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More Deer of the Year
February 11, 2009
The first time I saw this deer was late summer when he was in starting to rub off his velvet. At the start of the archery season, I hunted him but was not able to get a daytime look. I knew soon the rut would start and he might make a mistake. I hunted the first week of New Jersey extended bow and did get a glimpse of him but he was too far for a shot. There is a special muzzleloader season on Fort Dix that runs November 10 through 14 (early season) that falls in the middle of the rut and I thought I would get a chance at him. On the day after the opener, I hunted my stand in the deep woods but did not see a deer all morning. I started to think that maybe I should move to the edge of an open field where I was seeing a lot of does. That afternoon there were several does in the field and out stepped a nice 8-pointer that I would estimate to score around 120 I put him in the sights asking myself should I shoot when he spooked and ran out of range but he was looking back and not at me and he looked uneasy. I then thought he must be looking at another buck and I turned to my right and the deer I was looking for was behind me to my right. The right side was open and I had to let he walk by first and he came into the open about 60 yards away when I was able to move and place a shot on his shoulder. The 300 grain, .50 Cal, XTP Thompson Center Bullet left the Remington Model 700ML in an instant and he dropped where he stood. The deer had an inside measurement of 20 3/8 with a total of 13 scorable points. The rack was thick and palmated and estimated score is 150 plus.--Dennis Bush
I harvested this deer on November 1 on my five-acre lot within the city limits of Beavercreek, Ohio. It was my second chance at him. He green-scored 195 5/8
This brute was taken on my land in Montello Wisconsin. I was spraying doe estrous into the wind when he came to within 65 yards of my stand--John Nino, Chicago, Illinois
2008 was my third year of deer hunting and this is my third buck. A few buddies and I were about to go pheasent hunting when one called and was sick so he didnt want to go. I hurried up and got out to my stand. It was a day after a nice snow. I hadn't seen anything all morning until a spike came out from behind me, then I looked back and heard grunts and he stepped out following two fawns. He walked around me for about 15 minutes before offering me a 40-yard shot with my PSE XForce HS. I put the Rage broadhead in the middle of the rib cage and he ran about 60 yards and tipped over. I just won a local buck contest with a score of 164 3/8 typical. I'm the only hunter in my family and I work hard between seasons to purchase my equipment.--Justin Donaghu, 16, Sioux City, Iowa
I've been hunting since I was 12 years old, but this is by far my biggest buck. This is also my first deer kill on film so that just made it even more exciting for me. My cameraman/boyfriend and I were sitting in a brushy ravine and heard this big boy coming from a long distance off. As he was coming down the hill, I could see his back leg just dangling, so I knew I had to make a good shot and put him out of his misery ASAP. I ended up taking him at about 35 yards, he dropped right in his tracks. The best hunt I've ever had by far. We gross scored him at about 139 inches. The hunt also made it on the "Droptine Divas" dvd this year! It comes out early this month, so you should definitely check it out.--Katie Pipp, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
This old buck appeared as if out of nowhere 150 yards from my dad, Frank's, position on the edge of a large swale. The deer decided to make an early trip to a nearby creek for some water. My dad knew immediately it was the buck dreams are made of. Heart pounding and hands shaking, he tried to obtain a steady rest. Taking a breath, he leveled the crosshairs on his Winchester lever action .308 and fired. The first shot rang out with a clean miss. To his surprise, the buck was alerted but did not run. Cycling the action, he knew the next shot would have to hit its mark or the buck would be nothing but a memory. Pulse pounding, he strained to settle the quivering crosshairs for the second shot. He squeezed the trigger on the second round until the gun leaped to life with a tremendous echoing BOOOOOM. This time the bullet connected, but the heavy horned buck didn't act like it had been hit. My dad cycled the gun once more as the buck spun around in an attempt to make it to the woodline from which it had come. This shot would have to be quick and deliberate to stop the buck's retreat. Hastily, he sent the third round into the chamber, squinted into the scope giving the buck a short lead and pulled the trigger. As if meant to be, the buck dropped in his tracks disappearing from sight in the tall grass. The 180-grain soft point had found its mark. Hunting a few hundred yards away and after hearing the volley of shots, I soon heard the shouts of joy. At that instance, I knew something amazing must have happened. After a brisk sprint, I found my dad hovering over his trophy with a grin on his face from ear to ear. Upon seeing the deer, I knew this was a buck of a lifetime for my dad and the story of this deer would be spun until the end of time. The buck is a typical 10 point with seven-inch brow tines and 11-inch G2s. I hope my words do some justice in explaining what happened that memorable day in Michigan's north woods. It is truly hard to express the joy I felt in my heart for my dad that day.--Jeremy Maranowski, Warren, Michigan
Here's the first buck for 14-year-old Hunter DeBerry of Boerne, Texas. This 140-inch, 212-pounder was taken on the Long Ranch, Encinal Texas.
My son, Zachary Vahlkamp, age 10, and I were hunting together on the Opening Day of the 2008 Illinois gun season in Adams County. It was very cold that day and we had hunted out of ground blinds till 11 a.m. when we took a break for lunch and to warm up. This was Zach's second deer season and he had taken a yearling doe the previous year. He had not seen a decent buck while hunting. We headed back out to the blind about 1 but decided to sit in a treestand together that afternoon as the sun felt warmer. On the way to the stand, we jumped a yearling that Zach could not get a decent shot at due to the brush and we jumped two does that were out of range. Needless to say, Zach was little disappointed. We stayed in the stand even though the temperature continued to drop (it was low teens to single digits) when this buck walked by at about 40 yards around 4:30 p.m.. I saw coming through the timber and we watched it for about 5 minutes as it made its way towards us. I tried to videotape the shot but dropped the camera when Zach finally put it down with his third shot from his Remington 1100, 20 gauge. He was a pretty excited young man and even more so at the fish fry that we had at deer camp on Saturday night for our group and neighbors and hunters on the surrounding farms. The deer has 8 to 9 inch G2's and G3's, weighed close to 200 pounds and was the biggest deer taken by our group.
