By Thomas Carson
-- This isn’t your average hunting story of how I bagged a 13-point buck. To me, it is unbelievably funny. The average hunter might have a hard time believing the story, but I assure you that every word is true. While you read, keep in mind that I’m a rookie. This was my first time hunting ever.
It was the first day of deer season, and I was by myself in the woods of my hometown Weston, Mo.
I returned to my deer stand at 3 p.m. after an unsuccessful morning. By about 4 o’clock, I began to doze off when I heard sounds to my right. I slowly turned and saw a buck walking cautiously with its head down.
I stood up very slowly, but the buck immediately stopped and looked my way. He seemed to be looking right at me. I didn’t move a muscle and I tried to control my breathing. A few seconds later, the buck went back to walking.
I raised my .30-06 and took aim. When the buck stepped into an opening, I took the shot. To my surprise, I missed. The round went over him because I pulled the rifle when I fired; I jerked the trigger instead of squeezing it. I didn’t apply the basic principles I was taught for 20 years in the U.S. Army.
My hunting friends later told me I was suffering from Buck Fever. All I know is that I quickly bolted another cartridge, watching the brass of the expended round tumble in the air as I chambered another round. While all this was happening, the buck stood there looking around and trying to figure out where the deafening blast had come from.
I guess he figured he knew it was safe where he had already been, so the buck began to head back the way he came. I got him fixed in my sights and I squeezed the trigger. “Click!”
I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” along with many other things. I quickly realized I hadn’t pulled the bolt back all the way, preventing the new shell to be picked up properly. To my surprise, the buck was still meandering, walking with his head down.
Lady luck was on my side, and I ensured a round was chambered as I worked the bolt a second time. The buck was still walking slowly away as I lined him up in the sights again. I led him a little and let him walk into the crosshairs. I squeezed the trigger and was rewarded with a healthy “Bang!” this time. The buck took off running.
I had no idea if the bullet hit home or not, but I listened to the buck moving through the woods until I heard a thud. I figured he either dropped or jumped over some downed trees and was gone.
I got down from the treestand and went to where the buck was when I shot (the second time). There was no blood, so I thought I missed again. Just to be sure, I looked at the brush going north and followed the trail for about 30 yards or so.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up to see my buck on the ground.
I dragged him out and got him home. Both the property owner and my neighbor, who has been hunting for 19 years, said it weighed about 250 pounds. Both said they hadn’t seen a buck that big in this part of Missouri.
I have to admit that I had no idea what I had taken. I just assumed it was an average buck. Since then I’ve been told many times that it’s a buck worth mounting. Yes, he’s going on a wall in the house, somewhere of my wife’s choosing.
That was my early Christmas present, and it’s a story I will be telling my grandchildren.
-- Tom Carson / Weston, Mo.