Last week I asked you to send in your stories and pictures of your deer hunting trophies. This year’s winner of the Familyman Big Buck Contest is Greg Pekham. As winner he will receive $40 in Familyman Products. So take a look at Greg’s mighty big buck as well as some other big bucks, a few does, and one huge squirrel.
Our first contestant entitled “Suicide Deer” sent in by George. Appearently it ran into, and through, a plate glass window of a local store…ouch. Sorry, George, its a good story and plenty bloody, but you didn’t pull the trigger.
Now let’s hear from the rest of the Big Buck Hunters…
Happy Thanksgiving to you Todd,
Recently, I arrived home early from work and looked down into my back yard and saw a huge buck standing there. I grabbed my binoculars and checked it out, and was excited to count 12 points. My kids were also excited, and my wife just rolled her eyes at me as I jumped up and told the kids to “watch this”.
I ran out to my garage and got my .68 caliber gun. I checked it to be sure it was ready, and loaded and threw on a camo jacket. Leaving the garage I started sneaking down the hill next to the high grass that runs behind my house (we leave part of it long to invite all the local wildlife so we can spy on them). It is not uncommon to see red tailed foxes, quail, deer, and even wild turkey and coyote’s.
Well, today was different, I’ve never hunted before, but a 12 point buck was too much to pass up.
I looked back at the house and saw my wife and two little girls staring back at me.
I continued to creep down the hill, ducking as I ran.
Pretty soon I arrived at the entrance to our woods. (we built our dream house 3 years ago, on our families land in the country and we have about 30 acres of woods behind our house). I slowly turned around and started looking at the high grass. The deer really blended into the high grass. I had made a mental note of its position before I left the house, so I looked at the marks and figured out where he was…
Suddenly I saw him. I drew up the gun and breathed out as I fired.
The deer leapt to its feet and started to run towards the woods right past me. I continued to fire at it, and hit it in the hip, shoulder, heart area, neck and finally its rear end. The bright pink paint all over him was evidence to my many hits.
My heart was racing as I went back up the hill to spend the rest of the evening with my family.
(what you think I would KILL a deer right in front of my little girls?)
Nope, I used my Tippmann A-5 paintball marker. The next day I was out in my woods cutting firewood and I saw the deer again, he still had bright pink paint on him and it was just starting to fade out. I’ve enjoyed telling my friends this story and just the other day I went out after another 14 point, but he got away this time… My mother and father in law got to see that hunt.
One of my friends is taking his son out deer hunting soon with their paintball guns. His son doesn’t want to kill the deer, just enjoy the hunt with his dad.
PS – My brother in law and I also hunt squirrel.
A picture of my son-in-law and the “Bambi” he got during the archery season here in Kentucky. Bambi was not huge, only 115 lbs and only a 4 pointer. Joe shot him from about 10 yards and he then ran about 25 more yards and collapsed. The fun part of the story, for me anyway as I was home in relative comfort, was his 4 wheeler was in the shop so he had walked in about 2 miles from the end of the road. My son was home from work that morning as he works the last shift at Lowe’s and had turned down an invitation to go hunting, so he got a phone call with a request to help pack Bambi out. They ended up carrying him out with a pole between them.
I have been enjoying your newsletter/email for about a year now. It’s really good to read that all of us fathers/husbands experience pretty much the same issues. Just the names, faces and home addresses are different.
Here is a picture from our family’s Deer Hunting experience this year. The bucks don’t fall into the biggest buck (or the sorriest story) category but I think it’s still a good story of how father’s can pass along a tradition to the next generation. My only excuse for these deer not being the biggest buck picture is that it’s REALLY hard to sneak up on deer when your not so quiet 9 and 11 year old boys are wearing nylon snowpants…swish, swish, swish…”Dad, can we stop and have a snack now?”… J
I just want to encourage all the deer hunting dads out there that you can still take ‘da boys out in the field with you even if they aren’t old enough to shoot Bambi’s Dad (we never talk about shooting Bambi with a 13 year old daughter in the house). Trying to hunt with little ones WILL be challenge but the hunt can still be successful. I waited too long for my older son and now he has no interest. My youngest two sons started coming out with me around age 7 and they are hooked for life! In fact, my one son who is 11 years old this season, field dressed one of our kills single-handed! (well, almost)
Keep the email/newsletters coming and take care.
