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Deer of the Year Gallery Part 1
March 9, 2010
Danny Riggleman of Grottoes, Va. shot this 13-pointer with his 30/30 while hunting in East Va. on 11-14-09
I shot this 17 point, 201-pound buck in Illinois on November 21. A doe jumped the fence and stopped broadside about 50 yards in front of me when I saw this bruiser not far behind on her. The doe took off and the buck stopped 20 yards in front of me, but by the time I got my scope on him he took off. I shot him on a dead run at about 40 yards with my muzzleloader. The taxidermist guessed a gross-score non-typical at 190.--Kevin Johnson, Rock Island, IL
Fifteen years ago was the last time I marked this woods. Now it was Opening Day 2009 and as my dad and I were scouting, we were not seeing any real sign of any mature bucks, but we set the stand, and as always hoped for the best. I was sitting in the stand under the moonlight, as always, way early, and just taking in the view. At 5:30, I spotted a deer 50 yards out and knew we may have a shot come day break. By 6:30, I spotted a small herd 150 yards out on top of the cut beans. I grunted and thought that by the time they got to me it will be legal shooting time. To my amazement a real nice six point left the group and bolted my way…..too early to shoot. I continued watching the others and noticed this buck was moving among three does and breeding each one. It was now legal shooting time and the deer had moved to the edge of the woods about 75 yards away. I continued to grunt and they continued to move around the woods. It was time...then three does came out followed by a little basket rack. From further out I heard a snort-wheeze. He approached, ran off the little buck and walked into my sight at 50 yards. One shot dropped him where he stood. There was no ground shrinkage on this bruiser.--Jason Cerri
I was sitting in my tree stand when a doe followed by two small bucks came out of the woods to my right. She ran right in front of me and I shot her. I didn't want either buck as they were too small. About 10 minutes later, one of the bucks came out from my right. About 10 minutes after that, the other buck came out of the woods on my left. They kept coming to the doe. Another 10 minutes went by when a deer came out of the brush on my left, following the fenceline. I thought it was strange that one of the bucks was still coming back, when I looked through my scope and realized this wasn't the same deer I'd seen before. I started counting points and when he got about 70 yards away, I shot him. It wasn't until I walked up to him that I realized how big he really was! A nice 10-pointer for opening day!--Randy Kist, Richmond, MO
Here is a deer that jumped out of my dreams and into my sights. After 37 years of dreaming, this typical 10-point buck gave me less than a one second window of time to react to it busting out of some brush and running away from me to shoot and drop it with my 30-06 at 60 yards on the second day of my Wisconsin deer hunt. By the time I would have counted to two he would have been out of sight. I green-scored the deer at 144 6/8. I spotted this deer last year and wanted to let it grow at least another year. At the end of last year's hunt, I saw a 10-point buck hanging in the neighbors tree. I thought this was my deer. Last spring I found out from my neighbor by talking to him that he shot his buck 40 miles away from home renewing my hope that this buck was still around.
2009 proved to be the most challenging and yet rewarding deer season of my life. Everything seemed to be against me except for a little bit of luck and a whole lot of determination. The bad karma started when I could only get three days off from work. That would have been ok except a major cold front came out of Canada and plunged those days into single digit temps. Camping out of my pickup proved to be a test in survival with all my food and water frozen solid. Normally mundane tasks of living became tiresome adventures that left little energy and drive for hunting. To top it off, I had a 'whitetail-only' tag but could only get hunt access to muley canyon land. The local farmers had not picked their corn yet so all the whitetails were up on the top flat country staying warm and hidden in the fields. Finally on my last day, I heard several shots about 3 miles away up on top. I pulled out the topo map and estimated where the shots came from, then made my way to the closest canyon below that area. Finding nothing, I thought my plan was a bust so I sat down to rest before my long walk back to the pickup in fading light. One last time I decided to put the binoculars to my eyes before I called it quits. My buck had been pushed off the top by the earlier shots and was hiding in some yucca grass just like a muley would do. As I balanced the camera on my pack for the enclosed photo, I realized once again that the taste of success is so much sweeter when perseverance is a main ingredient in the recipe. While this deer is not my biggest, he is certainly my most earned. I'm glad when hunts remind my why I am a hunter.--Scott Townsend, Colorado
It started out three years ago when my wife and I started bowhunting in Merrillan, Wisconsin. Prior to that, we bowhunted in Southwest Wisconsin in the Chronic Wasting Disease Zones. I had pretty good success down there, harvesting six bucks with the bow in the 115-135-range over the past 10 years, but nothing really huge. Over the past three bowhunting seasons in Merrillan, we had seen plenty of 1½-year-old bucks, several 2½-year-old bucks, and one or two "shooters" per year, but no "Wow" bucks. This year was our fourth bowhunting season in the area, and I couldn't help but feeling confident that this was going to be the year I got a shot at a nice buck. After all, the gun hunters couldn't have shot all the 2½-year-olds we passed the last three season, could they? We arrived at the hunting area Saturday morning, October 31. I immediately set up four mock scrapes and scent drippers in preparation for the week long hunt. I did not hunt the area that afternoon, preferring to leave the area alone and allow the mock scrape to work its magic. The next morning found me in my tree stand overlooking the mock scrape. About forty-five minutes after sun up, I let out three buck grunts in an attempt to call in a buck. Before I could get the grunt call back in my pocket I noticed a buck walking about fifty yards from me and coming straight to the mock scrape/dripper. As the buck approached, I realized it was a "Great 8". This buck had the "WOW" factor. The buck walked right to the mock scrape and started to urinate in it. At this point, I drew my bow, took aim behind the shoulder, and released the arrow. My Magnus Snuffer SS pin wheeled his heart at seventeen yards. The buck took off like a bull in a China shop, bulldozing over everything in its path! After waiting about three hours, I took up the trail. The buck ran 88 yards before piling up. What a beautiful buck it was! I thought to myself: "Not many eight pointers get bigger than him!" The Great 8's Vitals: Spread: 23" Main Beams: 23 4/8" and 24 4/8" G2s and G3s: 9+" and 10+" Gross Green Score: 151 5/8" Hunter's Gear: Bow: BowTech Admiral 64 lbs Arrows: Redhead Carbon Supremes Broadheads: Magnus Snuffer SS 100 grn. Grunt Call: Primos Trophy Hunter Tactics: Mock scrape/dripper and grunting Scent: S & P Scrape Mix
My name is Harrison Self, I'm 10 years old and I'd like to tell you about myself and my first deer hunt. I was born with a disease called Muscular Dystrophy. It makes my body very weak. But I try not to let it stop me from doing the things I want to. I was recently asked to go on a youth hunting trip through Texas Youth Hunting Program (TPWD). I had to study for over a month to pass the Hunter Education course. It made me very nervous to take the test but my father helped me and I had fun learning about things I never knew. My favorite part was learning to shoot my new rifle. My grandfather, who is a hunter bought me a .243. I learned to shoot pretty good. Mr. Martz was the hunt organizer and also my hunting guide, he knows a lot about the outdoors and hunting. He was especially nice to me and allowed me to go on the hunt with kids from his class. I loved the whole weekend. I like camping and sleeping in a tent, but I don't like the cold very much and the first morning was freezing. I was very excited about our first morning hunt, it was my first time in a blind and I was hoping to get to see lots of deer. It was very cold in the blind but I had fun waiting to see my first deer. But we didn't see any deer until three baby deer came up behind us but we could barely see them. We decided to go back to camp without shooting anything. When we got back to camp it seemed like everyone had shot a deer except a couple of us. But Mr. Martz said he knew we would be luckier in the afternoon. I got to see how you clean deer, it was cool and disgusting at the same time. I didn't know if I was ready to do that myself. But it was neat to see all the boys excited and to hear their story's about how they were able to shoot the deer. That afternoon we set out to hunt again. This time it seemed like it was 100 degrees outside. The sun was in our face the whole time and I was not having that much fun. About 45 minutes before the sun went down, I was about to give up but Mr. Martz said hang in there this is the best time of the day to hunt. About that time my Dad saw a huge buck come out of nowhere. It was funny because it scared him when he saw it. I didn't know we were going to be able to shoot the deer because we were only allowed to shoot does. Then Mr. Martz told me that Allen, the manager of the ranch said we could shoot the buck if we had a chance. Mr. Martz said he needed to see if that was the buck Mr. Allen was talking about, it seemed like it took Mr. Martz forever to decide but I knew right away that that was the buck. Finally Mr. Martz said that was the one and to get ready. But the buck would never turn for me and the sun was right in my eyes. My Dad took his shirt and hung it up to block the sun. I held the gun on my shoulder the best I could, but it started to get very heavy. I was breathing heavily like I just finished playing outside. My dad told me to take deep breaths and calm down when Mr. Martz said that's a good shot Harrison take it if you can. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. I was not ready for the sound. I saw the deer run off and was not sure if I got it. The first thing I said was "WOW." My ears were ringing and I wasn't sure what had happened. I was very excited and couldn't wait to go find him. Mr. Martz asked me how I felt and I said I feel like I need to pee. So he let me out of the blind and I got to pee before we took off after the buck. My Dad was the first to see him. Then Mr. Martz said it was a huge buck and I was even more excited. We took the buck back to show everyone at camp. Everyone was very excited for me and made me feel very good. Mr. Martz and Allen helped me clean the deer, they did most of it and I'm glad it's still a little disgusting. I would like to thank so many people that helped me during the hunt. First my Dad--he helped me get ready for the test and taught me to shot my gun. Mr. Martz was very nice to let me go on the hunt with his class and lead me to the best place. He also is very good in the outdoors and that helps when your hunting. The husband and wife from the youth organization--I can't remember their names--were very nice as well. They brought candy for all the kids because we were there during Halloween. The Mr. Jackson the Huntmaster named me Deer Slayer. Also Mr. Allen for letting me shoot that buck. He didn't have to do that but I'm glad he did. I would also like to thank Andre and Charlie who own the ranch for allowing me and my new friends to hunt on their property. I will always remember and be thankful to all who made my first hunt so special.
