Ok, so here is the story with my first buck, on my first real outing as a deer hunter.
Get up at about 4:30 on Saturday morning, take a quick shower, eat some breakfast and realize that I am hungover. So I slam a lot of water, a monster, and continue getting ready. Finally we are all geared up and ready to head out, esp as I have the furthest to go, as I am in the most remote field. Drive as far as we are willing to drive, but that still left me with not far under a mile to walk, full gear, chair, side arm, rifle, binocs and no free hand to grab my flashlight. I end up making it to my “stand”, which is a 20 year old metal structure about 4-5’ off the ground that we had just put a new 4’ wide, 7’ long reinforcing plank of wood on top of. Cool part is, it was the only stand we tried to name as we found a young deer skull right next to it, Skull Stand. The field of view was almost too much as I had around 270 degrees of view to watch, furthest out was about 200 yards.
It was a very foggy morning so it took some time before I saw anything. Of course being first time, on my own, and at the beginning of fall, I was convinced every leaf falling was something. Eventually I just happened to turn my head around and saw a lone doe going over the ridge behind me. About 30 minutes later, way off in the woods I caught a fleeting glimpse of a large buck running as fast as he could. Then it was me, the loud crows and a bunch of unruly squirrels. Then a very young spike came out, walked to within 50 yards of me. Blood was pounding, had him in my sights, no matter how bad I wanted to, I couldn’t justify shooting one that young. Eventually he either smelled me or something, but he finally bolted, got to watching him jumping and sprinting off the entire length of the field. About this time the sun was burning off the fog and I was facing it, so I knew my morning was done. Left most of the gear, grabbed the rifle and walked the woods for about 45 minutes. Ungodly beautiful, still chased by unruly squirrels, found hog signs, tons of deer tracks, and even some trees that the bucks had been rubbing.
Went back out that afternoon and got to my stand around 3:45. And there was nothing for well over an hour except those same damned squirrels. Then of all places, down wind of my stinky, stinky self, I see two does drinking from the one small view I have of the tiny creek. They were some 200 yards away, in the middle of trees and took off. Then I turned and saw nothing but a rack coming up, it was a buck walking up to me, I was freaking out trying to quietly get in position when he turned and disappeared behind a tree. I waited and waited, got more in position and he never appeared. Slowly calmed down and started checking out other directions, then about 15 minutes later, here he comes walking towards me again at about 80 yards, saw the rack and it was wide enough to legally shoot(minimum 13” inside spread). Slowly I regain my shooting position, which was basically seated, elbow resting on knee, that foot wedged on other foot. SOB, walked straight in front of me at less then 20 yards, solid movement, so I kept the cross hairs there, then right as his front leg went forward I pulled the trigger. Saw him leap up and tear off. I knew I hit him but was convinced it was bad shot. Seconds later, I hear a big commotion in the direction he went off at, and my squirrels started screaming. Jumped out of the stand, and there was his friend, a 4 point, very young, just staring at me, 5 minutes we looked right at each other, adrenaline was still in me, so I moved first, he tore off.
Grabbed the rifle, chambered another round, grabbed the shell and walked to where he was when I shot him. Saw no blood anywhere, felt even worse. Kept walking slowly, looking for blood, all while the squirrels kept screaming. 15 yards later I round a corner, there he was. My buck, a 6 pointer, just over 13” inside spread, around 120lbs, perfect placement right behind that leg right through both lungs, barely messing up any of that wonderful meat. Then came the hour long wait until the sun went down, the other hunters could get to a truck and come get me. It was really lonely when the entire tree line opened up with the sounds of coyotes up and down it, my radio could speak to their radios, while they couldn’t speak to mine.
One of the most fun weekends I have had in a long, long time. After learning how to dress, skin and quarter him, I was able to sit back with a fat cigar and several beers