Good things come to those who skip naps.
I arose at 5 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2010 and was in my treestand by 6. Shortly after sunrise, a 30 mph south wind kicked up, making it impossible to hear. I was halfway up a 200-yard hill that faced a cornfield.
I hunt that stand the first day of shotgun season every year and have pretty good luck. By 10 a.m. that day, I hadn’t seen anything and decided to head back to the house to get a bite to eat.
I had breakfast and thought about taking a nap, but I just couldn’t relax. I was too pumped up to get back in the woods, so I went to another stand by the cornfield and was settled in by 11. The wind was still blowing, making the trees sway and taking my scent up the hill behind me.
At about 11:30, I noticed a tree that was moving quite differently from the rest. I knew right off there was a buck making a rub.
It was in a thicket, and as hard as I tried to make out the buck, I caught only a glimpse of antler.
About an hour later, a doe stepped out. I could have shot the doe, but I could tell the buck was still in the thicket.
My frustration mounted, and I had to talk myself out of getting down and attempting to crawl the 80 yards to get a look at the buck.
At about 1:30, I saw the buck jump a log and was able to make out part of a nice rack. He stayed in the safety of the thicket, however, so I sat patiently for another 2 1/2 hours, waiting to see what he would do. I kept turning on my red dot scope to make sure it was working.
At about 2, the doe shot out of the thicket heading right toward my stand. The big buck was right behind her in a full run.
I had just enough time to click on the scope and pull the hammer back. By that time, the buck was just 15 yards from the stand, still in an all-out run.
I jerked my single-shot H&R to my shoulder, and as soon as I saw the dot on his vitals, I pulled the trigger.
He ran 60 yards to the right, stopped, flicked his tail a few times and went down.
When I walked up to him, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was an old monster with a chocolate rack and a 24 1/4-inch spread. My hand wouldn’t go around the antler at the bottom because the mass was so large.
I immediately called a good friend, Tate Compton, who also was in the woods that day. He had heard my shot and was on his way to assist me with the buck.
If it had not been for that strong 19-year-old helping me, I wouldn’t have been able to drag the buck by myself, not even downhill. At 68 years old, I am not as strong as I used to be.
The buck scored 160 inches and was the biggest deer I have ever seen or shot in my 50-plus years of hunting whitetails.
I have been hunting for a giant buck all my life and finally got him. For all of you out there who haven’t taken your trophy yet, don’t give up. Do your homework and put in your time. Something good will happen eventually.
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