Anthony Byrne, 14, with a big 13-pointer. This is the biggest our hunting camp has ever gotten in the 23 years we've been there. It has eight on one side and five points on the other. He did a great job one shot, one kill and it was an amazing hunt.
THE STORY OF G-2
This story begins in 2007 when my friend, Kendall Webb, invited me to hunt on their farm in Carroll County, Virginia. Kendall had some great video of nice bucks, but said that not many people hunted there. I hunted there that fall but did not see much. The next year, Kendall and I were on stand for the opening of muzzleloader season. About 11 o'clock I saw Kendall coming to me with a huge shed antler in his hand. We then knew a tremendous buck lived in the area. We named him G-2 because of his 14 inch G-2 tines. We never saw him that year. We hunted relentlessly for the other shed antler, and in March 2009 Kendall found it. We now had a good idea of the buck's movement patterns. Opening day of the 2009 muzzleloader season found me in a new stand location on a high ridge surrounded by thickets. I was looking up the oak ridge when a loud crashing sounded in the hollow behind me. I saw a doe run through and open spot in the hollow and continue into the thicket. Then a huge bodied deer trotted into the opening and stopped. His head and neck were behind some trees. He then took a couple of steps and I saw long tines and lots of them! I steadied my Thompson Center Omega on his shoulder and squeezed off a shot. When the smoke cleared, the buck was gone. As, I reached the spot where the buck stood I noticed lots of blood. I found the deer piled up about 40 yards into the thicket. The deer has 15 points and a 20 ½ inch spread. He was 230 lbs. live weight and scored 185 B&C. I believe Kendall with his knowledge of the area and finding the shed antlers had as much, or maybe more, to do with harvesting this great buck as I did.
This huge 8-point buck taken out of southeastern CT by an avid hunter, Paul Gaucher Jr. Paul has been hunting for 17 seasons in CT and this is "
". The taxidermist says it may make the 140 score but it is still being determined. The brow tines alone are fabulous and the 19 1/2-inch spread make this 8-point buck a huge buck for southeastern CT. Its weight was about 160-165 lbs.
Hi, my name is Haley Sorensen and I am 15 years old and live in Prior Lake, Minnesota. I have been hunting big game since I was 12 and this year I took my very first buck with my bow in Eastern Washington. My Whitetail buck is a big 10-pointer with an 18-inch spread and a very symmetrical rack. I was hunting out of a Double Bull ground blind on November 27, 2009 when the big buck came running in chasing after some does. I quickly drew back my bow, centered my 20-yard pin right behind his front shoulder, and let the arrow fly. It was a perfect double lung shot and the buck only traveled about 80 yards before he piled up. It happened so fast and I could not believe it. I guess all the practice I put in with my Dad really paid off and when the moment of truth appeared my instincts just took over. I was so excited to have taken such a wonderful buck and my Dad and Uncle Mike were so proud of me! Here is a picture of me and my big buck along with some additional information on the equipment I used:
Mathews Passion Bow (early Christmas gift - thanks Dad)
Schafer Performance Archery Rest and Sight
Carbon Express Maxima 150 Arrows
Rocky Mountain Ironhead 100 grain Broadheads
My name is Jake Eckardt and on November 9, 2009 I shot my first deer with a bow in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I got to my stand around three o'clock in the afternoon. It was a chilly, overcast day and I decided to just put a few hours of hunting in before dark. I hadn't seen any movement for the first hour and a half and it was getting dark. I was planning to get out of my stand very soon, but then out walked a nice buck to my left. He was standing about 40 yards away directly to my side. I didn't have much light left in the day so I knew I would have to do something soon. Sure enough, he walked right in front of my stand at about 15 yards. I fumbled trying to find my release, and then I realized I had forgotten it. I was a bit overwhelmed with anxiety and nerves. I had to attempt to shoot it without a release. He turned broadside and I took a shot at him. I completely missed him low on the first shot but he wasn't the least bit frightened. I put in another arrow and fired again striking the deer directly in the lower neck. The buck didn't run too far after I shot him. I waited until a little after six o'clock before I left my stand to look for him. My dad, brother and mom also helped to track him. When we found him, he was about 200 yards away laying right on a well-used game trail. After dragging him through heavy brush my grandpa was waiting for us at edge of the field. We field dressed and hauled him onto the truck and took him back to the house. That's where we actually could examine his rack more thoroughly. He was a nice seven-pointer who had lost his right brow tine. He weighed about 210 pounds and had a spread of fifteen inches. It wasn't a monster buck but I will always remember this kill.
My name is Patrick Martinez, Jr., and I am 15 years old. This was my first year to draw a buck tag since I first started hunting in 2006. I have killed cow elk in the past. As you can see this is a pretty good-sized buck for my first one. I shot him opening morning about 7:30 a.m. I've been told he is a cross between a whitetail and a muley. I don't have an official measurement or how he scored as of yet because my parents are having him mounted for me. All I know is that he is big. I am very happy and proud and would like to thank my parents Rick and Toni for teaching me how to hunt and giving me the opportunity to do it with them by my side for help and support.
I got pictures of this deer while early season scouting on trail camera. I kept telling my wife I would get this deer. On October 30 at 8:15 am he came up behind me about 20 yards. He ran about 50 yards before falling. I've been bowhunting for 9 years and this is the best deer I've ever taken with a bow or gun. Early season scouting and trail cameras made this possible. I would have never hunted this spot if I didn't get pictures of him on the trial camera. Deer was taken in Westchester County, New York. My wife came out and took pictures with my daughters--she even helped me load it in the truck. He was a 9-point buck and field dressed at about 150 lbs. In this picture from left to right, top row: Daniel Del Monte, Sydnee Del Monte, Sophia Del Monte
From Outdoor Life contributing photographer John Hafner … I hunted the opening week of the Kansas rifle season with McMillan Outfitting. Temps were cold, winds were high, and the bucks weren't moving until very late in the day. But this was my first deer hunt in four years, and I was more than a little excited. My photo business keeps me very busy, and I rarely have time to put down my camera and hunt. But when you have a Kansas tag in your pocket, you do whatever it takes to spend time in a deer stand. At 9:00 a.m. on the third day of the hunt, I saw a big buck bedded down about 225 yards away. I could just see the left side of his rack and the tips of his ears sticking up above the grass. I glassed him a few times throughout the afternoon, and, luckily, he never let his bed. It was tough to stay patient all day and wait for a shot. Finally, at 5:15 p.m., when two does got up and started walking away from him, the buck stood up, took a few cautious steps and headed for an ever thicker patch of grass and brush. I had a quick quartering-away shot. A few deep breaths and anxious prayers later, and my best buck ever was on the ground. My buck is a non-typical 10X6 that grosses 181" - by far my best buck ever. But it's not about the size of his antlers. It's about having an opportunity to avoid airports and cell phones for a few days, and simply spend time in the whitetail woods. What a blessing.
