On Nov. 30, 2006, a fellow firefighter friend and I had decided to go to our deer-hunting lease on a very cold and snowy day. We had been hunting the evening before, but we were forced to leave early due to heavy rain. Apparently, the rain had turned to sleet and snow overnight. This made for tricky road conditions and uncomfortable hunting conditions.
We made our plans that evening, but I was reluctant to agree because of the foul weather. Personal preference aside, I met my friend, Randy, at our lease at 5 a.m. I didn’t have a truck at the time, so I met Randy at the gate and rode in with him. The area we would hunt was one that wasn’t very familiar to me.
Our deer lease is divided into two separate sections, and this particular area was in the smaller section. I hadn’t spent much time on this side of our lease, but I had heard some positive news about big deer captured on game camera photos. Randy had a stand set up in the area where I’d been before, and he knew of another stand that a fellow hunter had set up. Since I knew where his stand was, we agreed that I would hunt his stand and he would hunt the other. This seemed fair because both were box blinds; and both had heaters in them. We parted ways on the trail and wished each other good luck. By the time I climbed into the blind, I was almost completely frozen. What a relief it was to have the heater lit.
I began peeling off layer after layer of cold weather clothing until I was comfortable. I’m normally not accustomed to having a heater in my own blind, so this was a rare treat for me. The sun started to rise, and I was forced to open my windows due to frost. Snow continued to fall, but I remained quite comfortable in the blind. I saw two does foraging, and later, a small buck. At about 8:30 a.m., I caught a glimpse of a deer coming through a tree line. It was moving hard east to west across my field of sight. It had turned south in my direction and as it exited the tree line.When he came to about 150 yards, I looked through my binocular and realized he was a very large buck. He continued in my direction and stopped at about 90 yards. I had already replaced my binocular with my riflescope. Right as the buck stopped, he turned broadside to his right and I immediately took my shot. It was a good hit, but the buck ran hard north, circled to his right, and stopped again at the tree line where he had previously entered the field. Just to be sure, I placed a second shot right behind his shoulder. This shot dropped him where he stood. After a couple minutes to catch my breath and stop shaking from excitement, I left the blind and walked to survey my kill—by far the best deer I had ever taken, and one of the coolest looking 12 points I had ever seen. The buck grossed 1441⁄4, and was estimated at 41⁄2 years old.
I called Randy on my cell phone to tell him about my fortune, then he said that he would meet me at the blind. When he did, he was immediately impressed. After he congratulated me on my hunt, I reached into my pack for my knife to start field dressing, but couldn’t find it. Luckily, Randy had his knife, so we were able to finish the job. We hauled the deer back to Randy’s truck and loaded the deer. On the way back, Randy told me about his hunt. The hunter who maintains the blind had removed the heater. Randy sat for 31⁄2 hours in someone else’s blind and shivered the entire time. What was worse—he didn’t see a single deer. He had sat looking at trees and snow. However, he was genuinely happy that I had taken my deer.
In short, I rode in Randy’s truck, sat in Randy’s blind with Randy’s heater and shot an amazing deer. Then I used Randy’s knife for field dressing, and he helped me drag my deer to his truck. Randy also took some very impressive photos of the deer. It never seemed to bother Randy that he had such a horrible hunt, while mine went so well. I was glad to have a true friend hunting with me that day. I hope some day I can return the favor.