Just read your latest letter. Here is a picture of my boys and I with a deer I got in Ohio last year. Spencer, my oldest son, has accompanied me on several deer and turkey hunts, while my younger son, Remington, loves to go squirrel hunting with me. Even my daughters get in on the action by accompanying me on hunts. My oldest daughter, Kennedy, has taken up archery and is preparing to take her hunter safety course.
You asked for it!
A couple of years ago, the following email was passed between my supervisor & myself. My supervisor (at that time) was a fun loving outdoorsman himself, so when I asked for a day off for blaze orange holiday, this is how it went . . .
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 5:05 PM
To: James Mumaw
Subject: RE: Schedule
You and your stringed instrument can play a symphony of slaughter to the large hoofed menace, however, be careful with the sharp projectiles. Otherwise you could B flat.
From: James Mumaw
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 4:58 PM
Friday, 14th: I’d like to take the day off, to pay tribute to the woods and large hoofed animals with my stringed instrument and sharp projectile.
Well, that’s all I needed for a little bit is insparation. After my unsuccessful day off, I penned the following minuet.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Hunter’s Symphony:
It’s about 2:00 in the afternoon, as the audience gathers under some oak trees near a clearing in the forest. Five furred females had climbed the hill and slowly moved to within 30 yards of the orchestra. The string section had split up about an hour earlier, leaving only one instrument for the performance. Anticipation was reaching it’s crescendo in the lone musician as he drew his bow for the climax. All the players were in position. The closest doe was selected, the rest had nothing to fret. Muscles strained from holding the bow. Then . . . with the flick of a finger, the one note performance was over. The deer audience was startled with the loud snap of the string. The note went high and sailed just over the back of the intended recipient. The sound of pounding hooves echoed through the trees. The guest dispersed on all directions, giving the performer a standing ovation of snorts and rustling leaves. He rises from his stone chair under the Elm tree, retrieves his arrow, and exits. There will be other concerts to play, but for today, it’s just a practice of scales: Doe ran, me failed, so lost, thee doe.
How about the daughter with the biggest buck! I have attached a picture. This was her second deer of the year and it was shot with a crossbow at 18 yards. She is fourteen and it is her fourth deer of her life. We were in a 2 man tree stand. The funnest part of the story is that 10 min. before the deer appeared I wispered to my daughter “wouldn’t it be great if a nice buck walked up that oil well road and stopped there in that opening?” and that is exactly what happened. She put a double lung shot on it and the rest is history.
Greetings from Montana.
The photo is my oldest son and his first big game animal.
Going out into the immense wild country of Montana is something that every dad and son/daughter should experience, I don’t mean traveling to Yellowstone in your RV and watching Old Faithful, I mean country that, if you are not careful, you could get lost in and have a survival situation.
My son and I located a herd of elk in the Lewis and Clark Wilderness Area on the second day of our hunt. It took two more days to get the meat out. It was a lot of hard work, but the tranquil and quiet time that my son and I spent together was nothing less then a gift from the Lord.
Just wanted to share with you all my deer store/picture. I took off from work the week before gun season to hunt the MO rut with my bow like I do every year. My boss told me before I left work which would have been friday Nov. 2nd, try not to shot bambi, I just smiled.
Well I’ve been seeing real good deer sign on the ridge that I’m hunting and knew there was probably a pretty good sized buck in there but I just hadn’t seen him yet.
Saturday Nov. 3rd was rather warm for this time of year but being the start of the rut I went for it. Got in my stand early and saw a little 4 pointer right at day light but opted to hold out for something bigger. An hour and a half went by until………a doe came briskly walking up the ridge and behind her was not Bambi but Prince. I hardly had time to react when I stood up gave buurrr noise, which stopped him and I let the arrow fly. I made a solid hit and he left a good blood trail.
He has been my biggest harvest to date. And to top things off it was one day before my 37th birthday. My kids thought that was the greatest thing ever.
Hope you enjoyed it.
P.S. He was a nine pointer, field dressed 161 pounds and made alot of memories!
