By Christopher Neal
-- During the 2007 season, my hunting partner and I were given the opportunity to hunt a tract of land that is to be developed into a residential subdivision next year. This land was once a hunting lease that had not been hunted in several years. The land borders the city limits, and many large, 140-plus-sized deer are in the area.
One of the other hunters with us took a 145-inch deer on opening weekend. We hunted all season long and took a few of does, but struck out on taking any bucks. My friend saw a massive buck walk out of the woods into the edge of the clearing where his stand was located, but he never got a clean shot and the deer stepped back in to the woods. He did notice that the deer had a massive wound on the upper part of his neck that was healing and not affecting the deer's life.
On the last day of the season, I was pulled to the field for one more hunt. Frustrated and tired from the long days of hunting and no results, I sat in my stand and waited until we could leave to get some breakfast. As I sat in my stand, my friend sent me a text message of a picture of a coyote that had walked down the road not more than 10 feet in front of his stand. As I looked at the picture and composed a reply, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye ... a huge buck walking broadside into the middle of my field.
I got my gun up and sighted the deer in. I felt like I was making so much noise that morning, but the buck never looked in my direction or paused to pay attention. Even when I called so it would stop, it never slowed down. I set the crosshairs on its shoulder and squeezed the trigger of my .243.
I was so excited and pumped with adrenalin that I couldn't even send my friend a text message back about the deer. I decided to just call him on the phone. His words were simple, "Stay in the blind!"
Shortly, I heard him shoot and just knew he had finished off my deer. Over the next 45 minutes, I got several text messages saying it was a spike and stay in your stand.
Finally, I saw my friend at the opening of my field and ran and told him where the deer was, and where it ran. We started searching for it. We found a small amount of blood, but there were large ruts in the ground in the direction the deer ran. We split up when we hit the woods, and I found myself walking a deer trail leading in the direction of my friend's stand location. Suddenly, I looked up and on the ground laid a huge pile of antlers. I don't remember if there was a deer attached at that time, but there were my antlers!
Sure enough, at the opening of my friend's clearing where he had been hunting lay the largest deer I have killed ... a nice 9-point buck. When my friend arrived at my location, we both looked toward his stand and about 30 feet away lay the spike that he had shot just minutes after I shot my buck.