By Dan Kinsinger
-- The 2008 deer season started out rather exciting. The archery season had finally arrived, and all my gear was ready and laid out for opening morning.
I was too excited to get much sleep, but I was up and at my hunting spot 45 minutes before light. As light grew, I began to see deer movement. Several does came by shortly before an 8-point walked to within 8 yards before stopping behind some bushes.
I drew my bow, waiting for a clear shot. I had just one chance, but the buck was headed right for a small opening. Then, just three steps from certain death, it looked right at me and took off into the brush. That was my only encounter with a buck the entire archery season.
With rifle season fast approaching, I began to get pumped up again. Then I got that news that my college professors had scheduled two tests on the season opener — talk about inconsiderate! My first chance at a buck with a rifle would have to wait until the first Friday of the season.
I took my tests and, a few days later on Friday, was in place for my hunt. I sat from 2-5 p.m. and didn’t see a thing. "Saturday will be the day," I kept telling myself.
On my way into my stand the next morning, I bumped several deer and heard them run over the ridge. My heart began to pound, just knowing there were deer in the area. At about 8 a.m. I saw several does running along the bottom of the ridge. At 8:30, a hunter below me whom I didn’t even know was there shot a 7-pointer that was heading right for me.
That’s the way it goes sometimes, so I offered to help drag the gentleman’s deer out, but he said I should head back to my spot, telling me about a monster buck he had seen there in the archery season. I took his advice and got settled back in.
At about 9:45, I heard a twig snap. I grabbed my Remington .270 and looked around for the source of the noise. There was a deer moving into the open, and my heart took off as I caught my first glimpse of antler. It was a big buck about 60 yards in front of me.
I tried to calm down, concentrating on the shot and not the antlers. Despite my self-coaching, the shot felt rushed and I immediately thought I had missed. The buck took off, and just as I was about to get him in the scope again, he stopped and toppled over!
I called my dad, and he then called my three brothers, but I couldn’t wait for help to arrive. I began to walk up to the buck, but broke into a sprint when I got to within 50 yards. It was the biggest rack I had ever seen in my life and had to be the buck the other hunter had told me about.
Dad and two of my brothers helped me drag it out to the field by our cabin. When my oldest brother appeared at the top of the hill, he about fell over at the sight of the buck. We took pictures for about an hour before taking it to the taxidermist — something I had always hoped to do but never expected. It was a hunt of a lifetime, and I will never forget it.