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Dinging and Coughing Fool 20-pointer

SpencerBy Josh Spencer

-- On Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, I woke up at 5 a.m. and went outside to see what the weather was like in Mt. Sterling, Ky.  It was cold, there was only a slight breeze, and it was pitch black. Conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. I dressed, grabbed my rifle and drove to my favorite hunting spot.

I got to the woods, got out of my truck, sprayed myself with fresh earth scent and walked slowly to my stand. I got there well before daylight, climbed the tree and settled in for the hunt. After daylight came, I started looking for deer. From 6:00 until 8:30, I saw only squirrels and three other hunters on the adjacent property.

Ready for a change of scenery, I got down and walked through the woods to my dad’s stand. It was very dry. With every step, I made a loud crunching noise, which didn’t improve my outlook.

Once I got to the stand, I debated whether to get in it or go ahead and leave for the day. It was still early, so I climbed into the stand. As I was pulling up my gun, it hit the ladder and made a loud "DING."

After I had my gun, I put down the rifle rest, which also made a loud noise. Everything was going wrong. I almost got down out of the stand, but, for some reason, I decided to stay. I got out my antlers and rattled them for about 40 seconds and then followed with a few grunts.

As I was putting my antlers and grunt call away, I dropped the antlers. They hit the ladder before reaching the ground.

Not long afterward, I started to get a tickle in my throat. I swallowed about 10 times, but it was no use. I coughed twice, further guaranteeing that my morning hunt would be futile.

About two minutes after all that commotion, however, I heard leaves rustling behind me and turned to see a 20-point bruiser standing 15 yards away. I slowly turned, stared down the barrel’s iron sights at the deer and squeezed the trigger. The monster ran about 10 yards and collapsed.
It just goes to show: No matter how bad things look, your luck can change in the blink of an eye.

-- Josh Spencer

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