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Campfire

New Weekly Contest: Best Hunting Story Wins a Leatherman

Uploaded on September 29, 2009

We're kicking off a new feature on the Field & Stream web site, a place for all you aspiring outdoor writers to show off your stuff (and have a chance to win some great gear). It's called the Field & Stream Story Contest, and we'll be holding one each week through the month of October.

Here's how they work. Write us a story that's between 300 and 1000 words long (go over and you'll be disqualified). Then enter it into the comments section below. We'll review each one each week and evaluate it based on the following things.

1. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
2. Originality, perspective, and voice
3. Brevity

On Monday of the following week we'll announce the winning entry and open up a new contest. Winners will receive a Leatherman Super Tool 300 (weeks one and two) or a Leatherman Expanse e55 knife (weeks three and four).

So let's get started! ENTER SUBMISSIONS FOR WEEK ONE (ONLY) INTO THE COMMENTS BELOW. We'll create a separate thread each week for the next round of submissions. Note that the first "week" of this contest will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5.

Nate Matthews
Online Editor

UPDATE: WEEK ONE WINNER ANNOUNCED Congratulations to "Critter," who wins a Leatherman Supertool 300 for his story about hunting, shooting, and tracking an elk. Next week's winner will be announced on Monday, October 12. Good luck!

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from Skeeb wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Well, I was hunting alone one day on the outskirts of a new food plot. After about 6 hours of seeing nothing, I asked my dad to put on a drive for me. That lasted about an hour with no deer coming towards me. When my dad got to me, I told him that I had a good feeling about a spot about a mile away. He said OK and just as we were about to leave, he told me, "you know what, park your ass right here, were spending the rest of the day here." And wouldn't you know it, 5 minutes after he said that, I got my first buck. It was only a spike but still, it was the first deer that he actually saw me kill. So now, we both have that memory which wil stay with us both until the end.

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from seadog wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

BILLIE'S FIRST GATOR HUNT
My friend Billie has been hunting all his life. He's one of the best turkey hunters I know. When he decided to come gator hunting with us, he took it seriously. He went out and got himself all geared up. He bought a new crossbow, a laser sight, bowfishing reel, 600 lb. test line, a special attachment to hold the float below the reel, and custom made fish arrows with detachable muzzy harpoon points. It was the finest gator crossbow rig any of us had ever seen. Billie went out and practiced. Day after day he fired that crossbow until that laser sight was zeroed in perfectly, and he kept practicing to be sure he would be ready. He was going to get his first gator and it was going to be a trophy. When it was finally time to hunt, we loaded that 16 ft. johnboat with lights, harpoon, .44 magnum bang stick, other gator hunting paraphernalia, and most importantly, Billie's crossbow. We had four tags between Billie and I; Terry would Captain the boat. We decided to take turns and switch off each hour. Billie was ready so he hunted first. We stalked several gators. Some were small; the bigger ones were smart. After about 45 minutes, we came up on a 7 footer. I whispered to Billie: "You got 2 tags. That's a good meat gator. We got all night to hunt a trophy." The gator came into range and Billie fired--couldn't have been more than an inch high, but the shot missed. I suggested that Billie keep hunting since he was going for his first gator and it was his brand new equipment. After another hour with no luck, he insisted that I take my turn. As luck would have it, we came up on a nice gator within minutes. He held for me and I nailed him. The battle with the gator on the line was exciting, as always. The gator measured 8'5" and Billie was now hooked on gator hunting. Now it was his turn. We hunted, and we hunted, and we hunted. About 1:30 a.m., Bilie said we should just get a little one so he would have his first gator. So we did. After we stretched it out real good, it measured 6 feet. A nice meat gator but not the trophy Billie wanted. We decided to hunt our way back to the boat ramp. I took the crossbow. About half way back, I heard Billie say "left, he's big!" I turned and saw one of the widest sets of eyes I've ever seen. At the time, I didn't know how big he was, just that he was big and he was already going down. No time to aim, I turned and snapped off a shot. Some combination of luck and skill put that bolt right behind the head, a perfect shot. It was a half hour later before we got a good look at that gator. It was huge. I harpooned it to get a second line on it and the fight began all over. It was another 20 minutes before we got it back close enough to the boat to hit it with the bang stick. Terry hit him with that .44 magnum in the perfect spot--stoned him with one shot. The hardest part was getting him into the boat. The gator measured just a hair over 12 feet. Billie didn't get his trophy, but I did.

