By Wes Frevert
-- On a cold November morning in Cass County, Mo., a red pick up truck rolled quietly through a gate and into the field. As it moved through, the cows watched quietly, accustomed to this early morning traffic. The truck came to a stop, I stepped out and drug out my bag of clothes washed with scent-free detergent the night before. I quickly dressed in the frigid air then I paused to admire the clear sky and multitude of stars. I could never see such a bright night sky even in the small city from where I had just arrived. After exchanging good luck wishes with my hunting partner, I grabbed my Winchester model 70, practically a family heirloom, and headed for my stand.
As I started my walk through an array of fields I began to contemplate my situation. Having been away at school and spending numerous hours bowhunting over crowded public grounds, this was my only morning to hunt on private property with a rifle. This led me to think that maybe my college soccer team's early exit from the post-season tournament was really a blessing in disguise. My thoughts turned to the previous season, my first deer season, when a nice eight-point buck got away due to a misfire. As a result, I came up empty handed that first year.
I was hoping to meet that buck again, with a different result. As I reached the stand, I quietly crept into the woods, climbed the latter and chambered a round. The crisp temperature and ideal wind rallied my optimism and this feeling justified the long drive the previous evening. I knew this stand was golden from the previous year when I had seen a number of does and a few young bucks. Finally, I was on stand at my "home field," where I had wanted to be since September.
As I settled in and waited for the sun to rise, I heard some activity. As I slowly turned, I could just make out a small buck chasing a doe barely 20 yards of my stand. This early activity added to my excitement and anticipation. As the sun slowly rose over a distant tree line, I let out a couple of grunts in the hopes of provoking a challenge from a rutting buck. I saw results within 20 minutes as an eight-point buck passed through some thick cover 30 yards in front of my stand. The buck never gave me a clean shot but I was hoping a little more persuasion would bring the deer back to me.
I belted out a few more grunt calls. I could hear the buck approaching as it crunched through the leaves. My heart began to race and was nearly beating out of my chest when the buck emerged from the thick cover. The deer paused in a clearing only 20 yards from my stand. I drew my rifle. As I attempted to control my breathing and take aim, I noticed that the deer had become wary and was staring behind me and to the left.
I slowly turned my head to investigate and was stunned to see a mature nine pointer headed our direction. Realizing that this deer was obviously bigger and older than my current target, I withdrew my aim. I watched the older buck moved in to challenge the eight-point buck. In that instant, I temporarily forgot about the rifle in my hands. I observed with eager anticipation as they squared off, hoping for a fight. Instead, the smaller buck bowed out and began to walk away. I promptly remembered my rifle and took aim at the dominant buck. I waited for a good shot as the big buck paced directly away from my stand.
After what seemed like forever, though it was probably only a few seconds, the buck presented a perfect quartering away shot. In my excitement, I didn't hear the shot or feel the kick of the rifle. A clean hit took the deer down where it stood.
At first I was mesmerized. It had all happened so quickly, within just over an hour on stand. When I regained my senses, I called my hunting partner to bring the truck. I tried to tell him about my encounter through what I'm sure was rapid, senseless jargon. When he got to the stand he understood my enthusiasm. This was my first deer and the biggest I had ever seen in person. After some pictures, a short drag to the truck, more pictures, a quick lesson in field dressing and more pictures, we were on our way to the processor and then the taxidermist. I have since gotten my mount back from the taxidermist and couldn't be more pleased. It will be a great start for my future trophy room, which I hope, will be full of more stories shared with friends and family.