In over 21 years in the military, I was qualified expert in every weapon I shot. I even competed in military events for best shot, etc. Yet last year due to progressing Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome (CMS – its in the fibromyalgia family) I’ve developed less physical abilities to control my muscles when easily fatigued. Brain gives body direction, body doesn’t respond completely resulting in my “expert” shots whizzing by some very good sized game. It was embarrassing and humiliating to be such a horrible shot all of the sudden.
This year was different as I changed my approach to hunting. Instead of walking through the woods to drive game out and hopefully having my body responsive, I went out one day in the morning with some friends and two of my older kids. Not seeing anything, my friends and kids left to get back home and to work while I remained there.
I stayed there all day. I knew I wouldn’t see anything as they never fed in that area. So I’d go from place to place just taking in the scenery and the sounds. I’d think of things, pray to God, praise Him…and of course, ask for Him to make my day a success. I even bundled up in the tall grass and slept for two hours when the wind got strong and chilly. It was very nice hearing the blowing grass overhead, hearing the geese in the distance and resting so comfortably.
After waking and walking around I discovered a well-used trail where the deer return to the bedding area. So around 4 o’clock I set up in sight of the trail. Waiting and getting somewhat discouraged I kept praying, “Come on already God…” It was beginning to get too dark to get a good shot. So right when I was about to get up and leave, lo and behold, a young buck came into site from the left about 80 yards out. I brought my rifle up and it was perfectly in line with the kill spot. Rested, my body worked perfectly. BAM! One shot, hitting dead-center in the kill zone, knocked him to the ground.
But of course, he got up and ran. Running on nothing except adrenaline he sprinted. So with little darkness left, I followed the blood trail and eventually found him. I thanked God in prayer for providing for my family. Even though the deer couldn’t hear, I thanked him too. I don’t enjoy killing anything so it helps me that way.
I dressed him out, put up a flag high on a dead tree so I could find him again.
Well now it was dark, very dark. I spent forever trying to find my way to my truck. Being prior military, I can tell you that I NEVER get lost, just temporarily disoriented. But that’s what I was, quite temporarily disoriented. I eventually found the truck and found the deer.
One would think all I had to do was follow my tire tracks out, but from the other direction, I could see more tire tracks going different directions. I only guessed wrong once and finally got out.
I was COMPLETELY exhausted and completely in pain all over from the CMS yet I was praising God for the deer.
We cut him up our selves. Being homeschoolers, we just had to make a biology lesson of him. Ben wanted the eyes, the rest of the kiddos wanted to see the brain. We hadn’t realized how morbid our blood-thirsty kids really were!
We finished and thought we had the whole mess cleaned up only to discover our “leg chimes” still hanging in the garage two days later! An odd sight for the unsuspecting.
Anyway, our buck was a small one; he was a three by three barely. But he was what God thought we needed. I know that anything heavier would’ve given me health issues getting him to the truck and loaded.
I’m attaching a picture of me beginning to skin the buck in our garage.
In closing, I would like to say God is good. He’s good when we get the deer, and when we don’t. And His creation….ah man, just leaves me speechless at it’s beauty!
I am the wife of a man who is very loyal to the woods this time of year…through May actually, until we get through all the seasons and most of the species…anyway, a “widow” you might say. And I’m okay with that, most of the time. (Confession, when we had two babies close I wasn’t reeeeally okay with it, but I’ve let go of that bitterness now that they can use the potty and get into their car seats!)
Anyway, to get back on track here…I’d like to nominate him for your deer contest this year. I don’t have a picture, so you’ll have to trust me I guess. He would never do anything like this, but I think he’s deserving! The first week of bow season, he shot an 8 point buck with a compound bow on his late Grandpa’s farm. He was so excited! This was his first deer from the farm. He called me while still in the woods, which is very unusual. (there’s no talking in the woods) He was laughing and my first words were, “you hit one!” (I have so much confidence in him) More laughing…and then I said “you got one?!” He humbly said yes and brought home a nice sized buck that we gave to our Amish neighbors who later made trail bologna…(we do eat venison, but does are not as gamy, so we pass the bucks along) Our boys, Mason (5 yrs) and Isaac (3 1/2 yrs) were thrilled daddy got a buck and had fun touching all the deadness of it and poking his eyeballs. (why not, they’re boys after all) So, I was especially excited for him because this year he had knee surgery that laid him up for several weeks, but didn’t keep him out of the woods. He was supposed to be on crutches still, but managed to get to the woods. For him, it’s not about getting a deer, it’s about being in the woods, enjoying, learning and soaking in God’s creation. The deer was just icing on the cake.
