I’m a member of several Facebook pages dedicated to a variety of subjects. About a week ago I noticed that a friend of mine had joined “Missouri Hunting”. One of Joey Kerperien’s first posts was about his great Uncle, Urban Teder, who took the first deer killed by a bow in St. Louis County in modern times, back in 1958. Joey expressed that he wants to hunt the same area where his great uncle took his buck.
I was intrigued by the story and the scans of the original newspaper article that accompanied it, so I contacted Joey. When I found out about the family traditions that were started by his Uncle Teder, I invited him to be the first ever guest blogger on A Different Drummer.
He agreed. Following is what he sent me.
Hunting has always played a huge part in my life. I have always enjoyed my time in the woods, but only recently have I begun to realize its full excitement. A few years ago I was with my wife, Amy, when she tagged her first deer. It was a doe, killed on her uncle’s farm. She will be quick to tell you it was larger than the eight point I killed the next day. Being able to teach and share my experience in the outdoors was better than shooting any deer. I have three girls now and was able to take my oldest, Karley, hunting the last three years. Practicing gun safety and marksmanship with her gave us quality time together I hope she remembers long after I’m gone. She has harvested two deer so far and being a part of those two hunts was more exciting than any solo hunt I’ve been on. What makes me the most proud is hearing her get excited about the meat she is providing for our family. She understands that knowing where your food comes from and what it takes to get it gives you a respect and appreciation for the animal.
Most everyone had a person who sparked their interest in the outdoors and my mentor was my dad, Steve Kerperien. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the stand with my feet stuck inside my dad’s coveralls as he tried to warm up my feet. Looking back I can’t believe he had me in those old homemade stands. I worry about my kids’ comfort and safety and we are usually hunting out of a ground blind now. I wondered why he bothered taking me out in the woods since I was always cold and tired. But when I shot my first deer the look on his face told me everything I needed to know about sharing your experiences in the woods. My first deer was a 12 point scoring 146. I will probably be chasing that mark the rest of my life. It was bigger than any deer my dad had shot and the look of jealousy and pride on his face is something I will never forget.
As I’ve grown and started a career and a family of my own, finding time to spend with dad is harder to do. Our mutual love of the outdoors gives us opportunities to spend a few weekends together every year chasing wild game or trying to catch a fish.
For the last 15 years a group of family and friends get together for backpacking, camping and hunting in the hills of the Ozarks during the winter and head to the lake for a catfishing tournament in the summer. The memories from these trips will last forever and have helped me understand the importance of what time and abilities God gives us.
My dad’s mentor was his uncle Urban Teder. He moved away from southeast Missouri to the St. Louis area for work and became an avid outdoorsman. My cousin, Jacob Daffron, showed me an article he had from 1958. It was about Uncle Urban and his bow kill in the first archery season in Missouri. He was able to take a large 140 class deer with his recurve bow at 6:05 am. The article said it was the first deer taken with a bow and arrow in St. Louis County (maybe Missouri) since the Native Americans. I am blessed to have family and friends that allow me to hunt close to my home, but I plan to make a trip to hunt the same area he harvested this deer. I reached out to a group of fellow hunters on Facebook and they have been very helpful in trying to make this trip successful.
Uncle Urban also hunted out west in Colorado and took my dad and some friends in 1973. This trip started a tradition in our community of Glennonville and someone has been to Colorado hunting the same mountain every year since. If you’ve never experienced hunting out west I can’t explain how amazing it is. If you ever get the opportunity to go, make it happen.
We lost Uncle Urban a few years back, but dad was fortunate enough to receive some of his hunting equipment. My dad now shoots Urban’s lever action .308 and I shoot dad’s .308 with bullets hand-loaded by my great uncle. We have been lucky enough to take deer with his bullets and it is something we take a lot of pride in.
Unfortunately Uncle Urban’s old recurve has a cracked limb. It would have been awesome to hunt with it.
I have really been lucky to be a part of such a rich hunting legacy.
All of us who hunt were led along the path by someone we admired and looked up to. We need to be sure to carry on their tradition and become involved, recruiting hunters. There is strength in numbers, but as most of you know hunting numbers are going down. As numbers drop so do funding and favorable legislation.
As hunters we need to support and respect each other. Whether someone chooses to hunt with a gun or bow, or chooses to chase mature animals, or just to fill the freezer, we need to stick together and provide non-hunters information on the importance and meaning of what we do. We aren’t just trying to hang horns on our wall; we are providing healthy food for our family. We care about the health and quality of our wildlife. We help generate billions of dollars and jobs that are used in conservation efforts.
My dad grew up in a time where there weren’t any deer in our area. If you saw a deer track it was a story you told people about. So he has seen what conservation efforts can do as long as they are supported by the public.
I’m not suggesting everyone must be a hunter. I’m suggesting that our hunting community let people know the respect we have for the animals and the importance and meaning of the hunt. It can be a job taking a new hunter out, but the rewards are worth it. If someone hadn’t put time in with you, think of all the memories you would have missed out on. So next time you are in the woods think of the people who helped you get to where you are now and who you can bring with you in the future.
The following article is transcribed from a clipping Joey provided, which was printed in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1958.
County Deer Killed by Bow, Arrow
A Carsonville bowman who took up archery only three months ago gave his teacher a lesson in the art yesterday morning when he killed what was said to be the first deer taken with a bow and arrow in St. Louis County since Indian days.
The archer is Urban J. Teder, 8651 Natural Bridge rd., who killed a 10-point buck on Steamboat Island in the Missouri River near Centaur, not far from the Daniel Boone bridge, at 6:05 a.m.
Mr. Teder shot the 210 pound animal with an arrow from a 50-pound pull Scherrinsky bow. He made the kill at a distance of 23 yards and the animal traveled 120 yards after the shot before falling.
It was Mr. Teder’s first deer and he bagged it in the presence of the man who taught him how to handle a bow, U. L. Mihlfeld, 5600 Country Day lane, Berkely.
Conservation Agent Dennis Connor reported the kill as the first taken with a bow and arrow in the county since the Conservation Commission opened an archery season on deer.
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(above) Urban Teder and the buck he took at 6:05 a.m. on the first day of Missouri’s first modern Archery Deer Season, in St. Louis County.
(below) The antlers from Urban’s buck are still in the Kerperien family.
(above) Joey Kerperien and his daughter Karley in the deer blind she shot her first deer from.
(below) Karley with the doe she took that year.
(above) Karley’s reaction to taking her first deer. Who can forget the excitement of a child taking her first deer?
(below) Joey and his wife, Amy, and Amy’s first deer.
(above) Joey’s first deer was also his largest to date, scoring 146 inches of antler.
(below) Joey with his first bow-killed buck. Kerperien hopes some day to hunt the same area where his great uncle Urban took his buck in 1958.
(above) Joey and his Dad, Steve, on the same Colorado mountain Uncle Urban took Steve to in 1973. Urban was Steve’s hunting mentor and he, in turn, mentored Joey. Joey is carrying on that tradition by mentoring his three children.
(below) Steve with his largest deer to date.
(below, left to right) Jacob Daffron, Dennis Kerperien, Steve Kerperien, and Joey Kerperien. Steve is Urban Teder’s nephew while the others are his great nephews. They carry on the tradition Urban started.