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Show and tell takes on a new meaning

Ambrose "Bruce" Blaeser shared his story of a horn heist and recovery with kindergartners at Nevis School this past week. His father's 73-year old antlers were stolen and thoughtfully returned by an unidentified citizen. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

Over the past few years, the Dock Talk column has always had a connection to fishing.

However, Dock Talk is temporarily, for one week, converted to Deer Talk.

I'm not an avid hunter, even though I've spent numerous hours in the woods and wetlands in my lifetime. But sometimes a story so interesting emerges you can't help but to share it.

Each year, when hunting season arrives, the kindergartners in my classroom gain enthusiasm. Not that of day to day five and six-year-old energy or the excitement of Christmas, Halloween or a full moon, but an intrinsic interest in what many of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles participate in for two weekends and the days in-between; deer season.

This is truly an educational opportunity. We talk about the vocabulary words fawn, doe and buck and inevitably the term "pointer" comes up. It's a Northwoods math lesson. Count how many points the buck has on each side, then add them up, how many do they have in all?

Sure, a true "turdy-pointer", the song of which they hear often on the radio waves of the school bus might be difficult to tally.

Yet the typical four, six, eight and trophy ten pointers are easier to add.

Show and tell in November is often graced by a proud student showing off their parent's antlers from the 2010 season, years gone by or from shed hunting. Simply stated, kids are interested in antlers.

Every Wednesday a volunteer enters our classroom, one who's experienced education, a good share of life and plenty of deer hunting. Ambrose "Bruce" Blaeser, once crowned Hubbard County's Outstanding Senior, shares his time, patience and wisdom with our class each week.

When I mentioned the elevated interest in deer to Bruce, he agreed to bring in some of his "racks" to show the kids the following week. Little did he know he'd be bringing in more than a hunting story.

Seventy-three years ago, when Blaeser was 5-years-old, his father shot a 10-point buck with a beautiful rack near Ray.

For decades, Blaeser displayed his father's trophy antlers on the interior wall of his garage, along with his own buck, moose and mule deer antlers.

But several years ago someone broke into his garage which sits near Highway 64 and stole several sets of antlers. Nothing else, just horns.

Blaeser says his first thought upon discovering the abducted antler collection was that, "I really hated to lose my dad's set of horns." Even his missing 1999 state record 9-point non-typical rack didn't bother him as much.

Then on Thursday, Nov. 11, a man knocked on Blaeser's door and said, "I heard the story about the missing antlers and I wanted to bring these back, the people who took them are no longer around."

Even though the other sets of antlers are still missing, Blaeser remains thankful. "Those were the only ones I truly cared to have back."

The series of events brought an entirely new level of interest to kindergarten's "show-and-tell!"