I am not a dyed-in-wool bowhunter, but I prefer to harvest most of my deer with a bow. In Illinois you are, by law, allowed only two antlered deer regardless of choice of weapon. I had not shot a buck with a firearm in five years, but the 2009 season turned out to be different. The third week in October I arrowed a nice 9-pointer, but I resolved to hunt for something bigger with my last buck tag. Through the course of the rut, I passed on several small bucks and had close encounters with a least three bruisers. One of the bruisers was possibly the biggest buck I had ever had an opportunity to harvest with any weapon. At full draw and the buck broadside at 25 yards, a few twigs seemed to obscure the deer's vitals so I passed on the shot. I watched what would have been my biggest buck ever follow a doe off into the woodlot. So I entered the first half of split shotgun season with a buck tag in my pocket. But the three-day opener ended without me having seen a single shooter buck. Two weeks later the second gun season began. A four-day session that would conclude the general firearm season. I tried a different location on Thursday and didn't see a single deer. The next two days were spent fruitlessly back at the location where I had seen the giant buck. The last day, Sunday, arrived and I headed back to the same location for a final hunt. Having endured long days on stand and some pretty frigid temperatures, I was thinking of only hunting half a day and then calling it quits. After taking a break for lunch I felt like I just had to go one more time. I opted to try a stand that had not been hunted the entire season. The problem with this stand was that it required me to wade through waste deep water and negotiate fast currents to get to it. Two o'clock found me belted in and settled comfortably 20 feet above the forest floor. Three hours and the season would be over. The turkeys entertained me for nearly two hours when at five minutes to four I spotted a deer coming my direction. A doe, then another, and another. In all, five does casually browsed by me, a mere 20 yards away. "No," I told myself, "you're not shooting does tonight." Even though it was more action than I had seen the entire gun season. The does drifted away and I checked my watch to see that it was 4:15 P.M. "I know he's coming," I told myself. I wondered if I could be like those guys on T.V. that always seem to shoot the giant buck the last day, the last hour of the hunt. "Sure you can," I told myself. Somehow I meant it, too. At 4:30 P.M., with a mere 30 minutes left in the season I heard a twig snap over my right shoulder. It was him. The big buck from archery season. He was walking slowly and alertly behind the big Honeylocust tree I was sitting in. Now my heart was pounding. When he moved from my sight behind the trunk of the tree I pivoted to my left on the seat so I could attempt to make the shot. But the safety belt scraped the bark of the tree behind my back. I heard it. He heard it and stopped walking. I couldn't see him, but I knew he was looking for the source of the sound. It seemed like forever but he started walking again. I rotated on the seat, looked for the buck, and brought the gun to my shoulder in one motion. He was looking directly at me when I fired. As he raced away into the woods I realized how excited I was. Maybe more excited than I had ever been in my 37 years of deer hunting. About 150 yards away, I found my buck. Unbelievable is all I can say. The biggest buck of my career, and a buck I had seen before, and to shoot him in the last half hour of the last day of the season. It just doesn't happen to me. One thing for certain is that the drag back across the waist deep water didn't seem so bad hanging on to those antlers! The buck was not a heavyweight; only field dressing 180 pounds. But he features 12-inch long split G-2s. They made him very recognizable in the woods. He is a basic 6 X 5 but has broken brow tine on one side. I'm not an official scorer, but with an 18" inside spread and long main beams, and add to that very good G-3s and G-4s I'll estimate his gross score to be near 170 B. & C. It doesn't really matter though, because the experience is worth more than any number on a score sheet. I couldn't add that high if there was column to total up the memories.--Michael E. Smith
My name is Jacob Jossart and I am 14 years old. It was my 3rd year hunting in the Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin with my dad.The day before opening day-we went to look at the spot we wanted to hunt again and someone else was there. So my dad said well lets go to plan B. We checked it out and decided who will be where. My dad thought he put me in a not a good spot but he said just try it out and see what will happen. On opening day Nov.21,2009 in the morning I saw this nice buck that I thought might be a 6-pointer. I took aim and shot. When I went over to see it, I could not believe how big he was. My first buck in three years of hunting--11 points, 16-inch spread and 191 pounds.
I shot this buck on the first sit of the first IL shotgun season. It's 15 points, but not scored yet. He came in from behind me, I never saw his whole rack. I did get a little look at one antler so I knew it was a good buck. So i took him. When I got down to see him, he simply blew my mine. The biggest buck I have shot so far.
This is my 14-point Illinois buck. It was taken with a shotgun during the first Illinois shotgun season at 5:10 p.m. on Sunday November 22, 2009 in Perry County. My dad saw this buck the evening before and he put me in his stand Sunday in the hope that I would see this trophy buck. Early in the evening I finally saw the buck and took the shot and he immediately dropped. As I approached the buck I noticed I had grazed his right ear and shot off his right antler which had knocked him out! I then shot again and killed him. The buck was 14 points which scores in the 170-class group but I am unable to get the exact score until the taxidermist can repair the antler. The unfortunate thing is that I can not enter this buck into the record book due to the damaged antler but he will always be a record for me.--Nate Boss, DuQuoin, IL
My name is Dalton France and I recently harvested my very first buck with my dad, on November 20, 2009. We were hunting in Pike County, Kentucky, on a very foggy morning. Early on we saw a young buck that was chasing a doe, but I had no shot. After a while the fog cleared and we came off the hill where we had been hunting. My dad picked out a really good spot that was overlooking a hollow. While he was watching for any sign of life I was busy sleeping! My dad kept hearing something in the hollow, but he couldn't see anything. After about an hour of watching he woke me up and said, "Let's go home." Just as we were getting up to leave a buck came out of the hollow that he was watching. As I walked over to my dad I saw what he was excited about, it was a buck that was about 130 yards away! I held my crosshairs on the deer for over 20 minutes because he was behind a tree. When I could finally get a good shot on the deer, I said "God help me hit it." I then closed my eyes and shot. To make a long story short, I made a good, clean shot on the deer, and only had to track him 30 feet from where I shot him. Once I got there I saw my first buck which was an 8-pointer that had a 17 ½-inch inside spread. It was exactly one inch bigger than the deer that my dad harvested the day before.
The story of my buck begins in the fall of 1988 when college buddy, Eric "The Poy" Genson, began teaching me the intricacies of hunting whitetail deer. The following summer I purchased a new bow and began the quest to shoot my first deer. I never did fully get into archery hunting, but was hooked on chasing whitetails, albeit with firearms my choice of weapon! Soon after college, I actually sold my archery gear to "The Poy" as I knew he would appreciate it more. Indeed he did, as he arrowed many a whitetail with "my bow" in the years that followed. Yet neither of us could seem to connect with that trophy buck. Unfortunately, a couple years back I got the bad news that my dear friend had unexpectedly passed away. It was devastating, but in my grief I asked his family if I could have "my bow" back in remembrance of Eric. When I finally held the old bow in my hand, I vowed that I… that we would harvest our first trophy buck together with it. So when everything finally came together on that late October day, and the arrow hit right where I had been taught to aim twenty years earlier, I was totally overcome with emotion as I muttered to myself, "we did it Poy… we did it." The buck tipped the scales over 230 lbs (field dressed) and sports a 140-class typical rack.
My family has been involved in hunting for generations. When I became old enough to go hunting with my father I was so involved with athletics in my school, that I regretfully never took the opportunity to go with him. Since we did not have the opportunity of hunting together he gave me his first rifle. A Winchester Model 721, .257 Roberts, which was originally purchased by my great grandfather in the 1940's. He also handloaded some ammunition for the rifle so I would be ready to hunt in the fall. When hunting season approached I was lucky enough to draw out for a buck tag. I then got my husband and off we went for my first hunt in southern Idaho. At eight months pregnant my husband and I weren't sure how I would get up and down the mountain for "tough to hunt" mule deer. However, my father-in-law was farming some alfalfa and had seen a group of bucks near where he was farming along a dry creek bed. My husband and I went out the first day of hunting season and saw a huge buck, but couldn't get a shot. The second day we went to the same area and saw a few bucks, but they were too far away. We then gave the area a rest and came back two days later. Late in the evening we saw a small buck and a doe out grazing. As we were glassing them my husband looked to his left and saw two big 4 points moving by us giving me a 100 yard broadside shot. I nailed the second buck with one shot through the heart and lungs. He went about 20 feet and fell over. What a memorable and fun first time hunt for me! The deer measured 24 inches wide and 21 ½ inches tall. What a hunt and what an honor to be able to use my great grandfather's rifle, bullets that my dad had made, and being eight months pregnant with my first child. I will never forget the memories made with my husband and shared with my father while on this hunt.--Crystal Steed, Malta, Idaho.
