Freshman hunts down ‘dream buck’
Jacob Ostermeyer grew tired of waiting for deer on his hunting expedition, so he decided to grab some food.
As the Tonganoxie High freshman bit into a doughnut, a 16-point, non-typical buck appeared out of nowhere at a park near Osage City.
So much for the doughnut.
"When my dad said, 'Here comes a buck,' I bit the little powder doughnut," Ostermeyer said. "The other half fell to the ground."
Ostermeyer and his father, Keith, kept extremely still so the buck wouldn't recognize their presence. Ostermeyer wanted to keep so quiet that he still hadn't swallowed the half of the doughnut that remained in his mouth.
Nonetheless, Keith gave his son an opportunity at hunting glory, around 8:30 a.m. Dec. 2.
"He had me get the gun out and we went down a hill," Ostermeyer recalled. "After I took a shot, I started gagging on this doughnut. My dad got out a Mountain Dew and I drank that down. Then, I started shaking. People call that buck fever."
At first, Ostermeyer didn't know if he fired a successful shot. After all, the buck was about 65 yards away from him. Ostermeyer decided to walk out and look for the remains of his shot.
At first, signs weren't exactly pointing in Ostermeyer's favor. He said Keith thought he missed.
"I was pretty confident when I shot him," Ostermeyer said. "But there was no blood, no hair, nothing. I started panicking that I missed, so I went toward where he ran."
The buck ran about 60 yards after Ostermeyer fired. Furthermore, that Sunday presented extremely windy conditions at the park. Small remains that might have led to the buck could have been eliminated by the wind.
Then, Ostermeyer noticed a part of the field that had been recently mowed.
"It didn't take more than 10 steps after that and I found him," Ostermeyer said. "He was down. I went back and got my dad."
One shot, from 65 yards away: Pretty impressive for a 15-year-old, who said he had been hunting for seven years and deer hunting for three years.
"My dad said I shot his dream buck," Ostermeyer said. "Then, my dad happy danced."
The Ostermeyers took the buck to Cabela's in the Village West shopping district in Kansas City, Kan., for a weigh-in. Ostermeyer knew the exact, albeit straightforward and blunt, figures off the top of his head.
"Without guts, it weighed 173 pounds," he said. "With guts, it was estimated at 203."
The antlers were 178 inches long. At the time, Cabela's told Ostermeyer it was the third-largest deer to be brought in from Kansas or Missouri in 2007. Furthermore, it was the largest deer brought in by a youth, which consists of individuals 16 years of age and under.
"I'm getting it mounted at my uncle's house," Ostermeyer said of his uncle, Brent Noel, who lives in Overland Park. "But I have the antlers at home."
In fact, Noel is in the process of teaching Ostermeyer taxidermy, the art of mounting animals for display. Noel has taught Ostermeyer how to mount turkeys and ducks. Deer are next on the list.
Hunting becomes secondary
Hunting is Ostermeyer's main hobby. He's proven his talent.
Truth be told, hunting is way down on the list of family priorities, though.
What's even more remarkable about Ostermeyer's story is the fact that he was diagnosed with Glomerulonephritis, an immune-mediated kidney (renal) disease, in 2002.
He will see a specialist for kidney dialysis on Jan. 4, 2008, at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. The dialysis will utilize machines and medicine to carry out the functions that the kidney would typically be responsible for.
Ostermeyer is still waiting to get a kidney transplant. Melissa Ostermeyer, Jabob's mother, said because of the shortage of organ donors, individuals in worse situations than Jacob are given transplants first.
"It's a matter of waiting your turn and unfortunately waiting until a life or death situation," Melissa said. "I knew one lady who lived on dialysis for two or three years. A lot depends on how the body responds to medical treatment."
Once he gets a transplant, Ostermeyer won't be hunting too much.
"Let's just say he won't be lugging a gun and marching around any muddy fields," Melissa said.
Ostermeyer has had to give up pop and has to eat low-sodium and low-phosphorus foods.
"It's going to be hard to keep him down," Melissa said. "He's looked at me and said 'I'm not staying down.'"