By Norman L. Wines
-- It was a crisp and breezy, 45-degree Nov. 26 -- three days into Maryland's 2007 season -- and I had not seen a single deer all day. With dusk fast approaching, however, I saw a brute of a buck moving through the thicket.
I was hunting state-owned Chesapeake Forest land in Dorchester County, the infamous Eastern Shore region, leased to our hunting club for more than 35 years. I was looking at one of the largest, if not THE largest deer ever seen on the property.
None of our club's members had ever seen this buck. Turns out, nobody else had either. I certainly never would've dreamed it would wind up 45 yards from yours truly.
It had been a long day, and I had reached the point where I was almost imagining deer. So when this buck appeared, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was saying to myself, “No way,” the whole time.
Fighting off the shakes, I raised my Remington Model 7600 (.30-06) and tried to find an opening in the thicket. When the deer stepped into a window, I shot.
Whether nerves or tree limbs were to blame, I missed. When I realized that, I looked down again and saw the buck standing broadside on an old fire road a mere 35 yards away.
The second shot appeared to connect. The buck trotted off and stopped at about 75 yards. Even though it might not have been necessary, I couldn't chance its getting away and shot a third time.
The buck dropped.
Ten minutes later, after I'd settled down a bit, I heard my father, Maynard, calling me on the portable radio. After telling him what I'd shot, I got out of my stand and started toward the downed buck.
My father met me there, as the deer had fallen between our stands. We were both amazed at its size in both body and antler. The 14-pointer's dressed weight was 183 pounds.
Once field-dressed and tagged, I got the deer to camp and was congratulated by the other members and my brother.
Shooting a buck of this magnitude was very special. Having my father, brother and friends there made it even more unforgettable.
--Norman L. Wines