The 2009 deer season was just not working out for me…...before it even started. In the middle of July I was helping a friend lay paving stones for a patio. Being 38 years of age and thinking I am still 19 led me to severely hurt my upper back and shoulder muscles and nerves, tweak two discs in my back, and lose strength in my draw arm. I was very disappointed since I mainly hunt with a bow all year long and I had just received the news that I was successful in drawing my Kansas tag. However, an acquaintance let me know that I could apply for a crossbow permit for disabled hunters. I don't like to think of myself as disabled (since there are those that TRULY are), but I was very worried about spending the money on the Kansas trip then not being able to hold my draw for more than 10 seconds if I saw a giant!!! So I applied for the permit and received it. I arrived in Kansas at about the same time as low pressure weather system that dumped rain on me for the first 4 days of my hunt. Nice deer were seen by all other hunters in camp, but I was having a difficult time seeing any at all. Over the first 5 days of my hunt, I saw only 5 bucks. Four were within shooting distance, but only one was a mature buck…..and he had his left side broken off. Needless to say, I was losing hope that I would get one. On Friday, the last day of my hunt, I saw what I assumed was a buck in the pre-dawn darkness, but he was too far and I couldn't even see his antlers. In the afternoon I moved to the spot where I missed the one in 2008. It was now or never! The afternoon started out well. I saw a 5-point at 2 pm. About 20 minutes later I saw a doe come out of the same area and go to a field to feed. At 3pm I saw squirrels scatter to my left. I glanced that way behind me and my heart raced when I saw the big boy coming across a wide open field into the thick stuff behind me. I stood, grabbed my crossbow and turned around to get a good view behind me, but he disappeared! I pulled out my grunt call and my doe can and made a few calls. Minutes later a doe and button buck appeared from the thick stuff to my left and went behind me. Of course the wind was blowing directly from me to them. The doe scented me, snorted, and they disappeared. Again I was disappointed. I put my full face scent blocker mask on. Not long after that another three-point showed up. I bleated at him and he made his way behind me. I kept using the doe can and a forkhorn busted out from my right and went behind me. At this point, time was winding down. The button buck reappeared to my right and made his way out into the field. Having nothing better to do, I started can calling to him. He was 70 yards from me but started coming right to me. When he got 15 yards in front of me, the doe I saw with him earlier ran out from behind me and to my left. They went nose to nose and got all excited and then ran out into the field. From out of nowhere behind me the big boy started running past me to my left. I bleated at him with my mouth and he stopped broadside at 15 yards! I wasted no time and put a bolt right through his heart. He ran 80 yards out into the field and piled up. I had just shot the biggest deer of my life (with minutes left in my hunt) and I stood at the top of my stand and let all of Labette County Kansas know! I felt like a wet washrag after all I had been through……from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs……and that's what hunting is all about!! It's a microcosm of life, replete with thrills and disappointments, and that's why I will never stop! Thanks for reading my story. Deer: Main Frame 10-pt. with a kicker at the base of each antler.
Score: Mid-150's in. Gross Score (not official), with a 9.5 inch brow tine on the right side!
Date: Friday, November 20, 2009 at 5PM
Location: Labette, Kansas
Guide: Mike LandrithSteven J. Lennon
Hunting on a private ranch in New Mexico in October 2009, we spotted this buck on the second to last day. I decided to pass in search for something bigger. The next morning, last day of the hunt, we spotted this buck again. Once again I chose to roll the dice and look for a bigger buck. It all came down to the last hour of the hunt and at that point I was really regretting my earlier decisions. Then, out of the brush he came again, this time with a bigger buck! We put a stalk on the pair and when we got in range, the bigger buck was nowhere to be found. With a storm blowing in and light fading, it didn't take long to make up my mind and the 7MM Ultra Mag roared. The buck went on a death run and ended up floating down a creek when we found him. We were able to throw a rope around an antler and drag him out. What an exciting hunt for my first whitetail.--Hank Osterkamp,
San Clemente, Ca
I was hunting in Northern New Mexico on a private ranch for a big mule deer. We were having a hard time finding a big buck but we never gave up. On the last morning at first light, my guide spotted this nice buck in a sagebrush flat with some does. After a short stalk, I put a perfect shot on the buck and dropped him in his tracks. Gus Osterkamp
The onset of buck fever was already apparent when Joe Harkner, Scott Florence, Matt True and I joined up to hunt Wisconsin 's general firearm season (Opening Day, Saturday 11/21/2009). We departed from Neenah, WI early Friday morning via truckpool destined for Trempealeau County located in western central WI. This was our first hunting trip to this part of the Badger state. The move was strategically planned around Matt's special access park tag and the general potential to provide all of us with a better opportunity to harvest a trophy whitetail. Matt was able to complete one preseason scouting mission a couple weeks before the hunt but we still had a lot of ground to cover if we were going to successfully locate and set up quality hunting stands. After breakfast we checked into the state park where we quickly located a spot to setup Matt's ground blind. We positioned him midway up a ravine located near a ridge saddle overlooking a thick river bottom. There was a lot of deer sign in the area and we felt it was a good pinch point for deer travel. He had previously scouted the park so we were in and out within a couple hours and on our way to the state land the rest of us planned to hunt. We used all the light in the day speed scouting for buck sign and natural deer funnels. It was a lot of work and a lot of laughs but we accomplished the mission and finished setting up just before sunset. We were encouraged with the amount of quality rubs and scrapes we found in the area. With anticipation of good things to come we joked confidently about our stand locations and aggressively debated who was going to win the Atom Bomb Wack Master (ABWM) Trophy this season (The ABWM trophy is awarded to the individual who harvests the largest buck in our group each season). No one ever wins the prize during the pregame show but that didn't slow down the debate. The following morning was game day so we settled into a nice dinner and waited to see who could hold up all their smack talk. We woke with high hopes opening morning. Joe, Scott and I headed out early while my brother filled up the whirlpool tub and laughed at us as we stepped out the cabin door and into to the cold dark morning air. He figured he had an hour to soak up the warmth before he planed to depart. The park Matt was hunting was only two miles from the cabin. The rest of us had a 30-minute drive and 30-minute walk to reach our hunting grounds. Joe, Scott and I reached our stands and were set up for the hunt about 45 minutes prior to legal shooting light. I found a stand near a beaver dam crossing and was hopeful that this natural funnel would help move pressured deer past me. Scott was set up near some good buck sign on the river's edge and Joe was set up in and area with a tremendous amount of big fresh buck rubs. As the sun came up we could hear a consistent number of shots in the distance all morning but nothing very close and no deer. Several hours into the hunt I was startled by a loud
followed by a
. Minutes later I received a "Buck Down!" text message from Scott (12:20 PM). I was anxiously waiting for more specifics. Was it Big? B&C score? Spread? Number of points etc? About 10 minutes went past and
