Well, it’s 1993. I am a year removed from my first deer ever. The year prior, I had shot a nice little 6 point, in a new spot my Dad had hooked us up with. He had also shot a nice 8 point prior to my arriving for the hunt that year.
Going into this season, we were both excited. My father had hunted some of the bow season in our new spot, and had seen some deer. We figured if even one of us could score a deer this year, giving us 3 in 2 years, then that would be pretty good for this little 50 acres spot. There was always a good population of does there, so we figured something was obviously doing the breeding, and there would also be a chance at some of the yearling bucks that have not been driven out yet.
So the season started, and again, I was not able to be there the first week. I was in my senior year at college, so I would be able to go home for the second week of the season, Thanksgiving week. My father went out opening morning. He settled in, got all of his stuff ready, and prepared for the hunt. Well, only 26 minutes later, a yearling spikehorn walks down the same trail as the previous 8 pointer. Now, as I have explained in other stories, Vermont success rates are around 1 in 7. So, you don’t pass up any chances at a legal deer, or you might not get another chance. And, this being well before antler restrictions were introduced in Vermont, any deer with a antler 3 inches or longer was legal. So, my father filled his rifle tag with a well placed round from his Springfield bolt action 30-30. He was very happy, and called me right away in Ohio to let me know.
I was very happy for my Dad, even though that meant we would again not be hunting together. But, that did not do anything to dampen my anticipation as I packed my bags for my trip back home. It had been a year since I had last hunted, and that was when I shot my first buck. I couldn’t wait to get back into the woods, and try for my second one. So I flew back Friday afternoon, and got in late Friday night around 11:00 PM.
Now, when the alarm went off at around 4:45 AM, I wasn’t as motivated as I thought I would be, after getting in so late. However, I got up, got dressed, and my Dad was up to send me off. I headed out into the dark, cool morning. I got to my spot, about 30 minutes before shooting time, and settled in. Well, after hunting for 7 or 8 years, and just getting my first deer the year before, I was well used to finding things to occupy my mind while in the woods waiting to see a deer. I love being out there as the woods wake up and come to life. Squirrels, birds, the chorus of a flock of geese, all add to the sounds that I love to hear.
However, very shortly after shooting light, I heard the best sound of all, a deer walking in the leaves. And, funny thing is, after my Dad shooting both his deer on the trail to the left, this deer was coming from behind me on the right. This is the same trail that my deer came down the year prior, and I shot it at 11 yards. Again, I am sitting on the ground with very little cover on that side. So I slowly turn my head, and I see a deer just a few yards away. On top of that deer’s head, I see the lovely sight of bone. Not a lot of bone, but it appears to be enough. It’s a small spike, with one side actually broken off, and the other side about 5 inches long. I was actually paranoid for a moment, wondering if it was over 3 inches. It’s not like they’ll stick around while you break out your ruler. I made the decision that he was a legal buck, and slid the gun up slowly to a left handed shooting position. Having learned from a broken nose the year before, I kept clear of the scope. The shot rang out, and the deer went down.
I checked my watch. I was only hunting for 21 minutes. That whole year of anticipation, waiting for the season to come, to only hunt for that short of a time. I stepped off the shot, and it was 6 yards. Yep, 6 yards, and the year before was 11 yards. Both from the ground. Doesn’t get more exhilarating than that. I even took out one of my shells, a 30-30 that is just under 3 inches, and placed it next to a horn for comparison. I had 2 inches of clearance. That settled my paranoia. So I got him dressed out, dragged him to the car, and headed home. As I was getting close to town, I saw my Dad driving in my direction coming out to check on me. I pulled over, and we both had a laugh at our luck. We compared the 2 deer, and they looked like twins, minus the broken antler. We figure they were probably yearling offspring from a resident doe. So my dad’s season lasted 26 minutes, and mine was 21. What fun. And, the one positive thing to a quick hunt, was that my mom was more than happy to have me around the house for some quality time for the rest of the trip.
And as for our spot, my father let his friend hunt our little ground blind later in the week, and he too scored a nice deer. So that was 5 deer in 2 years, and even though we have since moved on to another piece of property, it has always remained as “the spot” in our discussions.