By Norman Wines
-- It was Monday evening, Nov. 26, 2007, three days into the Maryland deer season and I had not seen a deer all day. My spirits were about as low as they could get as the shooting light began to fade on a disappointing hunt.
Just as I began to think about gathering up my gear, I saw a brute of a deer moving through the thicket. I was hunting state-owned land in the Chesapeake Forest on a small parcel that had been leased to our hunting club for more than 35 years.
It had been a long day, and you get to a point where any movement seems to be a deer and you get tired of being disappointed when it isn’t. Then out stepped the buck of my dreams. I couldn't believe my eyes and was saying to myself, "No way!" as I began to shake with excitement.
I brought up my rifle, a Remington 7600 in .30-06 caliber, and tried to find an opening in the thicket. I began to feel frantic but finally found an opening over the buck’s vitals and immediately pulled the trigger.
I must have hit tree limbs or something in the thicket, because the buck didn’t even flinch -- not surprising considering my nerves. When I settled back into the scope following the recoil of the shot, the buck was standing broadside on an old fire road at about 35 yards. I didn’t waste any time and fired again.
It appeared to be a good shot, but the buck trotted off and stopped at about 75 yards. I couldn’t help myself and shot a third time, causing the buck to drop to the ground. After taking about 10 minutes to settle down and hearing my father calling me on our portable radio, I regained my composure, picked up the radio and told him the tale.
Next I got out of my stand and started to the location of the downed buck. I had my father meet me since the buck was between our stands. As I approached and could see how big it really was, I couldn’t believe it. Dad and I stood there in amazement.
Despite what you might think about Maryland deer, this area in Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore is known for large deer.
Even so, this is one of the largest, if not the largest, deer ever shot on the property. What really surprised me is that no member of our club had ever seen this buck. There are other hunting clubs and private landowners hunting on three sides bordering our land, and this deer made it almost three days into the hunting season.
I had always wanted to take a buck of this caliber, and now that I have, it’s hard to put into words how it feels.
It was a very special time in my hunting career, and to share it with my father was unbelievable. I will cherish this hunt and experience for the rest of my life. Once field-dressed and tagged, I got the deer to camp, where I was congratulated by the other hunt club members, including my brother.
It is appropriate that the photo shows both my father (Maynard) and me with the buck.
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