another shot rang out from a couple hundred yards behind me. Startled again I turned around and was looking through the hardwoods and marsh grass when I caught a glimpse of movement about 150 yards away. Like a ghost floating through the timber it was a deer! The first deer I had seen all day. It slowed to a stop about 140 yards behind me. I detected a limp as it slowed down and assumed it might have been injured or hit in the leg. All I could see was the tip of its nose and the beams of its antlers sticking out from the thick stuff but I could tell it was a shooter buck. The brute was scanning back and fourth then looked behind it and started bounding through the woods towards me. He was closing the distance fast with no indication of an injury. I found an opportunity to stand up undetected as the trophy passed through a thicket. I was prepared for a shot to my back left when the buck changed directions and cut to my back right. I quickly and quietly rotated positions and as the deer passed I let out three quick mouth blown grunts. The buck stopped between two large trees but I felt confident that I could thread-the-needle on this 45 yard opportunity. Boom! I let one fly. It was instantly followed by a flash of red and I could tell he was going down. I hit him again 10 yards later then the buck went head-over-heals over a deadfall. I place a final finishing round into its neck as it attempted to regain its feet. It was all over in a mater of seconds. I sat down to gather my thoughts for a few minutes and let the adrenalin burn off when I heard a twig snap in the distance behind me. It was my friend Scott. At first I was confused but then it hit me. I never received that follow up text with details on that "Buck Down" message I received from him 15 minutes earlier. I detected a limp in that the deer I just dropped. Was hit in the leg? Hmmmmmm. I waved him over and he filled in the blanks. Scott spotted the buck I just harvested and a doe out quite some distance but they were walking towards him. He was letting them close the distance when a couple hunters walking up a railroad tussle a few hundred yards away spooked the two deer. The hunters never noticed the deer. Scott's walking shot now turned into a running shot through the hardwoods and marsh grass. He dropped the buck with the first shot but is quickly regained its "hooves" and was up and running away again. Shocked, he fired and missed it three more times (unknown to Scott at the time). Thinking the buck was hit well and going down, Scott sent us the "Buck Down" text message. He climbed down and started tracking it until he came to a river crossing. The buck swam the river and Scott could see some blood on the other side. He cut back around to the railroad trestle to cross the river and as he climbed up to the path he spotted the buck just dropping off the other side front of him. Boom...he took a snap shot as the buck ran off into the low land hardwoods in my direction. It's an unfortunate story. I do thank Scott for slowing him down for me! Ha-ha. In truth, I wish Scott would have dropped him with the first shot. Unfortunately it was a tough shot and he missed his mark by only a few inches, striking the deer just below the shoulder in the leg. His persistence in recovering the animal pushed a deer that would have otherwise been lost past me once again elevating me to Atom Bomb Wack Master Trophy winner status! At the end of the day it was a team effort! We relived the story over and over again while enjoying a prime rib dinner that night. When the bill came we all threw our credit cards into a hat and the lucky winner was (the guy who got stuck with the bill) Scott! Ouch. It was a tough day for ol' Scotty. Season summary. This story represents the only buck taken within our group in 2009. Scott harvested a doe Monday afternoon on my mom and Ron's farm in Neenah WI . Matt passed up several small bucks and does in hopes of getting a shot at ABWM Trophy status but it wasn't meant to be. He spotted 4 very nice bucks over the course of the season but was not offered a shot. Joe hunted his property in Tomahawk WI the remainder of the season. He spotted a few does but did not have an opportunity to shoot a buck. And so the story goes. We'll be back next year for Deer Hunt 2010! Note that the rifle used in harvesting this deer was the 2009 OUTDOOR LIFE Editor's Choice awarded Sako 85 Finnlight!--Donovan True
It was a great year of deer hunting in Northwest Indiana. I shot this 11-point whitetail deer just before dusk in Porter County, Indiana, on Nov. 21, 2009. I was just about to call it a day when I spotted him immediately to my right and about 75 yards away. I dropped him with a well placed shot from my .44 magnum rifle. I was sitting in a tree stand at the edge of a 10-acre prairie I planted with my dad about five years ago. The prairie is on 55 acres of family land, also including a pond, woods and a portion of the Salt Creek, which empties into nearby Lake Michigan. This is the biggest deer my family has seen on the property, and the fourth buck total shot in a five-year span. My dad shot a 10-point deer out of the same tree stand four days prior to me taking this one.
It was the second day of the 2009 Michigan firearm deer season, November 16, when my uncle (the senior-most member of our hunting camp) wanted to sit in my hunting spot. I agreed and moved to another blind close by. At 8 a.m., I was contemplating moving to a different blind, when a small buck and a doe were pushed right to me. I managed to harvest the almost 6-point buck. After field dressing him, I realized it was only 9 a.m. and decided to sit for another hour or so. About 10 minutes after settling back into my blind, the biggest deer I have ever seen in our woods was heading my way. I still had a second buck tag (for a deer with at least 4 points on one side), so I waited for an opportunity to shoot. When the time came to shoot, my scope was fogged up and I rushed to wipe it clean and took a shot. The buck immediately turned back the same way it came in and ran off. He stopped about 100 yards out and my second shot was on the way. The bruiser dropped in its tracks. I guess I'm glad my uncle wanted to hunt my spot that morning. I now have the biggest buck taken in our entire family all the way back to the first regulated hunting season in Michigan. It is not a record book buck, but it is my record book buck. It only took 27 years to finally get a wall-hanger.--Kenneth Danner Jr., Manistee County, Michigan
My daughter's first deer hunt! Isabelle Henley, 10 years old, of Edmond, OK killed this 130-inch 8 point on the second day of her hunt near Woodward, OK. Isabelle and her dad, Jerick Henley, were hunting from a ground blind. The hunting had been slow for the first day and a half. On the second evening, Isabelle had all but given up, telling her dad she wanted to leave, not after the hunt, but right now with only 30 minutes left before dusk. As the two talked about not giving up and how hard they had worked, Isabelle decided she needed to stay. Just then this deer appeared at about 50 yards and Isabelle made a great shot to collect her first animal ever. She's now a big believer in our new creed, "just five more minutes"!--Jerick Henley, Edmond, OK
David House of Tulsa, OK killed this 169-inch, 9 point near Medicine Lodge, Kansas. David watched this deer leave a wheat field early on the second day of his hunt. The deer bedded in a plum thicket in a nearby draw. David took a position about a hundred yards away, preparing to wait for the buck to stand and present a shot. Two hours later the doe that the buck was with finally began to stir. Shrugging off the fatigue of a two hour staring contest, David made a 120-yard shot on the buck as he followed the doe out of the thicket.--Jerick Henley, Chain Ranch
Attached is a picture of my good friend Bruce Morain of Norman, OK. Bruce hunted hard for five days in Sharon, KS. On the third day, a 160-inch, 10 point that he had been watching at a distance, came running over a nearby hill, unfortunately bleeding from a trespasser's bullet. The deer looked mortally wounded but ran into thick cover. On the last day of Bruce's hunt, he found the dead 10 point but was rewarded later that day when with one hour left before he headed hom he harvested this 173-inch Kansas bruiser. The good guys still win some! Bruce hit the deer with a perfect 175-yard shot and celebrated his biggest Kansas buck ever.--Jerick Henley, Chain Ranch
Here's a picture of my friends Joe Strzelec and Bill Heim of Cuba, New York. Joe and Bill were hunting near Medicine Lodge, Kansas this past December. Joe had hunted Kansas before but this was Bill's first time. After Bill tagged a very nice deer on the third day of their hunt, Joe invited him to sit in the blind on the edge of a wheatfield with him for the evening hunt on the forth day. Just before dusk, this 178-inch buck with a nine-inch drop tine and more than 20 inches of mass on each side, stepped from the brush. Bill thought he saw the drop tine and became so excited he began shaking the blind. Luckily, Joe made a terrific 150-yard shot and the two best friends celebrated a true Kansas trophy.--Jerick Henley, Chain Ranch
It was November 21, 2009, and it was a special permit day in New Jersey, dedicated to Youth Hunters aged 16 and under. Chloe, 16, and I had set up a stand on our farm, in a wooded area, right behind the barns. It was a cold day but we were in the stand at daybreak. All morning we saw deer at a distance, including several bucks that were chasing does. The rut was well under way. By about noon, however, it got very quiet. At about 2:30 p.m., I walked back to the house to pick up a pair of antlers to rattle. The second time I rattled we saw this (5) point buck come running. He hung up in the field beyond our woods and actually laid down in some tall grass without giving Chloe an opportunity with her slug gun. At 4 p.m., some does started to filter into the area we watched, but Chloe wanted a buck. About 30 minutes later, I looked over at Chloe, and saw her focused tightly into her shooting position and peering through the scope. I had to shift positions myself to see this buck passing through our wooded area at a brisk trot. Almost immediately, he stopped but he was behind some trees and Chloe didn't shoot. He started moving again, and when he hit a large enough opening in the trees, I grunted. The buck stopped, and Chloe fired right on cue. Hit hard, the buck took off. She shot again, and hit him going away. He then changed direction presenting a crossing shot. I grunted once more, and low and behold he stopped again. The third time she connected he went down for good. We were both very excited and pleased. Her Mom had heard the shots from the nearby house and was at the base of our tree, to share in our jubilation, before we could even get down. It was a day we will never forget.--Armand Christopher Jr.,
