The year was 2006, and I entered deer season with no more expectation than any other year. I had failed to consider, though, one serious ace in my corner. Or, more aptly, a shirtpocket hitchhiker in the form of a tiny green tree frog.
As luck would have it, the season turned out to be my best ever, starting with a slammer 140-class 11-pointer I shot with my muzzlestuffer.
I would put a lot more bucks on the carpet over the years with that tiny green tree frog in my shirtpocket, the most recent being the monster 8-pointer I shot in Manitoba this year.
The frog brought similar luck on the ponds, affording me several four and even a few five-pound class brookies.
Afterward, it became tradition to photograph the tiny green tree frog with my trophy - perched atop fin, feather or fur, whichever happened to be the quarry of the day.
Needless to say, my magic tree frog quickly became the envy of my chums at hunting camp.
So much so, they began trying to mimic the good luck charm, showing up at camp with assorted items of their own.
There was Harold with his worn teddy bear from preschool. Mike and his collection of Star Wars bobble head figures.
Then Bob showed up wearing his youngest son's water wings.
Oh how we chuckled.
My ex-wife even reported a late-night prowler going through her curbside trash receptacle, hoping my daughter had discarded something lucky ... anything.
A lollipop stick. A hair tie. A half eaten apple.
All he got, though, was a backside full of rock salt. I knew teaching her to shoot would come in handy someday. Lucky for me, it was after we parted ways.
But, back to the lucky frog.
I'm not sure how the tiny green tree frog first landed in my daughter's possession.