By Tracy Chrisley
-- I've been hunting for more than 15 years and have taken quite a few really good bucks. However, that opening-day buck has eluded me. In years past, I have found many good spots to hunt with a lot of buck sign, but would always leave opening day empty-handed.
I would listen to all my friends' stories about how they had been scouting, found scrapes, or rubs and then harvested their opening-day bucks. It got to the point where I didn't think much about going hunting on opening day. I figured it would be a waste of another vacation day. But this year, little did I know things would be different. Don't get me wrong - there was excitement about going hunting, but in the back of my mind I was still thinking I was going to waste another day.
As we arrived at our leased property I had many spots in mind, but I just couldn't decide which one to hunt. My dad was going to hunt a spot where I took a nice buck last season. I decided to go to a spot beyond where he was. As we were headed to his stand, we passed a place where we'd seen a lot of deer sign the year before. We stopped at his tree and talked for a few moments. All the while I could not get that spot we passed out of my mind. So I told my dad that I was going to hunt in that area that looked promising from last year. I was second-guessing myself the whole way back to the spot.
After placing my stand on the tree and climbing up, I sat there thinking that a big buck was going to walk out at the other place I was going to hunt. As it started getting daylight, I could hear the woods coming to life. Birds, squirrels and even turkeys sounded off in the distance. Acorns were falling directly in front of me, and the squirrels were taking full advantage of the situation.
I had put everything out of my mind just sitting there while enjoying the peacefulness of the woods, when all at once I heard something to my left. I looked to see a deer standing in the edge of a thicket but I could not tell what it was. Thinking it was probably just a doe, I didn't get too excited. Then the deer stepped into the open and I could see one side of its rack. I could tell the buck had a wide rack, but I didn't want to focus on its antlers.
As I raised my Browning .270, the buck stepped behind a tree, waited for a moment and walked toward the acorns. A nicely placed shot right behind the shoulder ended my opening day blues. The 8-point, 170-pound buck turned out to be the biggest deer I have ever taken.
Abbeville, South Carolina
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