Jacob Zamira is an Army veteran who bravely served his country around the time of the war in Bosnia and finished his tour just before the first Gulf War. Jacob suffers with a paralyzing disease that’s eating away at his sight and mobility. It was his wish that he get to hunt with his 8-year-old son, Timothy, before it was too late for him to be part of that great experience in his son’s life.
Tim Schoen, president of the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation-Heart of Texas Chapter, received Jacob’s special request in December 2009. After finding out all the details, the chapter went to work on finding a ranch to sponsor the special hunt. You see, this was not just a request for a father to get a hunt for his son, it was a wish to go on a first-time hunt with his son, one that could possibly be his first and last opportunity to hunt with his son.
As the chapter’s Youth Director, I found a perfect ranch to sponsor the hunt for the Zamiras. When I told Jerry Ellis, ranch manger for the Fojtasek Ranch, about Jacob’s wish, Jerry could not wait to be a part of the hunt. The dates were set for the hunt, Jan. 8-10, 2010. Jerry spent countless hours scouting for the perfect buck on the ranch for the father-son hunt and patterned a 145- to 150-class whitetail for young Timothy to take.
Tim, Jacob, Timothy, and I arrived at the ranch late Friday evening and got settled in for the following Saturday morning hunt. Jerry met Jacob and Timothy at 6 a.m. Saturday morning and took them to the blind where they would be hunting. A cold front had blown in earlier in the week and temperatures fell in Central Texas to single digits and continued to stay cold throughout the weekend.
They saw a lot of young bucks that morning and a small band of fallow deer, but the big nine-point they were after did not show. The afternoon hunt went about the same. The fallow deer had run the big nine out of the area and a new game plan had to be made. During supper that evening, Jerry asked, “Larry, I know you all would like for Timothy to take a whitetail buck, but that white fallow buck has them all spooked.” Jerry said, “You think it would be alright for Timothy to take that fallow buck?” I said, “Are you kidding—that would be a trophy of a lifetime for this young hunter and a father’s wish come true.”
Jerry asked Jacob and Timothy if that would be OK with them to take the fallow buck. You should have seen their reaction. They could not even imagine in their wildest dreams of getting a chance at such a trophy animal.
The stage was set Sunday morning to try and take the huge white fallow buck. Jerry, Jacob, and Timothy got to the stand just before sun up and settled in for the hunt. It was not long before the whitetail bucks started coming into the area. And just like the previous two hunts, the huge fallow buck showed up and ran them off.
Jerry instructed Timothy to get ready to take the fallow buck when he turned for a good broadside shot. The buck finally settled down to a casual eating pattern and gave Timothy a perfect 70-yard shot. Timothy stood up and put the crosshairs of his .223 rifle square on the bucks shoulder and squeezed the trigger. His dad’s wish came true as the white fallow buck dropped straight down.
When everyone returned to camp, Tim and I could not hold back the emotions we felt for this father-son experience. Nothing in the world could have touched us more than seeing Jacob’s joyful tears and Timothy’s beaming smile as they posed together for pictures with their magnificent trophy. The chapter would like to thank Jerry Ellis and the fine folks of the Fojtasek Ranch for making Jacob’s and Timothy’s dreams come true. We’ll treasure this experience always and also want to thank Jacob and Timothy for letting us be a part of their special hunt.
At our May 2010 banquet during the trophy mount presentation to young Timothy, he made his own wish. With tears coming down, he wished his father could go on a hunt and be the hunter. As soon as Jerry heard those tearful words, he invited the Zamiras back to the ranch to make Timothy’s wish come. This time Jacob will be the hunter in pursuit of a trophy black buck antelope that the ranch is renowned for.
Timothy spent the rest of the evening making little thank you notes and brought them to Jerry, Tim, and me. Every time he gave one to us during the banquet, it was very hard for us to hold our tears back. Timothy and Jacob have touched our lives deeply and we will remember that experience forever.