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Better than Television

FarmerBy Steven K. Farmer Jr.

-- I started hunting in 2000 and had no idea how exciting it can be. I had watched hunting shows on Outdoor Channel, and it looked like a great experience. However, I soon found out that watching a hunting show does not hold a candle to the real thing.
        
My story begins in September 2004. I decided after seeing and hearing about scouting to give it a try. I really wanted to know how the deer in my area travel through the woods. The first couple of days I didn't see a lot of deer. Then I realized I was way too close. I moved farther away from the deer so they could not see or smell me. Two weeks before opening day, I started spotting a lot of small bucks and some nice sized does. Every morning and night at the same time, I went back to watch the deer. I thought that this was going to be a great season.

The opening day of bow season came and went. I didn't see anything worth taking. Two weeks into the season, I was starting to get frustrated. I told myself, "Don't worry, Farmer, you'll get something." This was my first year bowhunting, and I never understood what the big deal was about rut.

This year I finally saw why the rut is a much-anticipated time of the season - I had never seen so many bucks in my life. It was simply awesome to see all the activity. Most of the bucks were spikes to 6-pointers. Bow season was almost over and the firearms season was about to begin. I still hadn't seen a deer worth harvesting because I was holding out to take one that had at least 8 points.

The first week in November I took a nice doe. As I was bringing it out of the woods I noticed a rub and a couple of scrapes. Later that day I went to check them out. I began to put two and two together and decided to move my treestand into the woods instead of keeping it on the wood line.

When I woke on the morning of Nov. 21 something felt different. I got up, put my camo on and went out to the woods. I got in my treestand and waited. The deer weren't moving that morning. That evening they started to move. After watching the deer, I decided that I knew exactly where they were coming in and out of the woods. So once again, I moved my stand to the other side of woods. I went home and went to bed.

The following morning I got up early and had a feeling that there would be fresh deer meat on the table that night. I got dressed and made sure that I had everything I needed. I left the house around 6:15 a.m. and watched an absolutely beautiful morning unfold. Suddenly, I heard a noise. I looked around to see where it was coming from. My heart began to race. I started to shake like a leaf. I looked at my watch, it was almost 9 a.m.

When I looked back up, my heart nearly flew out of my chest. Standing there were two of the biggest bucks I had ever seen. The pair was out of range but moving toward my stand. Something weird was going on. The 10-point buck was all puffed up, with its hair standing on end. I finally realized that the 8-pointer was invading the bigger buck's territory and the 10-pointer wanted him out. Cool, I had never seen two bucks go at it.

Losing myself in the events taking place, I did not realize where the two bucks headed. I finally gathered my senses, and tried with all my might to steady my hands. "Man, this is taking forever. Why isn't he getting away from that other buck," I thought.

Then it hit me, all I had to do was grunt. I have never been so excited. I could barely function. Finally, I made a soft, deep grunt. The two bucks stopped in their tracks. I already had my gun lifted, with the crosshairs on the 10-pointer. I aimed just behind its shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger.

Immediately, I looked up and had no idea if I had made the 67- to 69-yard shot. At first I didn't see anything. A bad feeling came over me. Then I saw some tall grass moving around, and in it was the rear end of the buck sticking up in the air.

I knew I had shot a big buck. My heart was pounding so hard, and I was shaking so badly that I had to sit down. I didn't want to fall out of my treestand. I regained my composure, climbed down and tracked the buck to a small ravine. I had finally taken a monster buck!

Steven K. Farmer Jr.
Warsaw, Indiana

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