Anticipating little more than spending a few hours on his ladder stand, 63-year-old Don Hill probably really didn’t count on weighing-in an eight-point buck on the afternoon of November 19, 1993. Aloft and overlooking the acres of palmetto and scrub brush of northern Florida, listening to the wind whisper through the pines and feeling the autumn nip in the late-afternoon air, Hill could have watched a pair of jays on the wing, fox squirrels darting across a moss-laden limb or maybe a woodpecker rotating around the nearby tree tapping the bark for a meal. The forest rewards you one way or another, Hill would have thought.

His new .30/30 Winchester rifle resting across his upper legs, the retired Navy Chief Petty Officer from Orange Park, Fla., would likely have scanned the vast green-brown landscape of vegetation that surrounded him, perhaps suppressing a wide smile as his mind drifted to the realization of how fast his grandchildren were growing.

The Hill family will never know what Don’s thoughts were on that late afternoon, even as another