I have been into outdoor activities my whole life; I guess you could call me a "country boy." While shooting sports are something I enjoy immensely, I have never really gotten into hunting big game. This year however, that changed.
I was born and raised in Florida but moved to Northern Virginia in early 2008. I have been eager to start hunting so this season my Uncle Johnny invited me to check out his hunting camp in South Hampton County, "Westbrook Hunting Club." The land they hunt on is leased from farmers that grow peanuts, soy beans, and cotton. The first time I went down was the weekend after Thanksgiving. I did not have my license at that time and just went to watch and learn. In SH County most of the hunt clubs use dogs on the hunts. This type of hunting is very new to me and very exciting. I was hooked, and immediately went out and got everything I needed to hunt with the club, except for a shotgun, which I borrowed from my Uncle.
The next two weekends I went down and hunted but it was more chasing the dogs than shooting. On the third weekend, on my way down to Florida for Christmas, my luck changed. There were about 15 of us spread apart along a river bed and about 8 dogs chasing towards the river. About two hours into the hunt I looked up the hill towards the sounds of something coming through the brush. All of sudden, a doe came out leading two bucks. Once I had a clear shot, I shot at one of the bucks and he darted down the hill, injured, towards the next hunter in the line. Luckily the other hunter realized that the deer was heading towards the river where he would have likely drowned due to already being shot once. He quickly got to the buck and shot him again before he could get to the river, saving me a lost deer. The buck was a big 8-pointer and a very nice trophy for my first deer ever! I was extremely happy to have such a nice deer and was sure that I would not get one any better for quite a while.
Here's where the story get's really good. After the Holidays, I stopped back at the hunt club to hunt the last day of the season. This time the hunt was along a trail set back a few hundred yards from one of the cotton fields. Once again we were spread out the same way but the dogs were released on the other side of the farm a long way from me. It was a few hours before I even heard the dogs getting close and they actually never really came near me. I was getting a little discouraged because I heard several shots all over the farm all morning and I figured I wasn't going to get a chance to shoot.
Out of nowhere, two big bucks came trotting out of the woods directly in front of me. They weren't being chased and must've either outrun the dogs or were just trying to get away from noise of the guns. While ducking behind a tree, I slowly raised my gun and un-clicked the safety. When they got about 40 feet from me they suddenly turned broadside and slowed to walk. The first one walked behind a tree so I aimed where I knew he was going to come out the other side. As soon as he came out, I shot and he immediately fell to the ground, dead. The other buck must have been in shock because he only backed up a few feet and then looked around. Once I had the clear shot I took it and this time it was not a kill shot. As he started running away I shot again, I believe this shot missed. He ran about 50 feet and slowed again so I scrambled towards him as I was reloading. I didn't want him to get away injured so I unloaded all three shots at him. This time he went down. This was one strong deer as he had several of my 00 Buck Shot pellets in him and was still trying to move. I ran over to him and had to reload again so I could put him out of his misery.
The first one I shot was the younger of the two and had 9-points. The older deer had a very unique rack with 10 ½ points (one was a little under an inch). It took me about 15 minutes to get my heart-rate back to normal and at about the same time, the rest of the club members came to congratulate me. After a little bit of light-hearted animosity, they dubbed me "Lucky Charm." I know that the opportunity I was presented is very rare and will probably never be as good again, but the memories will remain forever. Needless to say, I am hooked for life!!!