Sometimes a great day can get even better.
"I got a buck, I got a buck, I got a buck!" Say that about eight times in a row real fast and you'll hyperventilate and pass out. After I whispered it about the seventh time, I realized I was about to do just that.
Saturday morning, Nov. 3, started out like most hunting weekends: coffee, cheesy grits, good conversation with family and getting ready to head to the woods. My parents own a beautiful piece of property across the street from Lake Sinclair in Georgia, and my husband, Dave, and I are more than happy to hunt there. Our son took his first buck in those woods two years ago, and I took my first small buck in 2006. Dave and I were anxious to see what would happen in 2007.
The 41 acres had recently been cleared of all the pine trees, and you could see forever. There were tracks of all sizes on the logging roads that led into the woods.
After getting into my tripod at about 5:45 a.m. and watching Dave's flashlight as he walked to his stand about 400 yards away, I got all of my wiggles and squirms and fidgets out of my system. I loaded my gun, made sure nothing would clank or make noise and settled in for the morning hunt.
Just after the sun peeped over the trees, a few does walked out of the pines that border the property. They took their time and nibbled grass, disappearing in and out of the fog.
A few hours later, my tummy started to growl. I had seen a few more does and a 4-pointer, but nothing exceptional. Well, anyone who knows me can tell you: If I'm sitting in the woods or in a boat, I will have munchies. I had packed granola bars in paper towels so I could sneak them out of my pack without making noise. That worked great, but the paper towels don't do anything to help you hear while you're chewing.
Just as I was taking the last bite, I saw several does about 60 yards out, and they were acting a little strange. They walked around pretending to eat, stopping suddenly to look behind them. They stayed bunched together, and one doe looked as if she was actually hiding behind some bushes.
I scanned the area and saw two large does coming in from the left. The doe that was hiding started to bristle her fur and stomp the ground. Just when this was taking place, I heard something I had never had the privilege of hearing: bucks sparring at the edge of the pines!
I thought, "This is too cool! In 25 years of hunting, I have never seen or heard anything like this." And it was just beginning.
I called Dave to tell him what was going on. He said, "Just be ready. You never know."
He was right.
I have never seen so much deer activity. They were coming from everywhere. When I counted 13, I had to put my binoculars down because I couldn't keep up with all of them. White tails and big ears were everywhere. Then, from the corner of the woods where the big does came from, I saw antlers gleaming in the sunlight.
The buck was having a great time with all the female attention. I imagined Marvin Gaye singing in the background as I saw the 8-pointer breed one of the does. I felt like I shouldn't watch, but how often do you get to see that in the wild?
After a few romantic moments, all the deer scattered and headed down the hill toward Dave's stand.
About five minutes later, it was hard to believe the quiet, empty landscape was the same area I had been watching earlier. The only sound was my heart, still pounding away at an alarming rate. I must have looked like Barney Fife when he got excited over actually getting a prisoner in custody. I had buck fever, and I had it bad.
Suddenly, from a thick patch of brush about 40 yards in front of my stand, a lone doe stepped out and walked across the field opposite of where the others had gone. I pulled up my sleeves, prayed and waited.
Next, I heard a rustle of leaves and two grunts - and there he was, head down in a full trot.
I took a deep breath told myself to pick out a landmark so I could find him in my scope. I grunted, surprised I could even make a sound, but the buck didn't hear me. I grunted again, louder this time, and he stopped. I said, "Please, God, let me make a clean shot."
The next thing I knew, the buck kicked and ran off about 30 yards into the brush. I heard rustling and saw a small tree swaying, and I knew he was down.
The phone rang a few minutes later. It was Dave telling me, "Great job! I know you got your buck, didn't you?"
I couldn't speak English, and although I responded in pure gibberish, Dave understood me just fine. I called my mom and stepdad to tell them the news. Mom later told me they were shopping at Lowe's when the phone rang in my stepdad's pocket. She said he ran down the aisle carrying a huge roll of insulation, yelling, "It's Angie! She got a buck, I just know it!"
I believe that a trophy buck is in the eye of the beholder. The one I got isn't the monster that runs across the field in my dreams, but it's still special to me. I saw and heard things that day that I might never see and hear again, and I was with my best friend. It just doesn't get any better than that.
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This article was published in Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.