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

When I got my first elk God was on my side. After 2 years of not seeing anything in our yearly elk hunting spot, I was very happy to see elk the opening day of elk season in 2008. Randy, My dad and I got up on a very cold day at 5:30 AM. Trust me it wasn't very fun. But I had elk in my head so that was what got me motivated. We hiked up a ridge called Indian Ridge, when we got to the top we didn't see anything. At this I was a little mad and it put my spirits down. So Randy went back to camp to start breakfast, while my dad any I kept hunting. We just climbed Teepee Ridge (the next ridge up), and stopped to take a break, when all of a sudden my dad spots three bull elk. SO we take off further up the ridge to pursue them. When we made it to the top, I saw a lone bull just starring at us. As I put my crosshairs on him he takes off even further up the ridge. So we take off after him. After running for about 200 yards, we see six bulls crossing the ridge. So we kneel down and start shooting. I hit my bull several times with my .308 but it didn't knock him down. Mean while my dad wounded his elk. So he gave me his .300 Win Mag and I finished off my elk in the neck at 300 yards while he was running. After an extensive search my dad couldn't find his. But I think it was one of the greatest moments of my life, being able to shoot an elk with my dad, and having God on our sides to give me that second chance at my first elk.

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from 007 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Spring turkey season was memorable, as we heard more gobbling this spring than we have for several springs. The first day was not for the faint of heart. I put a gobbler to bed the evening before, and was waiting for him the next morning. I worked back and forth with the old boy for probably 30-45 minutes, not making much progress, when I heard wing beats behind me. I sat and watched a flock of black headed vultures wake up and fly out for the day. For those of you unfamiliar, this is not the old turkey vulture or buzzard that is commonly found, this is a slightly smaller, stockier bird built more like a raven or a raptor. I am told that they can be a serious threat to livestock, according to agricultural and biologist sources.
The gobbler at hand put on quite a show for me and the apparent bevy of hens in his company, then took his harem, circled below me, and faded into the next hollow, gobbling insults the whole time. While I was scratching my head and wondering what had just happened, it dawned on me that there was another gobbler just across the road, raising just as much ruckus if nothing more. I hustled across the hollow and the road and set up around the point from this old bird, and began giving him some quiet and subtle yelps. In short order, he was looking at me, a picture I will not soon forget. Instead of coming around the ridge to me as anticipated, he came straight out over the top and stood at the brow of the hill in full strut, the morning sun shining brightly on his fan. I would very much like to have captured that image on film. He was facing dead on at me so I was reluctant to shoot him with the rifle barrel of my over and under so I switched to the shotgun barrel, held a bit high to compensate for the distance, pulled the trigger, and then watched as a feathered rocket took off for the next ridge. Have you ever seen a wild turkey duck and put his wings over his head as 2 ounces of copper-coated #6 shot skims his scalp? I can now say that I have. He gobbled again several days later but would not come to any call. I thoroughly educated that old boy, a lesson he will not soon forget, nor will I. I have learned that success is not always measured by trigger pulls or fish landed and the spring turkey season bears this out. One morning while hunting with my son, we happened upon a den of small red fox pups, about the size of a small house cat. One in particular was photogenic enough to sit on the lip of the groundhog hole they had set up housekeeping in and pose for several pictures. A week or so later, my wife and I saw another den of fox pups just after dawn on the way to work, down the road below home, seeing them several times over the course of a couple of weeks.
