By Ryan Boley
-- It was the third day of the Ohio gun season, and after hunting all morning and missing an opportunity at a decent buck, I decided to get a bite to eat before heading out to the brush again at about 2:00. I went back out and found a comfortable spot on top of a ridge where I could see for miles and sat there and sulked about the deer I missed earlier.
I sat there for about half an hour before I saw another hunter walk out two ridges over. I decided there was more than enough country for the both of us, so I stayed put. A few minutes later, a big buck trotted out of the woods on the hill between us. The deer was much too far to attempt a shot, so I just stayed low.
Having gotten a comfortable distance away from the other hunter, the buck wasn’t going anywhere; I decided to go to the buck.
I ran down the ridge and halfway up the one the deer was on before stopping to calm down and catch my breath. Then I put the hillbilly ninja sneak on that deer.
I worked my way to the top of the hill, scanning the horizon every few steps to watch. Finally, I saw antlers. The buck was feeding away without a care in the world. Like the seasoned hunter I am, I started to shake and hyperventilate. I pulled up, pulled the trigger and missed the biggest buck I had ever seen in the woods!
To my amazement, the buck looked up the toward the other guy before putting its head down to start feeding again. I ducked out of sight, grabbed my muzzleloader stuff and, to my horror, realized I had left my sabots in a pack in the truck. Digging frantically, I found an old sabot of a different brand that I haven’t used in years. Dropping powder pellets and primers, it took me a while to get the muzzleloader reloaded. Finally, I snuck another 20 feet or so toward the deer, pulled up, aimed at a little spot on the shoulder and squeezed.
The buck swayed back and forth and just dropped. Out of ammunition, I took off running toward my prize. Fortunately, a second shot wasn’t necessary.
Next I looked up to see the other hunter making his way toward me. I was hooting and a hollering and acting like a fool, but I didn’t care. I wanted to share this moment with the world, and this fellow was the closest person to talk to. When he got to about 100 yards, I saw that it was my best friend.
He told me he had seen the buck but was too far to shoot, so he got out his binoculars and saw me stalk it, miss it and reload. When I shot the second time, he saw the puff of smoke come out of my barrel before he heard the shot. And then the deer went down. It was an amazing hunt, and my friend being there to see it and share it just made it that much more memorable.