My husband and I were married on October 18, 2008. As outdoor enthusiasts and bowhunting fanatics we planned the honeymoon of our dreams to Brown County Illinois, each with our sights set on harvesting an Illinois whitetail. We prepared vigorously for our trip, often putting wedding plans on the backburner. We headed to Illinois with the nervous excitement that every hunter knows. After an 11-hour sit on the first day of our hunt, Josh connected on the buck of a lifetime, a 167-inch, 11-pointer! Neither of us having ever had the privilege of shooting, much less seeing a deer of that caliber instantly took our love for the sport to the next level. While Josh enjoyed the rest of our honeymoon in the lodge, basking in the joy of his amazing accomplishment I set out, hopeful of following in my husband's footsteps. By the end of the week, poor circumstances and a bit of bad luck left me devastated and on my way home without an Illinois whitetail of my own. Although I could not have been more proud of my Josh, it was difficult to mask the devastation of my own defeat. We headed back to New York knowing that there was still work to be done. The morning after our return, we headed out to our local hunting spot, an 800-acre farm where surprisingly we had not seen much activity or sign in the past. On our absolute last day to bowhunt, my opportunity for redemption stepped out of the thicket, a 148-inch, 9-pointer! Having only seen a handful of small bucks and does on the property I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. As the buck of my dreams moved in closer, reality set in. My heart began pounding out of my chest; I knew I had to make it happen. Then, right on cue, he stepped broadside, 10 yards away. As a hunter who has been in the woods my entire life, I have never experiences so many highs and lows in one season, but just in time for the end of the season, I got my buck of a lifetime! We could not have asked for two better wedding gifts.--Holly & Josh Sidebottom
I passed up 15 to 20 bucks a day for three days before settling on this 25'-inch, 5x3 in utah.--Sean Hendricks, Salt Lake City, Utah
It was Sunday Oct. 24th and I only had about three hours in the morning to hunt and then I needed to get back home for a family gathering. I was discouraged and really I just wanted to get out of my treestand and go see my wife and kids. Just as I was thinking this I saw a buck walking down the treeline that I was hunting. He was big (not huge) but to me he looked like a moose. He made a scrape in front of me and walked to my right side. He messed around enough that I was able to get into position to take a shot. I had to get up, turn completely around in my tree stand, draw and fire. I fired and I knew I hit him. I didn't see the arrow hit but I heard it. He then ran off across a grass field and stopped at the top of a hill to look at me on the edge of a standing corn. He then ran into the corn. I asked a couple of friends of mine to help. We searched for over 2 hours but the trail had dried up. We were exhausted and discouraged. The older gentleman had walked back up the trail to see the last blood spot and myself and the other guys kept walking along the edge of the field for another 50 yards past the scrape and found nothing. I was disgusted with myself and told the other gentleman that it was time to walk back to the truck. We had lost the deer and I was 3 hours late for a family gathering and I was done with bowhunting. Not just for the day but forever. I even told this to my friend who was walking with me. He then went and looked at the fresh scrape again and I was 10 yards behind him walking along the same path he was. When I got to the scrape I looked at the scrape and then looked to my right in the cornfield. When I looked 3 rows deep in the cornfield 15 yards behind the scrape, the deer was laying there dead. Both of the other guys had walked past the deer twice and I had walked past it once and was about to pass it up a second time. To say I was overjoyed is putting it mildly. I am having the head mounted and my wife agreed that we could put the head in my son Hunter's room. He field-dressed at 210 lbs.
2008 marked the 2nd year that I took my two nephews out deer hunting--they come from a non-hunting family. In 2007, Marshal sat with me in a box stand and he froze up when this buck went by us on opening morning. The next morning he went by me but offered no shot. Forward to opening morning of 2008 and I again told Marshal that the 1st deer was his. The buck stopped to look at our doe decoys and offered him a long but good shot. On his last shot he connected and my daughter found it for him about 150 yards away. His older brother also tagged his 1st deer a nice doe. Thinking that this was the only big buck on the land we hunt, I was going to be reserved to just enjoying the time with family & friends. But five days later, 15 minutes into my morning hunt my 10-pointer came by & one shot and he was mine. I later ranged the spot where I shot him at 86 yards. I guess that I got the both of best worlds, I let Marshal tag his 1st deer a true monster and was also able to tag a true trophy. Both deer will be going on the walls to be proudly displayed.
The guys in my family introduced me to deer hunting at a very young age. It was my boyfriend Greg who recently encouraged me to get my hunting license and to start bow and gun hunting, his passion for hunting rubbed off on me. Opening day of the 2008 rifle season, I went out hoping for my first doe. Little did I know the unbelievable events that would happen that evening! Greg and I were sitting on the ground behind a make-shift blind over a food plot. Light was quickly fading with no action, but finally this huge deer entered the field heading towards us. It was difficult keeping my composure as the deer continued his path directly at us. Closing the gap from 100 yards to 30, the deer knew something was out of place. Finally, the deer turned broadside giving me a perfect 30-yard shot. The Remington .308 howled and the deer ran off. We were skeptical of the shot until we found good blood, then the excitement was unbearable. After tracking it for 70 yards we found him, and he was a lot bigger than we thought. Grinning form ear to ear, I was holding my 14- point, 160-inch, non-typical whitetail. With all of it being on video, Greg and I were on the top of the world. This was a great experience to share with my family and friends and he is truly an amazing buck. I can't wait to get another chance at a deer like this…..plus I still have to get one with my bow. Wish me luck.--Heather Iven
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