Congrats!!!! That thing is a MONSTER!!! Sounds like a story you'll remember for a lifetime.
I've hunted deer and elk in the Rockies as long as I can remember. Heck I was concieved on a deer hunt but let's not get off topic. I've always wondered how run and gun hunting/shooting in the high country compared to military shooting. It sounds like they can be two different animals in some cases. I spend a lot of time and energy practicing for scenarios exactly as you found yourself in. I've even passed up some shots because I couldn't get steady enough.
You probably have forgotten more about shooting than I know. With that being said I have always believed that proper breathing was important to accuracy but when I'm out of breath I have found that if you can aquire your target quickly it's helpful to hold your breath and you will actually be a bit steadier. Works for me anyway. I only hold my breath though when I'm panting heavily......it's not something I would do in a calmer situation. Has anyone else tried this?
Here is an inexpenive and effective deer feeder I made recently.
No batteries to go dead, no hoisting it up in the tree, plenty of capacity, very easy to fill - so far, I love it.
I have made two of these and they are easy to build.
An empty 55 gallon drum, some 2x4's, some PVC tubing and fittings, a little bit of hardware and some paint - and you are ready to go.
I designed it so you can stand on the lower rung and fill it - the top is about 6.5 feet above the ground.
It holds about 375...