Cancer survivor makes good on self-promise
By Jim Steinmetz
Before I get to the story of my buck, I have to tell a little bit about what I went through and what transpired before this hunt.
I'm from Germantown, Ohio, a small rural town in southwestern Montgomery County. In January of 2009, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
As a man of strong faith, I'd been praying for help. It was at a Wednesday night church service when my pastor taught me that I should be praying for specific things instead of generalities, so I prayed for a surgeon who would remove my cancer and leave me complete.
One of my doctors had given me a book to read, "Surviving Prostate Cancer" by Dr. Patrick Walsh.
Dr. Walsh performed General Norman Schwarzkopf's surgery, as well as treating kings and well-known men from around the world. He's the world's premier authority on nerve sparing surgery.
In Dr. Walsh's bio, I noticed he volunteered for his church, and his e-mail address was in there, so I sent him a message that night with my situation.
I never dreamed I'd actually hear from him, but the very next morning he replied, "Come see me. I can fix you."
The following Monday, I was on my way to Johns Hopkins. To make a long story short, Dr. Walsh was right; I have full function of everything and have been cancer-free ever since!
This all had to be said before I told you about my bucket list buck.
During recovery, I spent a lot of time watching Outdoor Channel, most of the time on painkillers, with a phone and a credit card. That's a bad combination.
I bought all the latest hunting toys: camo clothing, a Hunter Safety System harness, Wildgame Innovations trail cams and Barnett's best crossbow.
Shortly after watching "The Bucket List" with Jack Nicholson, I decided to make my own list, which included getting back into deer hunting.
I've always hunted small game and I'm an avid pistol guy. I bought a .357 in 1978 and am a very good shot with it. I decided I was going to get my first deer with it.
I left work on December 4 and traveled to a 100-acre urban farm owned by my good friends Charlie and Janet Holderman.
About 4 p.m., a doe came around my weak side, which perked me up because I'd planned to shoot any legal deer that afternoon. She circled and popped out about 30 yards away, walking straight to me.
I was pretty calm until I heard limbs snapping and the biggest buck I'd ever seen came running out!
My pulse went from 60 to 150 in one second flat!
I tried to cock my pistol, but the cylinder wouldn't rotate. Oh, no!
I didn't want to take my eyes off the monster, but I had to look down and see if my coat or something had jammed it.
I soon realized I simply had a death grip on the cylinder, preventing it from rotating. Duh!
I took a deep breath and tried to relax.
Now the buck was trotting away at 68 yards and about to jump a fence and be long gone.
I bleated, something I learned during my recovery, and was surprised when the buck stopped to look my way.
It was quartering away steeply, but I was very confident in my ability, so I shot right behind the ribs so the bullet would take out the opposite front shoulder.
The buck flinched, then practically flew away. I waited until dark, got down from my stand and backed out quietly.
I told my wife I'd just shot the biggest deer I'd ever seen, probably in the 200-inch range.
I waited until morning to search, which made for a sleepless night, of course.
Early the next morning, I found a blood trail like it has been set down with a fire hose; 200 yards later, there it was!
When the buck field dressed at 192 pounds, I was mostly focusing on all the venison I was about to get and not really thinking about antler size.
A friend of mine told me I HAD to get it mounted, so I had a taxidermist pick up the head from the processor.
Late that night, the taxidermist phoned me, seemingly beside himself when he shouted, "Why didn't you tell me it was THIS big?!"
He hooked me up with BTR master scorer Ed Waite, who measures for Buckmasters.
My buck's official score is a 169 inches with a 25 1/8 inside spread, giving it a composite score of 194 1/8. You can see it on page 360 of the current Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records book!