So, not elaborate, but we’re proud of him nonetheless. (He is also a taxidermist…how convenient…he tries to sneak his furry friends to the living room, but I’ve kinda said if we decorate with dead animals, we need to have a little tact and put a limit on three heads. Now he’s hanging them in the boys’ rooms, which they love.)
Holly from Ohio
Dear Family Man,
Attached is a picture of my son Jesse’s first deer, a doe. It was also his first shot in his first season. As for his dad, I’ve been on a 5 year drought in the deer hunt. Can’t seem to get them in my sights. We had a great time hunting together this year as well as talking about it and planning for it.
Me and my 14yr old son were just going out to check a stand that he had hung on the back side of the 12acre property we own and this buck stood up on the ditch bank about 50 yds away.Luckily.I just happened to bring my 44mag rifle with me.One shot and he fell in his tracks!He was 142lbs field dressed and 8pts.My taxidermist rough guessed his rack to be in the 130 class.A memory me and my son will share for a long time to come.
I’m the wife, reporting on how my man bagged a buck last week to feed the family. Sorry I don’t have a photo to back up my story, but I promise this is true. The evening before he went out for the hunt I asked him whether he’d bought a doe or a buck license. He said a doe because they are more prevalent and it’s more likely he’d see one before he saw a buck. The next morning he climbed the tree stand with his thermos of coffee and sat waiting in the big chill for the big kill. Just as dawn broke he heard a crunching in the leaves, thinking it was just squirrels. But when he looked off in the distance, there it was, a buck standing as still as a statue. Knowing he didn’t have a buck license, he picked up his rifle and aimed. As he slowly pulled the trigger, it made a clicking sound and he realized, dang, he had the safety on. Right away he fixed it, aimed again, pulled the trigger and shot the guy in the foreleg. The buck took off running, just a short distance, then stopped, and keeled over, dead. My big hunter climbed down from his tree, walked over to the buck, checked to make sure he was really truly dead, then hopped in the Volvo and made a beeline for Walmart to buy that buck license. Upon his return to the hunting grounds he proceeded to drag a couple hundred pounds of dead deer, sans guts, to the Volvo. It took a full 30 minutes. He wasn’t able to lift him into the car so he called in the reinforcements. Once he brought it home, he stood in the kitchen with his peacock feathers all ablaze, waiting for me. As soon as I saw him, covered in deer guts and a smile on his face, I knew. He took me out to the car so he could see my reaction when I saw it was a BUCK! Our nine-year-older daughter was filled with excitement as she ran to the car to pet Bambi on the forehead and poke sticks in his eyes. Bambi hung in our shed for the night until we could butcher him the next day. After six hours of hard labor we had a freezer full of meat. Way to go Dad.
Patrick claims this buck but rumor has it that Dad may have helped out.
This is my brother in law and his son. They moved away from family (in Wyoming) about a year ago to start a new career (in Estes Park, Colorado) outside of the family business. (In order to do this, he had to go to lineman training fulltime and away from his young family for 3.5 months) It was a HUGE step and this guy strives daily to be the “you da Dad” kind of fellow. His steps with God have come a long way, and as his brother in law striving to be the “ya da Dad” in God’s eyes… he has my vote hands down. He took his son out of school for the day and did everything Lane (his son) wanted to do right down to hitting the Waffle House for some pancakes piled with whip cream. This was a real treat for Lane because he’s kind of out of his element as they could go hunting all the time before the move and he also could see grandparents daily before the move. Great story. Great family… AND a huge deer!
Aspiring Brother in Law,
On Nov. 18, my son ( Jacob 13yrs) and I had sat for our 3rd full day of waiting for Bambi when his Dad appeared. I had put Jacob on a deer trail and sat 30 yards from him, both of us in tree stands. Of course ,as often happens, the deer weren’t being predictable and he came in alone Right In Front Of Me!! So goes deer hunting. I have to add Jacob was already jumpy because 2 hrs prior, while we were sitting on the ground together, I (with great wit) had acted excited and said as I handed him his shotgun “There’s a Picachu!!” After a few Where Where’s he caught on, and can you believe this, he emphatically called His loving Father an idiot!!!
