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Long Shot

By Warren Hill

Terry Simcox of Chemainus, British Columbia
Terry Simcox of Chemainus, British Columbia, is as proud of his 21-pointer today as he was when he shot it 20 years ago. The Manitoba buck, though very much an Irregular, is extremely symmetrical. The overall side-to-side
difference is 1 5/8 inches. Photo by: Warren Hill

Up until 1987, Les Gustafson and Terry Simcox roughed it whenever they hunted the abandoned farm and its surrounding ravines, spending nights in a tent. But that year, the pair had access to an abandoned farmhouse and a portable electric heater.

Life was good for the two deer hunters. And it got even better in the days that followed.

They arrived in the Assiniboine River valley around noon on opening day of Manitoba's general firearms season. For their first evening hunt, the two hunters chose to watch an alfalfa field that belonged to Les' relative.

While the field they picked was not that large (about 300 yards across and 200 deep), a slight rise in elevation in the middle prevented Terry and Les from seeing each other beyond an occasional glimpse of orange caps.

With only about 15 minutes of daylight remaining, Terry spotted a mature doe emerging from the timber. He knew from her flighty actions that a suitor was most likely on her trail. And, sure enough, a high-racked buck soon appeared, nose to the ground, following her footsteps.

Hunter: Terry Simcox
Up until 1987, Les Gustafson and Terry Simcox roughed it whenever they hunted the abandoned farm and its surrounding ravines, spending nights in a tent. But that year, the pair had access to an abandoned farmhouse and a portable electric heater. Photo by: Warren Hill

Terry was certain that the doe was in heat. While he could clearly see the pair of deer moving toward Les, his friend saw only a portion of the rack bobbing across the horizon as the buck pursued the doe across the field. Terry wondered why his partner wasn't shooting.

Meanwhile, the doe continued to lead her boyfriend around the field, and Les eventually got a chance for a shot.

At the rifle's report, the buck turned and popped back over the ridge and out of sight of Les. Terry, on the other hand, had a clear view of the fatally-hit deer and watched through his scope as the buck returned to the tree line, where it collapsed and died.

Les walked with confidence to the field's crown, where he was certain he'd see his downed buck. But when he crested the ridge, the deer was NOT on the other side.

Terry, who knew exactly where the buck expired, decided to have little fun.

"What are you looking for?" he yelled to Les.

"My buck," he replied.

"You missed it clean," Terry said. "I watched it run all the way back to the edge of the ravine, tail up ... all the way."

With darkness upon them, Terry walked to within 15 feet of the buck and called to his partner. Les, by that time, was sickened by the thought of having missed - something he never did. But as he neared the buck, Terry shone his flashlight onto the fallen animal.

Les went from zero to 60 in a flash!

Les' buck was never officially scored, but it would no doubt qualify for the record books.

It was a lot colder the next morning as Terry punched noisily through the snow's newly hardened crust. He realized that he would have to find a spot and sit tight if he had any chance of getting a shot.

"It definitely wasn't a day for still-hunting," he said.

As the sun began to climb, Terry heard a distant shot and wondered what the target was. While watching the field behind him, he soon spotted a huge buck trotting along the ridge, about 500 yards away.

The buck was traversing the field at an angle and getting closer, moving too fast for Terry to even think about taking a shot. But when the buck neared the edge of the ravine, it slowed to a walk. Terry knew that if the buck went down into the ravine, he might never see it again.

The buck was now about 400 yards away.

Terry took a solid rest on a nearby tree and, with the crosshairs hovering just over the deer's back and about a foot in front of its nose, he squeezed the trigger. The sound of a solid hit echoed back to Terry, who chambered a second cartridge as the buck dove into the ravine. The sound of the deer crashing through river bottom thickets followed.

Read More Stories From RACK MagazineTerry discovered ample sign of a good hit. But his smile faded when he reached the edge of the valley and saw the buck. It was lying at the bottom of the 20-foot slope. And it looked as if it had somehow sheared off the entire left main beam.

Terry was frantic as he slid down the steep embankment. Moments later, worry gave way to elation. The rack was intact!

Later, when Les had joined him, Terry had a hard time shaking the image of a broken antler. While Les used his truck to pull the buck up the slope, Terry walked along behind, holding up the rack so it wouldn't get snagged and break.

Hunter: Terry Simcox
Official Score: 191 5/8"
Composite Score: 215 1/8"
Centerfire Rifle
Irregular

-- Reprinted from the July 2007 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine

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