I continued to hunt solo for the rest of the season’s Saturdays as my son was tied up with work. The one day that we did share though was golden, spent sitting in the morning sun, talking about anything and everything, making memories, and enjoying my son. Several weeks later, I did finally find a jake gobbler that either had a death wish or was not too bright, as I called him downhill, likely off posted land, where he popped up over a bank and stood and looked at me. It’s not always about the size of the fish or game taken, but sometimes about the experiences leading up to that fish or game that count. The spring gobbler season of 2009 will be considered as a trophy.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I started this rifle season like many before. My focus was on filling my elk and mule deer tags during the month of October. I was waiting to funnel my efforts on whitetail during the rut of November. This year was going to be different due to an extended season in the unit I hunt. Instead of the season ending on the 20th of November, I would now have until December 1st to hunt whitetail. The extra days at the end of the season were falling during the peak and post rut. This had me excited, for my odds would be better at crossing paths with a bruiser buck. The other advantage would be that since the season continued through Thanksgiving, we would be bringing up friends and family to have our turkey dinner with us in the wall tents. This sounded like a better way to spend quality time with them anyway, without having the distraction of the television and phones in the background.
We set up camp on the 15th as I planned on hunting a few days here and there, then hunting the whole week around Thanksgiving. Most years we have had great success around the 17th of November, but this year we had the misfortune of clear skys and a near full moon which sent the deer into their nocturnal mode, making hunting difficult. I did manage to call in several decent bucks, none of which were big enough to fill my tag with this early in the season. I had one 5×5 in particular that was kind enough to pose for my camera as I debated on taking him with my revolver since he was only 20 yards away. I decided to let him walk since he had a couple of broken tines.
I hit the deer hunting hard the week of Thanksgiving. There seemed to be more hunting pressure this year than in years past so the hunting was tough. With the downward spiral in the economy, more people were out to put meat in the freezer. Some of our local sawmill workers and loggers were laid off from work, and the majority of these guys are die hard hunters. Without work they headed for the hills.
Most years we can count on a good dusting of snow in mid to late November which seems to get the deer moving. This concentrates them in the lower elevations, but this year the weather never really did us any favors. We were not blessed with getting to chase the mountain bucks in the snow.
The evening before Thanksgiving I ventured out of my normal hunting grounds to a higher elevation in an attempt to get away from areas hit hard by other hunters. I was walking down an old logging road,working my way back from the clear cuts before dark when I heard a deer blow and start running towards the road through the timber. Like an idiot I waited to raise my rifle until I could see what the deer looked like. By the time it registered that it was a very large buck, he was already across the road and headed out through the dark timber. After messing up on this buck due to my picky ways, I decided it was getting late enough in the season to stop looking for the bruiser and start thinking about actually tagging.
The morning of Thanksgiving I returned to the same spot where I had made a bad decision the night before. As I approached the location where I had stood, I once again heard deer blow and start running towards the road. I back peddled a couple of steps to expose a clear shooting lane, I then put my crosshairs where I thought the deer would go. While looking through my Burris rifle scope I saw doe after doe. I finally spotted horns, and let a shot go from my Tikka .243. I thought for a minute that I may have shot low! I began to look for blood, hair, or any other sign of a connecting shot. I didn’t spot any blood but could clearly see the bucks tracks, so I followed them. After about 45 yards I could see the buck ahead of me where he lay over a downed cedar. Upon my approach I could see he was not the large buck from the night before. He ended up being a smaller horned 4×4 with a couple of broken tines. He was an older deer. I could tell he was on his downhill slide as far as antlers go, but he definitely was the scrapper of the area by looking at his broken tines, tore up hide, and other signs of battle.
In short order I had the buck back to my vehicle and loaded up. I was a little disappointed that he was not the buck I had seen the previous day. I have a problem with shooters remorse. I love the hunt so much that I hate to see it end. My mood started changing on the way back to camp while thinking about sharing my experience with friends and family over our wonderful turkey dinner. This has been a tough year for alot of people in our area. I at least had one thing to be thankful for on this day, and it was hanging on the meat pole at the edge of camp.
It was my Thanksgiving buck!

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from benjismokin wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

It was as if madness or obsession had come over me. Suddenly I had nothing but killing on my brain. The time was finally here. It was the opening day of archery season.

