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From Ducks to (First) Buck

GrubbsBy Joseph Grubbs

-- Thanks to a cold front that moved in the night before, Saturday morning, Nov. 22, 2006, was brisk and wet. A buddy and I were staying in the hunting cabin we’d built a couple of years earlier.

We rarely get time off to hunt together, so a little rain wasn’t enough to keep us indoors. We left the cabin about 5 a.m. and arrived at our parking spot about 45 minutes later. After getting our gear out of the truck, we shook hands and wished each other good luck.

When I neared my stand, a big old oak tree had fallen during the nighttime storm, forcing me to travel a little out of my way to reach it. I was carrying my 12-gauge Remington 870 stoked with 3-inch, double-mag buckshot.

About three hours after I’d settled in, I heard something under my stand. When I looked down, I saw a couple of ducks – not surprising, as I was hunting in a swamp. Less than 30 minutes had passed when I spotted a massive buck.

The deer had no clue I was there, and it couldn’t wind me. I slowly raised my shotgun and, with shaking hands, aimed for its left shoulder and pulled the trigger. That knocked the buck to its knees. When it stood back up, a second load anchored it. The deer fell like a dead tree.

Afterward, I could do nothing but sit there. I was in shock at the antlers’ mass. That I’d just shot my first buck didn’t help matters.

After my pulse rate returned to normal, I got down and went to see it up close. About the time I reached it, my buddy whistled. He’d heard the shots and decided to come investigate.

When we got it back to the cabin, the scales showed 210 pounds. It was an ancient buck with not a tooth in its head.

--Joseph Grubbs

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