Opening weekend started out for me like how it did for many people I know, failure. The deer did not seem to be moving on opening day by me I was only able to see one small buck that never presented a shot.
As I rode home with my dad that night I contemplated whether I should hunt my same stand once again or try a new spot. I thought about it and remembered that just two years ago my stand produced a big buck on opening Sunday, so I decided I would give it another shot. That buck from two years ago was a genetic misfit, having one nice main beam and the other one was basically a big spike with a few little points butting off of it.
Upon arriving at our land early the next morning I spotted a shooting star while walking to my stand. I quietly wished that I would see a big buck today. I am a baseball player so of course I believe in superstition and was hoping the wish would come true.
When I got into my stand I immediately noticed how much quieter it was today compared to yesterday when the weather was very windy. It was warmer than most opening Sunday’s I remember and I hoped the deer would still move. When nine o’clock reached I called my dad to see what the plan was since he had already shot a small buck.
He said, “Wait for another half-hour or so, then come and help me drag this deer out.” I said OK, but really I was quite sick of sitting and seeing nothing. I was beginning to get ready to get down when I heard something running to my right. I looked and saw a small fawn running through. Then, suddenly I saw a doe out in front of it and got my gun up. I decided I wouldn’t shoot unless I had a really good shot so when the doe stopped right in one of my only openings at perfect broadside, I squeezed the trigger.
The doe jumped around and ran about 25 yards before falling over. I called dad to let him know I had shot a doe and was going to drag it out before coming to help him. By the time we had drug out both of our deer I was exhausted, we had a drive on schedule next, which ended up producing no deer.
Dad left to go and try my grandpa’s land and I decided to stay there with Cade since I had driven to the land that morning on my own and we could get home without Dad. Dad told me I could sit in his stand since we had tons of deer coming to the food plot we put by his stand all season long. When I finally got back into the tree stand it was late, it was about 3:20 so I settled in for a short sit.
I was all sweaty from having done drives with my cousin. He had shot at a few deer and missed including a bullet that wizzed past Kara in her stand, a reminder to me to always know what is beyond my target.
I hoped my layering would keep me warm while my Scentlok suit with Scent Killer Gold would keep deer from smelling me. As closing approached I decided to put my video camera away and get down out of the stand and see what may be out on the corn field about 300 yards away as there are usually deer out there in the evening.
Just as I was about to take my first step down the ladder, I had a feeling something was to my right. When I looked I was in shock, it was one of the two biggest bucks we had on camera and it was only 65 yards away! By some miracle it had not seen me yet so I quickly sat back down on the stand seat so I would have a steady rest.
I quickly raised the gun up, flicked off the safety, and waited. He was facing me eating some surrounding grass and since he was so close I wanted to be sure I had a good broadside shot. He suddenly decided to take a step to his right, giving me a broadside shot, I wasted no time as I pulled the trigger. He bucked what seemed like 10 feet in the air and took off. I thought maybe I had hit him in the guts since he had bucked, so I cycled another fusion cartridge into my ruger rifle and fired once again.
He ran about 40 more yards and looked like he fell over. I called my dad to let him know he was going to have to come back so we could take a deer home. When asked what I got I simply replied, “Goofy.” This was a buck we had named earlier in the year because he was anything but normal. He had a few abnormal points and his right beam was different that caused him to have a very “goofy” look. We figured it was the son of the buck I had shot two years before on this same day.
He asked if I was sure he was dead and I said I was almost 90% sure. He said he would come back to put the deer in the back of his pickup and we hung up. I got down to go see if I could find him. I used a tree as a landmark and got down. When I got on the ground I could not see the buck or tree anywhere. This worried me and I began to frantically look around.
When I finally looked to my left and saw a huge blowdown. Low and behold “goofy” had died right in the middle of it. I figured that was a fitting way for him to have died, in a “goofy” way. I went to get Cade as I knew I would not be able to drag it out as far as I had to by myself. Dad and I had decided that it would be a good idea to gut him out away from the stand since the food plot seemed to be a deer magnet. The drag out was a marathon so when I finally saw dad arrive, I was in glee.
We loaded the buck up and hit the road home. From this hunt I learned, you can never leave too early. Both deer I shot that day were right before I was planning on leaving my stand. If I had left only five minutes earlier, I may have never seen either deer. In the end you have to be patient and willing to finish a sit.
I guess that shooting star thing really did work and I hope that “Goofy” was able to pass on his genetics as it seems I have a knack for them.