Best Buck of the Season

A recent rainy afternoon reminded me of a day with similar weather last fall. I had been hunting a particular deer all season, having seen him in August behind the house in a bean field. I got several photos of him on my trail cam in October, and once my hunting partner had him come over 300 yards across my field. He stopped 30 yards away in a spot where he couldn’t get a clear shot, only to be spooked by a loud noise from a worker at a nearby house. I thought this deer had ben shot when reports came that a buck matching the same description was wounded two farms to the east of mine. Later, I saw that deer with a slight limp and thought it was the one I’d been watching.

One week later, we heard they had killed the wounded buck and my hopes tanked. Two days before Thanksgiving, I moved to an area seldom hunted in hopes of finding something I had not seen all season. As soon as I got up in the stand, I saw this 10 pointer, an exact twin of the one shot earlier. I was able to grunt and bleat to him and have him close the distance from 70 to 13 yards, directly downwind and behind a tree. He winded me and bolted to 30 yards where I proceeded to bounce an arrow off of three or four trees and almost fell out of my tree.

After that I didn’t see him until the second Saturday of firearms season at 200 yards. The next Monday night he came as close as 45 yards and finally Tuesday, with the rain hiding my scent, I moved in on him and was able to get a 20-yard shot as he moved through a transition area before he got to the field.

My confidence grew when more than 20 does and small bucks moved past me and fed downwind at 50 to 75 yards. Finally, a chip shot after a wet wait and he was on the ground in sight of me. I had not taped him yet but the other deer scored 148 and this one was at least that big.

Targeting a single buck and hunting him throughout the season, then finally scoring is a satisfying reward. It would have been a very successful season if I had not shot him, but this is the best. And to top it all off, my good friend Casey Owings came over to help me load him and wouldn’t even let me gut him. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The best buck of the season

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