By Richard West
-- After passing on the first eight does, I couldn’t help thinking how big and fat doe number nine looked. It was Nov. 21, 2008, the opening day of shotgun season in central Illinois, and since I hadn’t yet seen a buck, I decided the doe would fill my freezer rather nicely.
She came over the hill at about 65 yards, turned and presented a perfect broadside shot. At the sound of the shot, she bolted straight at my tree, even running into a few before dropping over. I put my gun down to compose myself and took a drink of chocolate milk.
I’m happy whenever I take any deer, and I kept looking down to admire the doe. When I looked up, there was a 10-pointer standing there at 50 yards, also staring at my doe. "Uh oh," I thought. There I was directly in line with the doe and nothing in my hand but a bottle of chocolate milk.
Moving as slowly as I could, I put down the bottle and eased up the gun. Believe it or not, that simple exchange took seven minutes. About the time I got the gun to my shoulder, the buck decided he’d seen enough and turned to his right to bolt.
I put the crosshairs on the shoulder and pulled the trigger. It might not sound dramatic, but the buck didn’t go far. It was a good double-lung shot that also took out the bottom of the heart.
The 80-yard walk to the deer seemed like a mile, but I was more than happy when I got to the buck. It was the best deer I had ever seen in person, except for the ones my partners always seemed to get every year. I guess last year was my turn!
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