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The Farm

By Dustin Flaharty

Dustin FlahartyIt was the start of a new archery season, I was feeling pretty confident because I had done a lot of pre-season scouting and saw some nice bucks on the familiar hunting grounds I call “the farm.” It was actually two farms parallel with one another. I grew up on one of them. The other was owned by a family friend.

I hunted the farm religiously from the time I could hunt on my own. I took my first two deer there with a bow, and my third with grandpa’s .35 Winchester lever action. As the years passed, I harvested more deer, and a couple of them were bucks, but nothing like I remembered seeing when I was younger.

One year during archery season, I watched a group of bucks feed in soybean fields on the back of the farm each evening. Almost every time I was in the stand, I caught a glimpse of a nice buck, but a good bow shot never presented itself.

On the second day of the rifle season, I arrived at the farm before sunup and slowly made my way to the back field. It was hard to keep quiet because of the dry leaves and dead branches underfoot. I decided to sit and watch for a while from big rock cliff that overlooked the creek bottom. I set my pack on the ledge in front of me and rested my rifle on top.

As the sun rose, the woods came to life, with birds chirping, squirrels barking and distant shots echoing. Then three shots rang out the other side of the creek about a half-mile away.

Next, I heard sticks snapping and the sound of deer crashing through the woods. A nice buck and several does splashed across a creek and stopped 70 yards from my perch.

The buck separated from the does, offering a broadside shot at 65 yards. My shot was true, and the buck ran 15 yards and fell.

It was my largest deer to date, but what made the hunt even more memorable is the fact that I was never able to hunt that farm again. Both farms have new owners now and hunting is prohibited. Unfortunately, no new memories will be made on that farm, but I have 15 years of them I will never forget and a big buck mounted on my wall.

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