Stockton, New Jersey
My family has been taking the adventure to hunting camp in the Western part of Washington State for over 20 years. I myself began to be part of the tradition when I was just 15 years old. Hunting camp usually consisted of our granddad, my father and my four brothers. It was pretty tough being the little sister and earning my way into the hard core man camp. Enjoying the experience so much I chose not to shoot, but walk along, spot, and take pictures. This last year something changed, now at the age of 22 I felt I was ready to carry a gun and take my own dear; finally I would have my own official hunting story. My brothers were a huge support for me, they helped me prepare by reloading my own amunition and taking me to the range every chance we got. By the time opening day came around I felt prepared for the adventure ahead of me. My oldest brother Jon and I had been hunting partners for years, he felt it was his responsibility to make a plan for me and be my hunting "Sherpa." On the third day of the season I thought I was finally going to get my chance to take a buck. Two of my brothers and I had been scouting all morning when we got a call over the radio saying there were two bucks grazing about 2 miles below us. We picked up the pace to get to them before they moved on or bedded down. On the sneak I hit a rock wrong with my foot and twisted my ankle. I thought my season was coming crashing down to an end. I instantly felt the pain. I was determined to get a shot on the buck, so with my brothers help I gimped over and got in position. Unfortunately for my first shot, I missed about one inch high. My older brother Matthew finally put down the beautiful 4x5 buck. The next morning I was in a lot of pain. I didn't know if I was going to be able to get out of camp, let alone go into the bottom of a canyon for a deer. This year was a spectacular year for my family. We had five tags to fill, and by the fourth day of the season we only had two tags left; mine and my fathers. The night before we had developed a plan that would hopefully entale finding a deer and not putting me through too much incredible pain. We hiked out and separated into pairs to scout the area. Around 9 a.m. we heard some radio contact--my dad had a buck on sneak on the opposite side of the canyon from where we were. By 10 a.m. I was the last hunter with a tag, no pressure. I was feeling a little hopeless when my brother Jon came over the radio and asked "How deep in the bottom of Gilmore canyon would you go for MaGilla", this is the term we use at camp for the "Big One." Feeling a little shakey on my feet, but a little buck fever at the same time, I felt like I had to get a closer look to make a decision. From about 1000 yards away through the spotting scope I saw him, it was the biggest buck I had ever seen. I could feel my heart start to race and my palms begin to sweat, there was a huge pit in the bottom of my stomach. I was overwhelmed with the possibility of that being my deer this year. Then reality hit, we were about 1000 yards away, in the worst canyon in our area, and I had a bum ankle. I didn't think it was possible, but my brothers were convinced otherwise. We combined all of our gear into one pack, and began to put on the sneak of a lifetime. After about two hours had passed, we made it a little over half way down to where we needed to be. I was taking all the time I needed, but I knew the buck wouldn't be there forever. All of a sudden, five doe's spooked on our left. We quickly sat down and waited for them to pass without startling our buck. We were directly across the canyon from MaGilla, we tried to stay as far away from the crest of the canyon and out of his sight. Finally the doe's had cleared and we started back up to get to where we needed to be. Quickly my eldest brother sat down and I didn't know what was happening. Two hundred yards or so below us a spike came up from the crevice, he walked to the left like he was going after the doe's. Problem solved, so we thought. He made a complete turn and started heading in the direction of my buck. I couldn't believe my eyes. We had no choice but to make a move, if he spooked the deer I had to be in position to take the shot. My brother Jon (Sherpa one) stayed behind to spot, while, my other brother Dan (Sherpa two) went with me down to the spot we needed to be. Sure enough the little spike got my buck out of bed and moving around. I though my chances were over, he moved up about 100 yards into a bush and I couldn't see him. My brother and I got all set up on a bunch of rocks that provided support and a shield, and we waited. I could brely breath, my heart felt like it was in my throat. I kept thinking to myself "this is going to happen, this is it, I'm actually going to shoot this deer." About five minutes later I saw the buck walk out of the bush to the left, perfect broadside shot in my scope about 280 yards out. I couldn't breath, I looked at my brother and he looked back at me. I knew this was the moment, it was time to take the shot. I took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. It was like time froze, I was in complete shock. I reloaded the gun and looked up, sure enough the deer was hit. I was totally relieved I was shaking all over and trying to catch my breath. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. I knew I had taken the monster buck, and most of all I knew all of my family was going to be proud of me. When we finally got to the deer there were smiles across my brothers faces, and mine of course. My first buck ever I scored a 4x4 with eyeguards, he was 25 inches wide and 24 3/4 inches tall. He was the secon biggest deer we had ever pulled out of camp. It was a legend, and it will be for years to come. To this days my brothers get as much joy about telling this story as I do.
I'm 15 years old and 2009 was my second New York State archery season. Last year I passed over several deer within my site. You see, they didn't quite look like any of the one's my Dad has so proudly displayed in our home. Needless to say, I ended the first season with no deer. This year I was ready. We got trail cameras positioned, scouted out deer sign, and strategically set up tree stands. I started the season with such confidence from all prep work we had done earlier. Unfortunately, it was 13 days into an unusually warm season and we literally saw only one deer. It is now the morning of the 14th day, my Dad is leaving for Kansas whitetail hunting and I am running out of time to have a successful second year. The day started out with very high winds and slightly on the cool side. I was busy sending texts to my friends, I mean I was vigilantly scanning the woods for deer, when finally around 9:14 we had a doe come walking in. I had my eye on her for about 8 minutes when I heard my Dad (who was video taping me against my will) tell me to wait for the buck he saw coming in behind her. The doe in my sights was taking her time feeding and strolling along before deciding to bed down directly underneath my tree stand. That's when I saw the buck my Dad was talking about. I grabbed my bow and got myself in the ready stance. The buck however had a different idea of how this was going to go down. It was now 9:26 and he was taking his time feeding; walking very slowly behind every tree between me and him. He did this for what seemed like hours but really was only about 14 minutes. He then decided to bed down right in front of me and of course, as luck would have it directly behind a tree. It's 9:42 and Dad fears this could go on all day long. So....I decided to sit back down myself. Then, as quick as the buck dropped to the ground, he stood up, turned his body from facing left to facing right and bedded back down again. In the meantime, that doe continued to sit quietly underneath me as we waited and watched the buck's movements. Finally, by 9:47 he was up and on the move again about 15 yards directly in front of me. He took his time slowly inching, step by step, pausing to feed every few feet and, what seemed like purposefully, finding just the right place to stop so that I couldn't get a good shot. After a few more steps, he came into a wide enough clearing between two trees. My Dad started whispering "take the shot, take the shot." From his view, he obviously could not see that branch that was slightly in my way. I just needed him to meander a few more feet forward. After 2 minutes of watching this buck, willing him to move into my clearing, he finally cooperated! I drew back, steadied myself and landed a perfect shot as I had done so many times before in practice. I did it! By 9:49, roughly 35 heart-pounding minutes later, I tagged my very first buck. To my surprise he turned out to be a monster 8 point scoring in 142 7/8! Just try and top that one in Kansas, Dad!
