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My Very First Buck

Carol BarnettBy Carol Barnett

-- Although I would go on hunts with other people, I was not a hunter myself. Then I became fascinated with crossbows. A friend who is a lifelong hunter convinced me to get a crossbow and go hunting with him.

I was skeptical of taking a deer on that first trip, but I sat quietly on the stand seat, waiting patiently.

Finally, a nice-sized doe stepped steeped out. I made a good shot, dropping it just 40 yards from my stand. That was the start of my passion for hunting.

Taking that first deer was thrilling, but one I dropped on November 18, 2007 almost caused me to faint. Western Kentucky has some large bucks, but I had never seen one like this in the wild.

It was opening day of modern gun season. We were hunting a 60-acre farm. We’d set up our tent blind and waited and watched for the deer to start moving. When it got too dark to see through my riflescope, we decided to call it a day.

We returned to the farm a week later, hunting from the same stand. Two hours into the hunt, a big doe appeared, but did not offer a clear shot.

Frustrated, I was ready to call it a day and head to the house. As we were walking back to the truck, I spotted four deer, one of which was a good-size buck.

I raised my rifle. Looking through the scope, all I could see were huge antlers.

“That’s a good buck,” my friend gushed. “Shoot it!

I clicked off the safety, aimed, held my breath and pulled the trigger.

I watched in hopes seeing the buck fall, but all four deer ran into the woods in different directions. By now it was almost dark. I thought I’d missed.

Dejected, we walked across the field to check for any sign of blood or hair. We looked for quite a while and decided to go back to the house since it was getting late and it was going to be cold that night. We decided to return early the next day to try to find a blood trail.

The next morning, we headed back to the field. At the woods line, we found a small splatter of blood on the weeds. We pulled out orange survey tape and started marking the blood trail. My heart started pounding when we came upon larger pools of blood as we walked.

At the top of a small hill, I spotted my prize. “There he is! Oh, my God!” I started shaking and mumbling.

We pulled out my buck of a lifetime and looked at each other in amazement. A true trophy, it is my first deer taken with a rifle.

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