My First Buck
The year 2000 was quickly approaching and everyone at the end of 1999 was worried about Y2K. Not me. I had just finished my Ohio Deer season at my Dad’s farm in Southeastern Ohio (Harrison County) and only harvested a nice size doe. Work had been keeping me from doing a lot of deer hunting over the years but with what deer hunting I did complete I only had a couple of doe's to my name. This was not acceptable to me. So my focus was not Y2K but rather what am I going to do differently October and November of 2000 during bow and gun season for Whitetail. My older brother had shot a huge 14 pointer on Dad’s property not two years ago. Every time I went to Dave’s house I would see the head mount and it took up the entire corner of the family room corner wall. My younger brother Joel harvested a very nice 6 pointer during bow season and he too had the head mount with the arrow lying within the antlers displayed proudly on the family room wall. Dad – he had so many mounts in the house and skull mounts at the pole barn that he is the envy of the county (that is another story I will eventually publish). Me – I had nothing displayed. Yes, I had venison in the freezer but I had no mount – no antlers to show and tell a great story about… until November 2000 Ohio gun season.
It was Sunday, November 26th, 2000 – the day before opening day for Ohio Deer gun season. I had met my brothers at Dad’s farm on that Sunday afternoon after church and the 100 mile drive that I completed in record time. My brothers again harassed me for not having a buck yet as we sighted in our guns late Sunday afternoon. I put my shots on bulls-eye just like they did. We listened to Cleveland Browns football game as well as the not-so-liked Pittsburgh Steelers until we needed to eat and then get some sleep before opening day.
It was now opening day – Monday, November 27th 2000. Dad had 151 acres to hunt and most of it is old oak forest. He does have about 45 total acres of it being fields but the majority is nice old oak tree forest. My brothers and I helped Dad build 14 different deer stands on that property. I chose “The Tower” stand as my focus for this day. The Tower Stand was a homemade deer stand built upon the open area of three nice size oaks growing out from the same ground area. Tower was its name because it was the highest stand on the property.
Now the Tower Stand overlooked Dad’s northeastern property boundary – and it was a very good stand. There were three different deer trails that all converged into one large trail right in front of the stand. I was sure to see some deer.
It was about an hour after daylight and sitting in the Tower Stand all I had seen was some more nice sized doe… but I wasn’t after doe. My brothers had harassed me so much that I was focused on a buck and nothing else… even though Dad taught me that any venison in the freezer is better than waiting for the buck.
I was in that stand all morning and saw no bucks. It was just after 1:00pm and I knew the “other” hunters would be coming back into the woods after a lunch break and would start moving the deer towards me. I took no lunch and stayed focused in that stand the entire time. However, I did pack myself a sandwich.
Just after 1pm I heard 3 shots from a shotgun that sounded like a hunter returning from lunch that had jumped a deer and their effort to harvest it… to no avail. 3 shots is normally (to me) somebody who missed their deer.
Not more than 15 seconds after I had heard those 3 shots I had two very nice size bucks run up the trail leading to my stand and the 3-way intersection for my shot. The largest buck, a 9 pointer, stopped just after a large blown down oak tree with nothing more than his head and very large neck in view. After the blown down tree all I could see was the back side of the buck – so no shot. The 2nd buck behind him was a very nice 8 pointer… most likely his sibling but nowhere as nice as the 9 pointer. All I had was the 9 pointer’s head and neck in plain sight 50 yards away and knowing that any second he was going to bolt away from me down the trail (I could see it in his massive head looking for an escape route). I raised my Remington 870 12 gauge and with open sights I placed it on his neck – the only good open shot I had. Taking aim, exhaling, and then I squeezing the trigger, I shot. Down went the massive buck – no struggle and no running – just a clean kill. I watched the respectable 8 pointer run the exact direction I expected.
I waited atop The Tower for what seemed forever. After the “forever” timeframe I went down and tagged my very nice 9 point buck.
I no longer had to bare the harassment of my brothers… actually they both shook my hand and celebrated a great hunt and victory. Dad was also very proud of my accomplishment. I had that buck’s head mounted and he is displayed in my hunting room along side of my son’s first buck mount. I have harvested many nice bucks off of Dad’s property but none the same size. My next one will be a nice Mule Deer Buck – guaranteed!