It was November 19, 2009, and we were hunting some private property in northeastern Kansas. A buddy and I were videotaping and had already rattled in two, 2 1/2-year-old, 8 points; grunted a 140-inch 9 point to within 45 yards, two different times, and now a 155-inch, 10 was looking right at us as my partner reached around for the camera. Needless to say he decided we were probably not looking out for his best interest, and took off up the backside of the draw behind us. As I gave a few grunts and touched the rattling antlers together, he started to come back into the draw, but gave-up before his curiosity put him on my wall. After that in counter, I was truly devastated. In the first two hours of daylight I had close-in encounters with two shooters, and just got busted by what probably would have been my biggest buck to date. Little did I know that the rattling I had done to try to coax the big 10 had struck up some interest with another 2 1/2 year 8 point. He made his way through the draw and not 15 minutes later I caught a glimpse of white and I knew exactly what it was. Just as I made him out, my cameraman was in my ear, "good buck, good buck coming." By that time I had already stood up and had my Alphamax in hand. We had the pleasure of watching this buck for more than 12 minutes before he made a hard left, went up the opposite side of the draw, and out of sight. I looked to my camera man, I'm sure with tears in my eyes and said, "I'm going to have to grunt at him." After three or four grunts I heard some crashing and by then he had already closed the distance to 30 yards. He must have got a whiff of us and started to quarter away. He finally committed suicide at 28 yards and my Reign broadhead didn't let me down. I blew through the near side shoulder and lodged in the offside. He ends up going 164 5/8 gross, and he's my first Pope & Young whitetail with a bow, and first, of hopefully many, Kansas bucks to come.--Adam Bassett Lowell, MI
is the proud sponsor of Deer of the Year. I love hearing the story about when my grandfather was young, he and his friends used to occasionally ride to school on horseback. One of the most amazing things about the story is that they rode to school with guns in saddle scabbards. In fact, one of his friends brought a Colt 45 revolver to school as his "show-and-tell" object in fifth grade one year. I can't imagine riding a horse (let alone carry a gun with me) to school today. From the time I was about 3 years old I can remember sitting in my grandfather's lap, him cocking the gun while I shot at tin cans and other targets. We would go on like this for hours until finally there was no more ammo. We might have shot 500 rounds at a time. I remember feeling special to be able to spend this time with my grandfather. I am now 11 and have spent many more hours shooting with my grandfather but I no longer fit in his lap! We shoot at his rifle range, we shoot at rocks in his river, we still shoot at cans whenever we can. This past fall I studied for my junior hunting license in anticipation of hunting on Youth Day prior to the regular deer hunting season in New Jersey. I got my license and my grandfather presented me with a pump-action 20 gauge shotgun. I was really excited. The night before Youth Day my grandfather and I got all our gear ready for the next morning--including the hot chocolate! I didn't think I would ever fall asleep. We woke up at 4 a.m. to get into my stand before dawn. It was early and cold, but we were really excited. My grandfather was with me in my stand and my dad and a family friend drove the deer toward me. My grandfather and I sat and waited all morning (I think my teachers would be surprised to hear that I can actually sit still for so long!) and my dad and our friend rode around and walked through the woods for hours trying to drive deer in my direction. Feeling really discouraged and just when we were about to pack it in for lunch, my grandfather whispered that he thought he saw a buck through the tall grass. We looked together and then through binoculars and sure enough, there was a buck; and he looked big! I got my shot gun ready and I could tell that my grandfather was really excited and nervous. I shot at the buck and missed, but I got his attention; he was on the run! I could feel my grandfather's excitement as he was telling me to shoot at him again, and I remember feeling nervous and excited but I also realized that I needed to be totally focused on shooting that deer. I shot again and hit him. I shot and killed my first deer, from approximately 120 yards, on the run. We ran to the buck. I could hear my grandfather practically yelling with excitement over the walkie talkies to my dad and his friend the location of the buck and about the fact that he thought it was a "monster." When we met at the site of the kill, we were all amazed…he was a huge buck - 12 pointer with a beautiful rack. We were all totally exhilarated and shocked! My grandfather has shot numerous bucks in his lifetime, hasn't missed a deer hunting season since he was a youth hunter and is listed in the New Jersey record book for outstanding deer. He even has more than 20 mounted trophies in his house! Despite his hunting experience he was ecstatic and shocked and kept saying versions of "that's the biggest "bleep bleep" deer I think I've ever "bleeping" seen in my whole "bleep bleep, bleeping life!" There was enough colorful language to create an entire rainbow that day. While we're waiting for the official statistics, we know that the 12-point rack is 22 inches wide with the base of the antlers measuring circumferences of 8 inches each. The taxidermist has estimated that the buck will score a 150 Boone and Crockett. My family and I have been eating the venison for weeks and I'm getting pretty good at cooking the cutlets. Next year I'll be 12 on Youth Day; I'm going for the 16 pointer!--Ross Moseley, age 11
This 7 1/2 year old, 180-pound buck has eluded us for the past 6 years. We had trail camera photos and two shed antlers from previous years, but we never did see this freak while hunting. His antlers were never huge but he was a deer you wanted out of the gene pool. The morning I shot this buck he was with nine other bucks chasing three does. He was the most mature deer out of the bunch. I could not believe my eyes when I saw this buck,I wasted no time shooting this buck at 40 yards. Not all the bucks in Buffalo County Wisconsin are trophies but to me this is a trophy of a life time.--Hunter Smith, 15, Nekoosa Wisconsin
North Jersey--Having always been known to all my friends as the most hardcore female hunter they know, I decided that hunting season 2009 was going to be especially good for me; I was determined to shoot a big buck. Early bow season I killed a doe, and caught glimpses of big bucks but, never had a shot. After passing up small buck after small buck, four pointers and spikes, ones I would have shot had I not set my mind on a big one, I was getting discouraged that I would never see one "the one". Bow season came to an end, and I had just about given up. Opening Day of muzzleloader, I was in the stand with my .50 cal. CVA inline, and it started to rain. I was just about to get out of my tree stand when a little four point walked in, followed by a much bigger eight point. He was the biggest I had seen all year, and when he got to 25 yards, I made the shot. He went 35 yards and died. I hadn't realized how big he was, or how wide his rack was until I walked up to him. There are no words to describe how excited I was, and I realized that after days of hunting and no buck, I had finally shot the biggest buck of my life! The waiting had made success that much sweeter, and I had never been so proud. . A 4 1/2 year old buck, he weighed 150 pounds field dressed. His rack was what made him unique, measuring an impressive inside spread of 22 inches wide and scoring 124 and 3/4 inches.--Beka Garris
It was Veterans Day, 11/11/2009. Although I am not completely sure of the exact time I released the arrow, it was very, very close to 11:11 a.m. I had just watched two does getting chased by a nice buck about 100 yards away. A few minutes went by when the does cut across the field towards me. The buck however, stayed on the perimeter of the field and worked his way around the edge. If he stayed on the edge, he would eventually pass underneath me. Fortunately he did, and I had a broadside shot at 14 yards. The 11-point Kansas whitetail gross scores in the low 130s, and was approximately 8 1/2 years old.--Thomas Nadler Clifton Park, NY
I'm Carl Bone and this is me with my wife Tracee and my buck of lifetime. I have been after this buck for two years. I missed him at 27 yards with my bow last year--buck fever got the best of me. After about 40 hunts, I finally connected with my rifle on November 23, 2009. We're expecting our first child, a son, on December 28, 2009. Without a doubt the best year of my life. The buck has 13 points, 7 inch mass on one main beam, and gross green score of 191.5. My wife was really happy because of my success and the fact that I will be able to devote more time to our new family. Chasing monster bucks is definitly time consuming.
It started on the Friday before the deer opener in Minnesota. My deer hunting location is a one-hour drive away from my home. My youngest son's high school football team was playing for the section championship that night about a one-hour drive in the other direction from my home. On Friday I made the trip to my deer-hunting location to take most of my hunting gear and drop it off. I headed home early afternoon and waited for my wife to get home from work. We both headed to the Minneapolis area for the football game. We ended up winning by 1 point. It was the first time in our school history that any football team has ever made it to the state tournament. After the game we headed home, getting there around 11 at night. I jumped into my pickup and headed to my deer hunting area. I was traveling on interstate 90 heading for Blue Earth Minnesota. Around 11:45 pm I saw a falling star. I thought what the heck. "wish upon a falling star" I wished for a buck during the season. A few more miles down the road I saw another falling star. I wished for an even nicer buck. I arrived at my wife's parents place around midnight. I figured I got around 4 hours sleep by the time I got up in the morning. I headed to my stand. I try to get into my stand before anybody else does in the area. Around legal shooting time I heard a shot to my north. This usually makes me pay more attention. About 10 minutes after legal shooting hours, I saw this buck heading my direction. I had my gun ready and when he was in the perfection location I fired 1 shot. He went about 20 feet before dropping. He was 40 feet from my stand. It was a nice 12-pointer. My father in-law had been watching 4 bucks in the area this fall and this was not one of them. It ended up being an excellent weekend.--Michael Palm
This 10-pointer was killed on January 2, 2009, in Hermanville, Mississippi. This is my first 10-pointer after over 25years of hunting in Mississippi and New York. This deer was killed at an unusual time of the day (4:20 pm), a bright and sunny day. His antlers are chocolate colored with "perfect symmetry" he scored 138 on the B.C. scale with a 20-inch spread and weighted 210 lbs. This is a free range deer.--Mr. Tommie O'Quinn