I had waited all year for this day, and I was stoked! I woke up an extra hour early to make sure that I had everything I needed. All my gear was neatly arranged in the corner by the door, and the truck was warming up. The weather report said it would be very chilly for a September day, but it wasn’t going to be too bad. I knew that it was a perfect day for hunting.

The thirty minute drive to my land was just enough to get the sleep off of me, and when I arrived the woods were still as calm as water. I gathered my gear and got out my maps. I had three prime locations to choose from. The first was to the north. It was an old box elder that had been blown over between two ridges, to create not only a perfect obstacle to steer passing deer in my direction, but also as a blind. The second was perched in a tree, about sixteen feet up, overlooking a shallow spot in the creek where four trails connected. The third was a hike.

I stumbled upon this stand location while tracking a low hit doe in years before. It was an old apple orchard that had been abandoned, due to the rising creek level in the spring. Now it served as prime land for whitetail. The trees still sprouted buds (and produced enough apples to keep the deer happy) but the area had been a total wetland in the spring.

I had been hunting this area the entire ten years that I have owned it. There are several reasons "why". First, there is the mere twenty minute ride to the trail (then another thirty-forty minute walk to the stand site). Secondly, in order to successfully hunt this spot, you must have a climber and be a damn good shot. You only have room for an approximate fifteen yard shot (encompassing three shooting lanes). Compound this with the fact that you are twenty feet in the air and you'll be close to realizing the situation at hand. In this stand site, you are at LEAST an hour from any another man. With all that information stored, it's not hard to understand how this area could be construed as "deer heaven".

As I turned back outside the truck, the cool morning air was turning colder. For some reason, something told me to get moving. I grabbed my gear and headed onward. Along the walk, a lot of things play games with a man's head. This happens, especially, in the darkness. Every twig I heard snap; every bird I heard leaving its roost seemed to send my heart into over-drive. It felt as though it could be beating out of my chest. I could hear distant frogs from the creek; the hoot of howls; the yipping of coyotes in the hills. It was a very peaceful, yet scary, journey.

I reached my honey-hole with ample time to get set up right for the wind. It seemed as though the cold weather was picking up. Since the time I awoke (to this moment), the temperature had been dropping, constantly. The air was cold and the clouds looked like they were full and ready to burst. But, nothing seemed to bother me. I was wrapped in a cocoon of warmth and had no worries about the weather.

I wrestled my climber onto the tree and made my ascent. As I reached the apex (about eighteen feet), I cautiously pulled my pack and bow to my new position. I settled in and got setup. I have nothing to wait for, now, except the first splinter of the rising sun.

As I sat there, time seemed to move slowly and steadily. The forest was starting to awaken. The birds were chirping, and the rising sunlight filled the previously darkened woods. I couldn’t help but think about the day that lay ahead of me. My mind and body were filled with anxiety, and I was aching for that first glimpse of a deer.

Daylight was well upon me now. It's now seven o’clock..... and it's cold. I figured the temperature at a mere thirty-five degrees and the sky was spitting snow. I watched as the woods seemed to fill up with wildlife. The squirrels were busy finding food and chasing each other up and down trees. They sounded as if they were fighting to the death as they crashed through the crisp leaves. I had a group of turkeys move through, which startled me! All the commotion they made resembled what I thought might be a herd of deer coming my way. Occurrences like this remind me of why I love bow hunting as much as I do. While bow hunting, I'm able to observe nature's beauty in ways many can only dream of.

Suddenly, I'm snapped out of the realm of day dreaming. I'm brought back to reality, albeit kicking and screaming. There's a loud "cracking sound" behind me. I am frozen, instantly. I wait for the quiet to come, but I hear it, again. This time it was louder (and moving closer). As my heart starts to beat faster.....faster...., sending my body ....I begin shaking. I slowly turn towards the noise. My eyes are frantically trying to catch something (anything) moving. I notice a small bush (about thirty-five yards away) moving, ever so gently. I paused, as though I was trying to look completely through the bush, to see the faint glimpse of an ear twitching.

