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No Ground Shrinkage Here

Christopher DuncanBy Christopher Duncan

-- I had just settled into my treestand for a vigilant morning of deer hunting on the next to last day of Wisconsin's firearms season. BOOM! The sound of my father's .30-06 erupted in the morning air. BOOM! Another shot cracked the silence. I was now fully awake, staring intently in the direction from which the thunderous shots had rung out.

I had learned over many years in the deer woods that when you hear a nearby shot, it can be a great chance to see a deer. I waited eagerly in my stand while my heart pounded. I tried to stay calm and anticipate seeing a deer at any moment. A few minutes passed, and I thought maybe my dad took a deer. He's a lucky old bugger.

I turned around and got comfortable again. Just then, I saw movement to my left out of the corner of my eye. I turned slowly to look, and to my surprise I see that it was a buck! I know that at that distance in the early morning light if I can see antlers, it must be a decent buck. The buck was walking slowly through the woods. His majesty of the north woods was ever watchful, always on guard.

There was too much brush between us, and only one small opening at about 85 yards. I put my crosshairs on the opening and tried to remain calm as I waited patiently for the buck to arrive. Forever and a day passed. Then I saw a nose, an ear, neck and then its shoulder. I never looked at the antlers before I squeezed off a single shot just behind the shoulder. The buck dropped instantly, falling directly behind a tree and out of site.

I waited a few minutes before calling out to my dad to come on over. When my dad got to my stand, he told me he had missed. I told him that I didn't. "What did you shoot?" he asked. I replied I wasn't sure, but I thought it was a decent buck - maybe even in the 120-130 range. Because we hunt public land and have never shot a buck over about 112, we were excited to go see it.

As we approached where the buck fell, we split up a little to prepare ourselves for a quick shot if the buck was still alive. I finally saw two long points sticking up in the air, and jokingly said to my dad, "What is he a giant 4-pointer?" My dad had already rounded the tree the buck had fallen behind, and his only response was "You're kidding right?"

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head when I rounded the tree. HUGE, MASSIVE! Those were the thoughts running through my head. I had heard of and experienced ground shrinkage. This was ground explosion! Lying there on the ground was a 9-point buck with four kicker and sticker points and a 20-inch inside spread! The buck measured 148 3/16 B&C, and will probably stand as our family record for some time to come.

It was a great day, and I am glad I got to share it with my dad.

Christopher Duncan
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

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