer.”

His wife has gone out with Josh checking cameras and scouting, “but not hunting… yet,” he said. “Maybe when the kids go off to college!”

On this day, Josh was two miles from his truck, so his second phone call was to his father.

“I drug him about a quarter-mile out, then waited for the deer cart,” said Egger.

His father, a friend, Norm, from Canada, and Brian Fuller helped Josh get him out.

His son wanted to skip school to help him, but had college applications to fill out that day, so dad wasn’t about to let him skip out.

It was a family affair, no matter.

“Deer hunting, this year, was by far our best season, with my son and I both shooting big bucks with rifles,” he said.