Here’s a picture of this years buck. He’s not real big but this was the best deer ever. I was sitting in Dad’s deer stand Sunday afternoon about 3:45. He just came walking through the woods at about 60 yards. One shot and we have venison for the freezer.
Now for the really good part. Every Sunday afternoon my parents go and get my Grandpa (91) from the nursing home.
They usually go out for supper and the take Grandpa back to the home. It was great to see the look on his face when I walked into the house and announced “You are going to have to wait for supper we have a deer to take care of. “A quick call to my wife’s cell phone and she agreed to pick up something for supper.
Grandpa helped load the deer in Dad’s truck. He went along to town to register the deer and helped hang it up and skin it out.
He got to go back to the nursing home with some blood and deer hair on his coat.
All of the guys who do not get to get out immediately wanted to hear the stories. The next morning Dad and I were out to pick up Grandpa right after breakfast. He told the guys sitting at the table “Well, I have to go, the boys need help cutting meat.” He will have stories to tell the guys at the home for weeks to come.
To put in terms of a popular commercial.
1- Swiss K31 surplus rifle $149.00
Reloading supplies for 7.5×55 Swiss $83.50
Sharing this moment with Dad & Grandpa PRICELESS
Greeting, I’m not from Wisc., I’m from Mich., But I have a pretty good story. For the last couple of weeks we have been having Deer Season as well. I am disabled and have a hard time getting out into the woods. I only have one good leg and can’t sit on the ground, so I went and bought one of those hunting stools. Last weekend it finally snowed out and all the under brush was knocked down, so I was able to get a little farther out into the woods. Monday morning we went out early, about 5:00. I found a spot in some trees, so the deer couldn’t see me, and sat down until it got light out. I kind of leaned back against the tree and fell asleep. All of a sudden I heard a noise and when I woke up, there were about 10 deer all standing around me eating grass. By the time I actually figured out they were there, and got my gun up to shoot, they were on the run. Needless to say, I missed and didn’t get one of them.
If this isn’t the dumbest story you’ve heard, you’ll have to let me know. I still can’t look my brother in the face over it.
Thank you for listening and God Bless, Steve Ring
We moved to Montana from Houston 3 years ago. I started hunting elk and deer in the fall of 2005 – a great thing about being a Montana-resident is that the combo license (elk, deer, upland bird, fishing, etc) is still under $90. This fall, I felt that my oldest of the “Andrews Crew” were old enough to tag along with me hunting. Elizabeth just turned 10 and Micah is almost 7. As soon as I mentioned going hunting with me sometime, they were very
excited! Even after I explained the possibility that I might shoot a deer and there would be blood involved, etc. They were READY! Of course my fear was that I would “gut shoot” some poor deer and then after to shoot it again AND deal with the awful smell, or it would take off and run 3 miles away – downhill, etc.
So, opening day, I located some available hunting land about an hour from our house. We arrived at the location a couple of hours before sundown and the “hunting Dad” I am, spotted a grove of trees I was certain was harboring multiple huge mule deer. My strategy took into account walking distance, strong wind, sunlight, etc. Well, I discovered that if I greatly under-estimate the distance, the amount of sunlight left in the day is impacted as well. We arrived at the “deer-empty” grove of trees at precisely sundown after walking 2+ miles in a 40mph steady wind through
waist-high (on me) grass. I decided the “best”, although longer, option would be to return to my truck in the distance via the road -which would be about 3 miles uphill. Thankfully after a mile of walking, some friendly and compassionate hunters took pity on my kids for my decision and gave us a ride in the back of their truck back to ours. This was a treat in itself as the kids are always asking when they can ride in the back of a pickup.