When I got to Sandhill on November 7, it was about 4:45 in the morning. While we waited in the long line of cars, we got all our cold hunting clothes on and listened to a CD. By the time we got to where we had scouted for the hunt, there were two vehicles parked there. Since they just got there, we pulled over and asked where they were planning to hunt. They pointed to an area that we had intended to hunt. My dad said that it was fine because they were there first. So then we tried another place, but by 7 am we found out it was next to an unmarked road. Then we tried an area across the road. It was a small spot of cleared land near a pond at the entrance of the service road. I liked the area because of all the scenery and the colorful fall leaves. Unfortunately, we had no luck there. By this time my dad and I were getting hungry, so we went back to the truck to grab something to eat. When we got back, I checked the time and it was 9 am. After a few sandwiches, we tried the side of the road that the truck was on. About 200 yards in, we found an old abandoned blind made of fallen limbs and sticks. It was in a funnel area between two swamps, and there were lots of signs that deer had been in the area. My father told me to only shoot toward the swamps in case there were any hunters behind us. After we let everything settle down, my pa rattled a set of antlers and used a grunt call (we also put some doe estrous around the area). About an hour and a half later, we heard some shots to the north of us not too far away, so my dad told me to get ready to shoot in case any deer came running toward us. Unfortunately, the shots got further away. About an hour later, I needed to use the bathroom. When we got back to the truck, I checked the time and it was 11 am. Before heading back to hunt, some people who worked at Sandhill stopped by; my dad had a talk with them about not seeing any deer. They said that four nice bucks were taken that morning and that the big ones were still out there. When we returned to our spot, it was about noon. We let everything settle down for about 10 minutes, dad rattled the horns again and used the grunt call. And we waited. About five to ten minutes later, I saw something moving through the trees. Next, I see a head and antlers, and then I poked my dad hard and pointed at the monster buck. As it was moving, and while looking through the cross hairs of my scope, I got ready to shoot, even though my dad had said wait. I was going to wait until he came into an opening to shoot, but just then, the buck came right towards us. I wanted him to be as close as he could be before shooting. He walked onto a small clump of dirt in the swamp and just stood there. He must have noticed the doe estrous in the air. I aimed at his chest. Without my dad saying out loud to shoot, I knew he was thinking it. So I shot. With my left ear ringing, I saw the buck fall straight down and thrash his rear legs twice before there was any silence. My pa then said to get ready to shoot again in case the buck gets up and tries to run. After ten minutes my dad dragged the big buck out of the swamp for me to field dress. I had almost forgotten that we still had to drag him back to the truck through a lot of rough terrain. That's the best hunt I think I'll ever have, and I'm glad to have spent it with my dad.--Kyle Antholt, Age 12
This is my daughter, Amy. She started hunting whitetails in NY in 2008. Bagged a 10-point buck as her first deer. In 2009, she was concerned that the first big buck was a fluke, but proved it wrong by connecting with a fine six point. Her story from 2009 season in her own words from a note she sent to our hunting group: I hope your thanksgivings were very joyful and filling! :) I guess my father has left it up to me to tell this story, which of course begins with a rookie hunter mistake--I fell asleep! Not minutes after being in the treestand, I fell asleep for a few minutes! This deer was taken in Millbrook, at Oak Summit Farm, on Charlie's Knob, in a treestand facing south. The terrain is great, the stand is on the top of a hill, with two ridges to the left, and downhill in front. Beginning of the season we noticed lots of deer signage and were extremely hopeful. The day started out with grumbling, as usual; 4:30 a.m. is NOT my best time of day. On the way to Millbrook, Dad and I saw a deer that he had seen before on Hollow Road, a buck. We decided this was a good omen. Next, the country radio station began playing an odd song, by Pure Prarie League, entitled "Amy." You all might recognize it. "Amy what you wanna do?/I think I could stay with you/For a while, maybe longer if I do." Again, we figured this was a good sign. And for all that, I still fell asleep when I got into the stand. Ten minutes later, it's just on the cusp of full-blown morning (which means the dozen or so squirrels that preform the NYC radio city music hall performance every morning on this hill are awake and have already started) and I wake up, look around, and realize I'm staring at a spikehorn to my left. And unfortunately, he's staring right back at me. This I was completely unprepared for. My hands are on my gun, but I cannot get the gun up and over my binoculars and grunt call around my neck. Needless to say, the little tyke starts up and runs away. I spend a little time on the grunt call, kicking myself and trying to get the damn thing back in range. No luck. About 30 minutes later, down the hill in front of me and to my left walks in this deer. I know it's brown, and it's a good size, but antlers? Hell, I can't see 'em. So I bring my gun up (I'm not getting caught again!) and wait. The deer walks along one of the trails and stops, looking like he might travel up the hill, towards my grandfather's blind. Being the good granddaughter I am, I give the deer a quick grunt on the call and he decides to come charging up the hill in front of me. (Sorry, Gramp!) When he gets 30-40 yards in front of me I realize the bar of the treestand is now completely in the way and I cannot sight on the deer any longer. It is also at this point that I see the antlers... at least 4, I think. That's all that processes before the deer continues to my right, and I sight into his shoulder and shoot. He then jumps, runs and falls in some brush down the hill and across a small crick from me. After Dad gets to me, we try to find signs that the deer was hit (my first lesson in tracking and whatnot...) even though I saw the deer go down and have been very diligently watching him in my binoculars the whole time. :) There was no blood, no fur, in the area, nor along the trail to where the deer finally lay. (Lesson learned: shot at a downward angle, with no exit wound, there won't be blood or fur...) Walking up to the deer we see a real nice sized six-point buck. :) Hooooorrraaaay! Since I have a childish habit of nicknaming the deer, I name this one "Guy" (last year's was "Buddy" - I know, I'm very creative.) So that is the story of Amy and Guy. Thanks Uncle Len for teaching to me point and shoot and think Afterwards. Thanks Dad for making sure I woke up, and of course... for doing what I couldn't. So, "Amy, what you wanna do?" Well, I think I'll keep going with this hunting thing!--Jeff Hare
At 7:30 am on Saturday, November 22 (the opening day of New York firearms season) I watched a large 8-point buck pass through the back corner of a still standing hay field, roughly 300 yds away. When the buck turned broadside, I put my crosshairs on him and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. I pulled the trigger again as my level of excitement increased dramatically, but still nothing happened. As I watched the buck meander into the woods, I was overcome with dissappoint. My first significant buck--I had previously shot a doe and a spike--had just passed through my scope, and I had been so overcome with excitement that I only took the safety half way off. I texted my friend and told him what had happened, and encouraged him to come to my stand and put me out of my misery. Roughly 30 mins later I decided to grunt in hopes that I would see some more action. Suddenly, I looked and noticed a large and impressive rack that was peering from the woods not 65 yards from my stand. The buck was blocked by a pile of loose hay that had been kicked off of a wagon. This time I would not make the same mistake; I pushed my safety off, waited for the buck to turn his head so that I could have a shot. Suddenly, a shot rang from the area where the first buck passed. With this, the buck I had in my sights turned and allowed me a perfect shot at his vitals. I executed my shot this time, and proved that second chances do exist when chasing that first big deer.--Gordon Davis West Chester, Pa Took deer on Grandparents farm in Sullivan County, NY Deer weighed 164 lbs
8 pointer which scored 62 points
I got home from work late with about 45 min left of light, so I decided to grab my camo coat and orange vest, rem 700 and go behind my house to my bow stand. On the way to the stand, I noticed some tracks around a little pond. I decided to set between the pond and stand in the fence line on a fallen branch. I had 30 min of light left, when a doe jumped the fence and went across the adjacent field. I sat about 20 minutes longer. About out of shooting light, I started to get up to go back to my house when I noticed a deer standing about 50 yards to my left. I looked through the scope and could tell it was a buck. I took careful aim and shot the deer. When I walked up on the downed deer my jaw dropped. The deer was one I saw the year before and named "big boy." Big boy is an 8_point typical with a 1-inch sticker on on the left eye guard. He is about a 140 class deer with 23-inch spread. --Billy Trent
I had back surgery on Sept 11 this year, after a three-year battle of doctors, therapist, chiropractors and the like. I finally sought out a second opinion and it was discovered I had two fractured discs. Well the timing is never good, but even more so just before hunting season. My passion is the outdoors whether its photography or archery and firearms seasons. I made my mind up to get well, get up and walk and start physical therapy as soon as I could. Missing our archery season, and beginning PT, I was at least able to get in the woods and do some hiking to strengthen my leg and back muscles again. Had some great encounters on the ground and my camera/video was busy as the Rut was fast approaching. Opening day of gun season was Nov 21 here in Western New York and I have three of the greatest hunting partners a person could have. They set up a stand for me, told me all I had to do was to kill a deer, they would do the rest. Well, this year was tough one to date and frankly had hoped that just to see a deer would be great, At 8:37 on the morning of the 21st I had this deer walk up a ridge and within 45 yards of my stand. Standing broadside and offering no clear shot through the bramble, something caught his eye and now the chest was exposed. I had one chance, one shot and as your adrenaline begins to rise, I knew I had to take the 4 second method of breathing, slow the heart,focus breathe......My 30.06 Savage and Remington 150 grain bullet was off, my shot was perfect. The bullet found its mark right in the pump station. Deer down. All I had to do now was pose for the photos and my friends did the rest. This is why this deer will hold many years of memories beyond any other animal I have taken, Beating the odds of not even thinking of having the chance just to be in the woods. Its not always about the size of the deer or rack, but the meaning behind it.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story.--Jim "Ike" Eichinger
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