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First Deer’s a Big ’Un

Cheryl SartinBy Cheryl Sartin

-- Although I’d hunted for six years with my husband in Stone County, Ark., the only thing I ever hit was a tree. Last year, he got me my own gun, a bolt-action Stevens rifle in .22-250.

We hunted the national forest and on our own land. I shot at a turkey and missed, but no legal deer came my way.

Some good friends let us hunt on their property, but only on the west side. Recently they moved and gave us exclusive rights to hunt the land, so we took advantage of the offer.

On opening day, I sat in the tree stand from 5:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. I saw a lot of does and had a doe permit, but I wanted my first whitetail to have antlers.

I waited and waited and saw no bucks. Just I was ready to call it quits, a buck came walking in with his head down. I was so excited, I couldn't get the safety off my gun.

Not wanting to scare the buck, I waited until he got farther into the field and pushed my gun’s safety off.

My heart was racing 90 miles an hour when I found the deer in my scope and aimed behind the shoulder. He went down when I fired, but immediately got up again. I reloaded and shot once more.

Hearing the gunfire, my husband called me on his radio. He said he wasn’t sure it was me because the shots were so fast, it sounded like they were from a semiauto.

When my husband arrived, I told him the buck had run into the woods but I’d heard him stop not too far away.

We started searching for the deer. My husband went to the top of the hill; I was near the bottom. He scared another deer up and went after it, thinking it was mine. All of a sudden my buck came down the hill. My husband yelled “Shoot!” and I yelled back, “I can’t see it!”

My husband ran toward the bottom of the hill and was looking at the fence on the property line. No way the injured deer buck could have jumped the fence, he thought. Then he looked down and around him. The buck was right there looking at him. 

He jumped back – the deer was that close -- and looked at those antlers. He didn’t want to be stuck with them, so he finished the animal.

Subscribe Today!When I joined my husband, he asked if I knew the buck was that big. I told him no. He said that in the 27 years he'd been hunting, he'd never gotten one that large. I was in shock.

The buck looks nice next to my husband’s mount, only mine is bigger, scoring 133 5/8 Boone & Crockett and 144 3/8 in Buckmasters’ BTR.

I am still in awe of the fact that I got the big one first time around, but am forever grateful for the hunting lessons my husband gave me. I wouldn’t have taken the buck without his help.

We have many envious friends, mostly male, I might add.

--Cheryl Sartin

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