After a failed attempt at finding elk in the mountains of Montana with a buddy, I decided totry the deer hunting approach again with the kids. Elizabeth and Micah were all excited again! We found another place and walked a mile in to the start of some ravines and breaks. This time we sat…and sat..and waited…I explained how sometimes a deer will seem to just appear in a clearing that you have been watching for hours…and that is exactly what happened – a mule deer buck walked right into a clearing several hundred yards away. They were immediately asking “Daddy, are you gonna shoot it?” repeatedly. As I watched it through my binoculars, I could tell he wasn’t very big – but it was definitely legal and it would provide sausage for the family since my elk hunting hadn’t been too good. So, I made my way closer, fired off a couple of rounds that were low as evidenced by the fact that the deer barely stopped grazing. Finally, the third shot was true. He took off running slowly and I could tell it was a good shot watching through my scope.
I ran back to the kids and they were jumping up and down. I said, “Let’s go track him and get to work”. He fell not 100 yards away and was already dead when we got to him. And I was right, he wasn’t huge, but about an average 2×3 for the area. I was able to teach the proper way to approach an apparently dead wild animal. Then, as the sun was disappearing, I informed them we had to get busy and I needed their help. They were GREAT…not
flinching at all (well, not too much). We had an Anatomy lesson regarding the internal organs, etc. I showed them the clean entrance of the bullet and how the deer did not suffer. We thanked God for providing meat for our family. It was a great “Dad and kids” time. Then…..it was time for the “1 mile deer drag”…in the dark…through waist-high (on me) grass. Fortunately, the great GPS invention kept us on track. We could only make it about .03 of a mile at a time before I had to stop to
change shoulders or rest. At about the .39 mile point, my son said, “I with some other hunters would drive by again and give us a ride back to the truck like last time”. I explained, in a very calm, controlled voice that “This is fun! We are outside, in Montana, it’s not too cold, we are spending time together, we have a deer, listening to coyotes in the distance, etc.” We were all three thrilled when we reached the truck after 2 hours of pulling the deer and were finally able to sit down. The kids called home and relayed all the events in excited voices and great detail.
Even Sarah Grace (4 years old) wanted to see the deer when we got home. I was told later that she had a spirited discussion with another 4 year-old at co-op the next week about “who’s Daddy shot the biggest deer”.
I pray that God allows for many more “deer drags” and, hopefully, “elk pack outs” with my kids in the years to come.
Thanks for reading….sorry, no pic as I didn’t take the digital camera…I can take a pic of the “huge” antlers and send it later.
Hey here are a few late entries…which I found out some state’s deer season just opened. I’d do better next year.
Awe man our buck season don’t start here in PA till the monday after thanksgiving – any way here is my trophy a 10 pt with a 17 inch spread that weighed 160 lbs
Hello! I just wanted to write to let you know that I am married to DA Man!!! My dear hubby loves to hunt, but he is such a man that he makes sure that his big boys get their animals first! I am attaching a couple of pictures of the deer our 2 oldest boys harvested this fall. Daddy got razzed for the little buck he shot (2×2), but didn’t care a bit – his joy was in helping and watching his boys!!!
Thanks for all the work you do to encourage my man!!! Blessings, DanaI hope that I attached the pics OK – I’ve never sent them this way
You ended your buck contest too early. Buck season in PA only began November 26. Even though you have already officially closed the contest, I hope you will consider opening it for one more entry on behalf of my son.
David began joining me, and the men in my wife’s family, for our annual deer hunt two years ago when he was 12. That first year he used two bullets filling his doe tag and harvesting a 10-point buck. He downed the running buck after his uncle had already shot at it five times. Last year he shot once and again filled his doe tag. This year he used his fourth bullet downing an 8-point buck. So he now stands 4-for-4: four bullets, four deer. Each deer fell where it was shot. Each was a clean kill, bullet placed precisely at the base of the neck. Two of the three years he totally skunked all the rest of the men in the family!
I know he’s my son and I’m pretty biased, but I think his batting 1000 over three years is worthy of a Family Man reward and recognition!
PS. The attached picture is David with this year’s buck.
***The way your son shoots, he’s a shoe-in for next year’s award!!!
My girls love it when dad brings home the venison!
