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Buck Fever Brings on Asthma Attack

By Judy Urbatsch

-- We moved from Alaska, where my family and grandchildren live, to my husband's home state of North Dakota three years ago. This saddened me some, but you have to move where the work is. My husband is an avid hunter, and when he is not working, he is hunting birds, deer, antelope and whatever is in season. So I figured if I want to spend some time with him, I should take up hunting. My husband built me a .243 on a Mauser action. The rifle shot well, but I had a hard time working the bolt when I got a little excited. The first year I hunted all season and shot a mule deer doe and a white-tailed doe. The bucks were hard to find. I told my husband that I wanted a buck the next year.

The second year, I did not have as much time to hunt as I was working at a youth assessment center. I told my husband any buck would do for the first one. As I had trouble with the Mauser, we had decided I needed a new rifle.

After handling several rifles, I settled on a .270 Mossberg SS1. This rifle has an automatic safety and no hammer to cock. My husband said this rifle is almost foolproof. That's just the gun for me!

On the second day of the season, my husband was glassing a deer and he said that it was a buck. The deer took off running and my husband said wait. It was too late. I had all ready shot.

As luck would have it, I hit the buck in the neck and down it went. It was a little 4-pointer, and I vowed then that next year I would get a wallhanger.

The next year, during the 2007 North Dakota youth season, my husband took his nephew, Sawyer, out in the woods. Sawyer took a nice 3x4 mule deer. I accused my husband of loving his nephew more then me as he got him a bigger buck than mine from the prior year.

We did not draw a buck tag this year, but we own some farmland that allows us to get a gratis tag to hunt on our own property. We applied for one and got it. My husband scouted the farm and said there were a couple of decent bucks around, and if I was lucky, I might get one.

We sighted-in my rifle. I use the Remington reduced recoil loads for my .270 Mossberg. The first day at the farm was hectic as deer were running about but none were standing still, so no shots were fired. I got up early the next morning and made some coffee for my husband and packed a lunch and out the door to the farm we went. We saw several bucks, and I missed a nice one just leaving the property.

Then the action slowed, but we didn't have much activity so we decided to have lunch. Appropriately, I had a deer salami sandwich. I told my husband that I was going to nap a little while, as he glassed the surrounding area. I just had fallen asleep when he woke me up and said there was a nice buck crossing. I woke up in a hurry and found a rest, but the deer was still moving. My husband let out a whistle and the buck stopped. I quickly placed the crosshairs right behind the shoulder and touched one off. My husband said you hit him. The deer ran out of sight.

As I have asthma and a pacemaker, this means that I can't get around like I used to, so my husband ran over the hill and watched the buck dart into a grassy gorge. He signaled for me to come over, then we slowly followed the blood trail through the grass. I was having a hard time keeping up, so my husband told me to keep my eyes open and he would go ahead.

He was working his way slowly through the grass when I saw the buck raise his head. My husband had walked right by it. I hollered at Don and said, "I see the buck."

Don told me to finish it off, but the deer was right between us. As soon as he moved out of harm's way, I shot the deer through the chest. I got so excited, I ran over there as fast as I could. This caused me to have an asthma attack, and I could hardly breathe. My husband said nice deer, but next year, you are on your own.

We cleaned the deer and took him down to Scenic Sports to get it weighed and entered in the local deer contest. The buck field-dressed at 175 pounds and scored 149 inches. I am now waiting for the taxidermist to mount the buck. I have a spot for him on the wall and lasting memories from this fall. Hopefully we can draw a mule deer tag next year so I can add to my growing collection. I put in for antelope also. This hunting stuff is kind of fun.

Judy Urbatsch
Williston, N.D.

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