By Chris Hinds
-- This is the story of my first buck, well for that matter it was my first deer period. Growing up, I lived in the epitome of small-town America. As you know or can imagine, rural southern Oklahoma was abundant with hunting land. At least this was the case before leasing hunting land became as popular as female pop stars forgetting to put on their skivvies.
Even so, I didn't hunt much growing up because my parents divorced early and my dad didn't get many chances to get away from work to take me. On the upside, my best friend's parents owned the local sporting goods store and hunter check station. Every year we were there to see the deer and hear the stories of our local hunters.
A few years later, I married my lovely wife. As luck would have it, she has a wonderful family I now call my own. Her family also has some of the best hunting land in southern Oklahoma. Finally, I was going to get the chance to make my own memories. Her dad took me out a few times and put me on some nice deer, but I had already decided that my first would be something to tell the grandkids about.
Four days of muzzleloader season had passed, and I was beginning to wonder if the grandkids would mind if I took something just a hair smaller than a beast. I went out with my soon-to-be brother-in-law and left his dad at home. On the way to the place, the thought slowly crept into my head that no one would be there to sit in my father-in-law's stand. I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't watch his field for him in his absence, just to make sure no poachers happened in on him.
My mind was made up. I was going to be the future son-in-law that every father wishes for. So I grabbed my muzzleloader and set out to be the protector of his food plots. The fact that he had told me about the nice buck he had been seeing hadn't even crossed my mind. I was watching out for the greater good.
After seeing deer from the time I entered his field, I decided to have a little snack. Around 11 a.m., I looked up from my honeybun to see a buck standing across the field about 60 yards away. I couldn't see its rack very well because it was obscured by some brush, but from what I could see, he wasn't quite big enough. I continued eating and watching to see what it would do when it took a couple steps out, and I realized I had been looking at a small clump of branches, not its rack.
Great googly moogly! He's a shooter!
I dropped my snack and threw my gun up like I was being drawn down on by a wild West gunslinger. I knocked over my pack, my soda pop, and I think a couple of trees in the process. My excitement could probably be heard in the next county.
If you have ever heard any one say it was meant to be, well this was the time. The buck only lifted its head for a moment to see what the commotion was all about then went right on back to grazing. I tried to calm myself as I looked through my sights at my long awaited dream. I kept telling myself, "Quit breathing so hard. He's gonna hear you. Squeeze the trigger. Make a good shot." KABOOM! I saw my buck run off just before the dreadful cloud of "where did he go smoke" rose.
I thought to myself, "All right Chris just sit here. Don't get in a hurry. I don't want to push him." This was all going through my mind as I played an Olympic track star hurdling the blind to get to my big boy. I ran a 4.4 40-yard dash across the field and stopped where he had been standing. Now just follow the trail and won't they all be proud? Ummmm, no trail.
My brother-in-law had heard the shot and quickly headed toward my direction to see what I had gotten. Again no trail, no deer, must be a no hit! After a few hours of searching, my brother-in-law informed me that I had missed. My heart immediately took up residence in my gut, and the thought of how I would be the talk of deer camp quickly dwindled.
After an hour or so of sulking, hope started brewing. I though maybe the deer just didn't bleed, and maybe we just overlooked it. I had remembered watching a show the night before where a hunter had shot a deer and after being shot the deer did a complete circle and came right back to where it was shot. That's it! I once again flew across the field and resumed my search. Ten ... 20 ... 30 minutes ... nothing.
As I walked back to the field, I noticed a small thicket about 20 yards from where my deer had been standing, but in the opposite direction from where it ran. "Give it up man, not gonna happen," I thought. the thicket drew me in closer and closer. I yelled, "Praise the Lord!!!" I patted myself on the back. When my brother-in-law showed back up, I began to inform him about how he should never have doubted my superb abilities. My grandchildren could once again look up at there old grandpop and shower him with admiration.
Ten years later, we still have no kids much less grandkids, and I have realized that my big deer wasn't the biggest buck in the woods, but regardless it will forever be my nine points of pure perfection.
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