Two weeks ago I was out with the cross bow. I was facing downwind, well camouflaged in my tree stand. The birds had been noisy behind me on my unprotected side. They sounded a little bit noiser so I looked over my shoulder and saw an 8 point about 25 or 30 feet away coming my way. It walked up to the base of my tree so I was actually looking down on its rack but I couldn’t turn to shoot without moving my crossbow way too much. I just waited and hoped it would keep moving along. It did! Right into my shooting lane at 15 yards! I aimed and MISSED! The guy at the bow shop told me not to use the site adjustment on the bow because someday I would forget to reset it. I did and shot over the buck. He ran. I was disgusted. I hung out another 15 minutes and was still mad so I decided to join the family in heading over to my mom’s for dinner. As I was getting down from the tree making all kinds of racket I spooked another one coming in. Two in one evening! My 15 year old bagged one of them during the youth hunt a couple of weeks later. An 8 pointer. Where I have I seen that one before?
I have a story for you that might fit into the “sorriest story” category.
I am a relatively new deer hunter, although I did a fair amount of small game hunting as a teenager. I always had to go out to the country and borrow my cousin’s shotgun, but then again, the squirrel were more plentiful out there.
When I got married, I always wanted to continue the hunting pleasure, but I just couldn’t afford the supplies. After a while, that dream just got buried amongst the hum-drum routine of married life. Every chance I could get to obtain some fresh or frozen venison from a hunter friend, though, I took it.
Eventually, the strains of wanting children but never being able to have them wore on my wife until our marriage finally ended after 18 years. I moved in with my brother to heal from the divorce, and God used him to direct me to a local church with a fantastic divorce recovery support group. After a time, God used that group to introduce me to a woman who had the same heart as I did – the fervent desire to help other people heal from divorce the way God had helped us heal. We’ve been married for 5 1/2 years now, and her son is, to me, just like the son I never had.
After moving in with my brother, the hunting bug bit me again, and I got more and more interested in actually trying to hunt deer. However, the financial pressures were still on me, and even to this day I don’t have my own rifle or shotgun yet. I began watching the hunting shows on TV (Outdoor Channel, Versus, etc.), and the desire grew and grew.
Finally, last year I found a friend who let me go with him and borrow his shotgun. I was so excited I could hardly sleep the night before. We met at his house, stopped by the local gas station / restaurant for a biscuit, then hit the road. We saw a couple of does on the way to his property, but once we got there, the activity stopped. Before shooting light, we got set up to wait. I was so inexperienced, I had a fold-up camp chair and was sitting just on the edge of a clearing where there were a lot of tracks. But did I see anything? NO! I heard some twigs snapping and leaves crunching, but nothing came out where I could see it.
A week or two later, we went again, and this time I used his ladder stand to get higher so I could see farther. I could see all right. I saw plenty of squirrels playing on some fallen logs, and I saw plenty of birds flying overhead. But deer? They were nowhere to be found. I still enjoyed the time spent in nature, but I was so desperately wanting to actually SEE a deer, even if I didn’t get a shot at it.
And so ended the 2006 season for me. All the next year I was preparing for this season, but it seemed like every time I was getting ready to buy a rifle, something would come up to where we needed to spend the money elsewhere. Once deer season opened in 2007, I was again without the necessary equipment. AND, since I have been out of contact with my friend from last year, I didn’t have a place to go, either. But my loving wife, who knows how much this means to me, did something I never expected her to do. She talked to her ex-husband one day when he was picking up their son for visitation, and she arranged for me to borrow one of his deer rifles. I could have smothered her with hugs and kisses that day!
Well, I still needed a place to hunt, but Julie took care of that, too. She is a special needs bus monitor for our county, and her driver has 15 acres way out in the woods but not too far from our house. Her driver offered me her back yard any time I want to come over, and she even told me where and when the deer usually come out of the woods into the yard.
Once I finally was able to take the time to go over there, it was a very cold morning. Perfect for deer movement, but I didn’t realize just HOW cold it would be. I put on my camo shirt, jeans, hunter orange vest, hat, socks and shoes, and went over before dark to set up. It was perfect (or so I thought)…enough moonlight to see to get set up, a woodshed with half-walls that made a perfect gun rest, a chair behind the half-wall to sit in, looking straight at the natural funnel that the woods made in the lower end of her back yard, and a gun with plenty of ammo. I was elated.
