The Ultimate High, The Devastatingly Low: Buck of a Lifetime
As told by Frank, his experience of shooting a high fence buck, in the wild.
One of the most amazing things happened to me and I have been reluctant to share. This is because of some of the negative feedback that has already come up online, but whether you believe it or not here is my story.
I started deer hunting as soon as I got my hunter’s safety card at 12 and deer hunted till 15 or 16 with my Dad, but was never lucky enough to harvest a deer. Fast forward to last year, 2017, I picked up the deer rifle again, after 14 years or so. Getting hooked up with some wonderful people, I was invited to hunt within a deer camp you get born into. I was completely honored and I got my first deer, a nubbin buck and moments later doubled up on another one. I went from none to two deer laying 5 feet apart. I was on top of the world, very proud of what I had been able to do and how much I had learned that had brought me to this point.
Now 2018 deer hunting opening morning. I go out to Brads old stand in the woods, that I was hunting in this year. It’s cold it’s dark I get settled in and a half hour after legal shooting time two deer come towards my stand. They were both pretty small another button buck and a doe. I watched them walk around and eat in front of me for over an hour before a squirrel fell out of a tree and scared them off. I went out for the Saturday evening hunt and didn’t make it to my stand before I come over a little ridge and there is another button buck right in the path, I freeze so, does he. This one is bigger than the one I saw this morning so I decide I will try and fill my bonus tag. His head is behind a tree and he can’t see me so I shrug off my backpack as quietly as I can and shoulder my Remington 30-06. Felt like forever but he turned, stepped out and gave me his broadside he paused for a split second and I dropped him. I am again on top of the world that two years in a row I was able to harvest a deer.
Sunday morning. We had stayed up late and I was the last one out to the stands. Walking up to my stand I see two tails and whoosh two deer running away from me. I figured I ruined my morning hunt and can’t wait to take a nap anyways, so I quickly climb in my stand and settle in. About 15-20 minutes later I hear something walking in the tall grass coming out of the swamp. I look over and I see a much bigger deer body than I have ever seen before. My heart starts beating a little faster. The head is down and I can’t see it because of the tall grass. I am dying to know if it is a buck or a doe. It walks ten more feet with its head down to where the swamp and the woods meet and he lifts up his head. I lose my breath for a minute, the only thing I am thinking is “that is a lot of shit on his head” this looks like one of the deer you would see on the wall at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop. I almost verbally have to tell myself to stop looking at the antlers you have to make the shot. My heart is pounding and I am telling myself to just breath, don’t poop your pants and just breath. I wait for his head to go past a tree and I put my rifle barrel out the window. He freezes, I freeze. He looks around and goes back to eating. I put the butt to my shoulder and try to find him in my scope. He freezes again so do I. He turns and goes back to eating and walking. From where he walked out of the swamp, he walked in a little horseshoe loop starting quartered away from me then turning towards me, now he is almost broadside with his right side towards me and heading back towards the swamp. I almost panic knowing my time for a decent shot is running out. He is almost all the way broadside so I give him a “Meehh” he freezes. With my sight, right behind the front shoulder, I squeeze the trigger. He stutters, steps to the side, then turns and walks 20-25 feet away from me. I pray I had a good hit as I throw the bolt to put another round in the chamber. All he is giving me is his backside, he turns to the right and puts a tree between me and him. Then just like all the deer you see on the hunting shows on TV he drops butt first and flops over.
My heart erupts with joy and I want to scream I am so happy. He is still behind the tree and all I can see is his backend and the right side of his antlers. I scramble for my binoculars at the bottom of my backpack and spend the next 45 minutes watching the half of the antlers I can see. I didn’t want to push him I wanted to let him bleed out. I can’t stop shaking and that makes it hard to watch him and makes me think he is moving and that makes me shake more thinking I didn’t get him. After a series of mini heart attacks my fiancé texts me and says 45 minutes is up you have to go look and send me a picture. I get down from my stand with my rifle trained on him and start to make my way towards him trying to get a good angle in case I need to take another shot. I get up to him and drop to my knees, he has points coming out of everywhere. I can’t believe it, I want to laugh I want to cry my heart is about to explode with happiness.
It is at this time I pick up the head a little bit and notice, this deer has earrings. I have no idea what this means. I do a lot of waterfowl hunting and shooting a banded bird is super lucky. How lucky is shooting a deer with ear tags? Well, come to find out that there is a man that raises deer not too far from where we hunt and his business is mostly selling doe pee and deer attractant products. However, he also raises big bucks and sells them to deer farms and ranches that people with a lot more money than I can pay to hunt. Someone snuck onto his property and pulled the pins to his deer pens and let out a bunch of his deer.
One of the greatest hunting moments of my life quickly turned into one of the worst hunting moments in my life. I just shot the biggest deer of my life and there was the possibility that I was not going to be able to keep it. Legally those deer are registered livestock and not classified as a wild game. The man was very understanding and told me he believed that I did not see the tags. With a rack like that and the low light I had in the woods who would have seen them he said. After talking for a while we were able to make an agreement and I was able to keep the deer.
I did not pay to hunt this deer, there are no rope burns around its neck, there are no fences around any of the property that I hunt. It makes me angry that someone would break into this man’s place and mess with his lively hood. Believe what you will but all I know is I went into the woods to hunt and got the deer of a lifetime. I am not a great white hunter and I am not expecting the outdoor channel to call. I know that under normal circumstances I would have never been able to get a deer like this. I can not wait for next year to get back out in the woods and see what comes my way.
Thanks for reading about how I got my 21 or 22 point buck (waiting for the taxidermist to call it)