The Hunt Club
I was getting ready for our pending hunt club’s “Hunt Week” and had just left from a Saturday morning hunt and Family Day Lunch at the club. On the drive home I got a call from my friend Larry inquiring if I wanted to go hunting the next morning on some private land where we have hunted over the years. I knew I was fixing to hunt hard starting Monday for the week, but always enjoy a chance to hunt in the woods with good friends. We had mostly seen does and smaller bucks in this area however Larry did take a nice 10-point two years prior on the property so there were possibilities. It turned out to be a nice crisp morning and no wind. Larry took his future brother-in-law, Danny, to one side of the property and my friend Dave and I went to the opposite side where Dave took a buck a couple of weeks earlier. The rut was fixing to get started so a little bottled deer scent was in order. I knew my scent was covered as I sat on a pine and oak ridge in a 16-foot ladder stand that had no sides or gun rail. Free hand it was. I was comfortable with that as I had my old .30-06 110E that was lightweight with a high mount scope. Many a deer has been taken with that gun over the last 27 years, so I was confident. As the sun came up two does appeared 150 yards in front of me with one moving within 100 yards but returned back to where they came from. About 30 minutes later the woods came alive. I had does walk up behind me and move all around me. Two were within 10 feet with one big doe looking straight at me. She was not sure what I was and I was not moving. After about 30 minutes they all moved off to my left. Things calmed down and it seemed that was it for the morning. I heard a shot from Larry and Danny’s direction around 8:30, which perked me back up. Around 9 a.m. I could see a buck in the shadows coming from where the first two does were. He walked the same path the nearest doe had gone and stopped just on the edge of the woods. With the sun to my back and the deer in the shadows I could only tell he had antlers outside the ears and a mature figure but he was at an angle so I could not tell much more. I raised my rifle, released the safety and shot aiming at his upper shoulder. Whack—Thud! He ran into the woods and I was not sure of the direction. But I knew to give him some time in case he was shot in the lung. Larry and Danny showed up soon after with Danny’s first deer from his first deer hunt ever, a 165 pound, 16½-inch inside spread eight-point. Danny was proud and had a right to be. They asked if mine was “that big” and I honestly did not know. We all spread out after finding blood spotted in the woods and it was not long before Dave walked up on him. Everyone said the same thing—WOW! Well, maybe there were a few other expletives. There laying 100 yards up a ridge from where I shot it was a monster buck. 200 pounds on the button, eight incredibly tall points, shot right where I had aimed. This was the buck I had dreamed about since my first day of deer hunting and the biggest buck of my life. What a great morning! Two very nice eight-points, one for a first time deer hunter and a dream buck for me. I was excited, but I could certainly tell Larry and Dave were more excited for me. Earlier this year they were visiting me in the hospital, near death from the effects of advanced Leukemia and shortly after, I went back again with serious blood clots in my leg. Now here I was with a buck of a lifetime! It came in a very close second to the birth of my first grandchild 11 days later, whom I look forward to sharing a deer stand and his hunting adventures. I’ve shot a lot of nice bucks and big bucks, some with more points, but nothing like this one. It scored 132 4/8 B&C. Not shabby for an eight-point. The experience reminded me of several years ago when I took an old friend and co-worker, Jerry (now deceased), to the hunting club for a Saturday hunt. He loved to deer hunt, but had really bad knees. The whole week before, he was telling everyone in our shop he was going hunting with me and was going to get a BIG buck, mostly picking at the dog hunters in the shop who were saying he was not going to do anything. Long story short, he shot the biggest buck of his life, a very nice 185-pound eight-point. I knew how big a deal this was to him, and it was especially a big deal to me. While I sat on a ridge 200 yards behind Jerry, I asked the Lord to please let him get a nice buck. My prayer was answered. While loading the buck on my four-wheel-drive truck, Jerry looked at me and said, “I believe you are more excited about this than me.” I answered, “You have no idea.” All that year the other hunters in the shop would bring their racks in to compare with Jerry’s, which stayed in his shop bay on his toolbox. Everything they brought fit inside Jerry’s eight-point rack. It reinforced my happiness for Jerry. My friends Larry and Dave had the same look I must have had, and then I understood.