As time went on, though, I realized just HOW cold the morning was. The gun barrel began to feel more and more like a block of ice instead of metal, and I kept having to put my hands in my pockets to keep the cold at bay. By daylight, I don’t know if I could have pulled the trigger if I wanted to. All around me, I could hear guns going off in the distance, but I still had not seen anything. I didn’t know if I had done something wrong or if it was just me. I had used scent elimination spray, so I didn’t think it was that, and I wasn’t readily visible from the woods since I was up under the shed in the shadows.
Around 8:30 that morning, I finally had to just give up and go home. My first solo deer hunt, and all I got from it was bronchitis. But that won’t stop me from going back out. I’ll just have to prepare even better next time.
Cary State Forest in Bryceville, Florida. I arrived approx 2hrs before first light, and found the tree I chose to hunt about 10ft from a fire break . I Climbed the tree, to about 30ft with my climbing stand, reeled my bow up to me, and settled in for the hunt. Now, as all you guys know, it gets a little boring waiting for light and fighting off the ZZZZZZZZZZZZ monster.
Well I made it, without the Z’s, and begin the visual search of the surrounding woods for my meal on four legs. About 2hrs later, and no action, I choose to relieve myself of the growing pressure in my bladder. Thinking, I’ll handle this before…. So I retrieve my hot water bottle that I brought for just such emergencies and away we go. As I am in the process of completing the mission, I hear something 30 to 40yds to my left across the fire break.
I look, and a doe has just broken through the scrub and stopped. She stayed there frozen for about a day and a half, while I am trying to decide how to switch from hot water bottle to bow. She moved from left to right, staying just off the fire break, and froze again approximately the same distance off to my right. She stamps once. I think its because she catches my wind, until I hear something from the position the doe originally stopped, YESTERDAY.
While deer are moving is the only time I can move without getting caught. So slowly, cautiously, I turn my head from the doe to the direction of the sound. A buck is trailing her and stops dead in the same spot the doe was when she broke through the scrub. To recap, I am in a standing position. I have just finished using the water bottle and it is still in my left hand. I have yet to return the necessary plumbing to its proper storage facility, and the lid to the bottle is in my mosquito-net jacket pocket somewhere between my waist and my right knee. My bow is hanging off my tree stand at the level of my ankle, and I have a years worth of meat at perfect bow range. DILEMMA.
Back to the hunt… The doe begins to move toward the fire break, on a direct path to the base of the tree that I am so precariously perched in. I have acquired the lid and begun to place it on the bottle while watching both of these meals wander about without a care in the world. When the doe began to move, the buck also moved along the same path the doe used and stopped at the spot where the doe stamped. The doe at this time is about 5ft from the base of my bathroom tree, and moves under me and off to my left rear.
During this time, I have managed to replace the lid on the commode, place it in the pocket of my jacket, and maneuvered into a half-bent over attempt to reach my bow and the fingertips of my right hand are touching the top cam. All this with stealth-like movements that would be completely imperceptible to the human eye. I guess you have figured out at this point that I won’t be the keynote speaker at the next pro-hunters of America gathering.
While the doe continues off to my rear, I turn my full attention to the buck and the attempt to get at the bow. So with his next move, he again follows the same line as the doe stopping every couple steps to check his surroundings, and I have the opportunity to get a hold on the bow. As gingerly as possible I raise the bow, which touches the stand and tinks ever so softly. Here we go again.
The buck freezes, as do I. I hear the doe trotting off over my left rear. I have the bow. I can see the meals I will prepare after I make the shot. But, I can’t draw until this buck moves again. At this point it feels like I’ve been in this tree for about A WEEK, and my heart is beating so loud I am concerned the buck will hear and I’ll never get the shot.
Finally, he moves and I raise the bow to draw. Phew, I get to full draw. The buck stops, at 25yds quartered-away and looks over his shoulder back towards me as if to say, “I see you, I know you’re there”. And, as if it couldn’t get any worse, he is behind two pine trees, and all I can see is his head and his tail. I grunt to get his attention so maybe he’ll take a few steps to give the shot, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
He looks, he bolts, and I lower the bow in shame. For you animal loving PETA people, no animals were harmed in this actual account of a blundering attempt to bring home the proverbial bacon. And, I realize that the direction the buck ran, there are about 15 does feeding off in the distance. Thanks on this Thanksgiving Day for your web site and this opportunity to re-live this (wonderful life experience) Sarcasm