For five years, I have hunted a small nursery close to my house outside the Portland city limits. In those five years, I have harvested two nice bucks. The first buck I obtained in 2004. It was early that October morning; the grass and other vegetation were covered in a thick layer of dew. The air was crisp and cool as I eased my way through the high grass in one of the open fields. After making my way to the back of this open area, I turned around and slowly surveyed the land behind me. While I began to make my way back home, I continued to look out over the expanse. Suddenly, I noticed two bucks, a big forky and a bigger 4 by 2, standing right out in the middle not more then 50 yds from my position. Quickly, I threw the bead of my 12ga. shotgun behind the shoulder of that big buck. Slowly, I squeezed the trigger... "BANG!" The deer looked like it had been hit, but it wasn't going down! In fact, he was just kinda fast walking, not running. So, I jacked another shell in and fired again... "BANG!" Still, the buck remained standing. I looked at the ammo I was using and realized it was 00 buck. I guess 50yds is not this load's effective range. With great speed, I loaded a slug in the gun. Aiming behind that shoulder again, I made sure this one was going to count..."BOOM!" For a moment, all I saw was smoke. Then, after the smoke cleared, I saw the deer kicking around on the ground. When I got to the animal, it was just breathing it's final breath. My dad, who was not far from me, came over to inspect my trophy. Together we field dressed and hauled that critter back home. I was plenty proud of my big blacktail. But, from that day on, I have not used 00 buck.
Two years later, I attended a hunt on the east side of the state for mule deer. I did very well, but I did not forget to keep an eye on the nursery. Before I left to go on that hunt, I took my old VHS camcorder out and videoed about seven young bucks over the course of approximately a month. Many of the bucks I saw were fair, yet three deer showed real potential. One was a heavy racked three point. The second was a non typical forky with an awesome drop tine. Lastly, the third was a buck I came to know as crooked horn. As it appeared, crooked horn had been clipped by a vehicle while his antlers were in the velvet. Instead of falling off, his right side corkscrewed. In 2007, I saw the heavy three point and crooked horn yet, I have not seen that non typical. I believe he is still around and one of these days he'll show himself at the wrong time; then I'll take him. As for the big three point, he developed into a 3 by 5. Whereas crooked horn grew into a pretty well balanced 3 by 3. Now, I saw crooked horn multiple times before the firearm season. So much so, I did not think it would be very hard for me to harvest my adversary. Little did I know, Another hunter had his eye on this nice buck. The first week of the season I saw no sign of crooked horn. One evening though, I slowly made my way through the same field I harvested my 04 buck in. In front of me, not more then 35 yds, I saw the old bruiser. As he walked, he swaggered like a drunken sailor. Quickly, I threw the bead of the same 12ga. that harvested my 04 buck on this beast. Unfortunately for him, I was using a slug this time around. "BOOM!" The deer sprang into the sky; following this act, he quickly made his way to cover. I walked back home, which was only 5-10 minutes away, called my dad and let him know I had shot the big one. After letting my dad know, I waited around a half hour for the deer to expire. With my knife, I went back up and field dressed him. As I was dragging the deer back home, my dad came and decided to lend a hand. After hanging him up in the garage and skinning him, I brushed my teeth and retired to bed with the knowledge I had just shot the biggest blacktail in my life.
P.S: Bought a bow this year. Planning to harvest a big one. I've been hearing reports about a 6 by 6, 24 + inch blacktail buck on our family farm in Estacada. Wish me luck!