I reached for my bow, not knowing what was going to come out from behind the shrub. As I watched and waited, I kept telling myself to calm down. Relax. Then, it happened. The object I was so patiently waiting for stepped out from behind the bush. My stomach sank. Standing before me (and well within bow range) was a gig doe. She was chewing, rapidly, and acting as though there was something that she was supposed to be doing. Her tail was flicking wildly, and she kept looking to her right side, towards the creek bed. Glancing quickly, I noticed that there were three more does. Relaxing, momentarily, I let up on the bow and eased myself back into a comfortable position. I noticed my heart, still racing. As I watched the four does parade around the orchards, picking up food and frolicking with each other, they seemed to not have a care in this world. They hung around for what seemed like hours, then disappeared into the thicket.

The weather was beginning to pick up, and I thought for the first time there might be a snowy opening weekend. My body was starting to feel the effects of sitting still and began stiffening with the frigid temperature. I decided to have a cup of coffee and stretch a bit. It was nine o’clock before I saw another deer. This time, it was a respectable seven-pointer. He walked right towards me, then turned to take a quick bite before heading back to the creek bottom. Excitement is what keeps a man on the stand, I have always thought.

As the day grew longer, the deer sightings dropped off. While watching the orchard edges (where the orchards meet the swamp), something caught my eye. It was a small sparkle.... a mere glimmer of light that had reflected off something. I grabbed my binoculars and scoped the terrain.

There he was! Before me was the buck I was hoping to see!

At a distance of sixty-five yards, I could see the massive tines shooting splinters of bark from a sapling. His head was gigantic! His body was not unlike that of a horse! I couldn’t count the number of tines, but I knew they had to be "many". He was still a long ways out, and was meandering about. I knew at this point that he could go in any direction he wanted. I knew that I would have to pull out all the stops to even get a closer look. Throughout all my previous years hunting (and articles that I have read, in magazines), I tried to recall all of the tips and tricks that one thinks he should have in his arsenal. Nothing can prepare you for this moment, though....short of living it. When you are face to face with an animal you want SO badly, you realize that you're going to have to draw on all of your past experiences to close the deal. I quietly picked up my grunt tube and made a few soft, slow grunts. No response! I then tried a few more, this time a little longer and louder. Nothing, still. I thought, for sure, this buck was never going to get the message. So, I then pulled out the rattling antlers and clicked them together. The giant's head shot up! Game on.

He stretched his neck out, so far it seemed as if it was just floating there. I clicked the antlers together again, and his curiosity heightened. This was no dumb buck though. He didn’t walk right to the noise or charge in for a fight. He waited and watched. He was looking for any sign of danger before inquiring as to the source of the noise. To him, this "noise" meant one thing. With the breeding season upon us, he was about to enter into a fight for this territory.

I had managed to keep it together the entire fifteen minutes he stood there, looking. I picked my grunt tube, again, this time giving three hard blasts. This buck had heard enough, and decided to move. With his head cocked down and his chest pumped up, he headed towards me. With each step in my direction he took....my heart skipped beats. He stopped at approximately forty yards, and continued to gaze in my direction, never taking his eyes off level ground.

“He doesn't know I’m here”, I kept telling myself. I watched, intently, as he took his time coming across the clearing. I knew he would reach my shooting lane, soon. I tried to gather my composer for the imminent shot, and I slowly started to stand. My bow was in hand as he noticed something he didn’t like. He started to take a path in the wrong direction, but I remembered I had a shooting lane there, too. That shot would be nowhere near as "perfect" as this one, though. I slowly reached for my grunt tube again and gave a quick, two snort combination. The buck wheeled around and stopped, just inside the thicket.

I could finally see his antlers, and I was NOT disappointed. He sported six points on the left main beam, with one drop tine. I could clearly make out seven points on the right. I quickly surmised at least a thirty inch spread. He was easily the biggest deer I had ever seen on this property, and I knew he wasn’t "just another buck". His coat was almost black, and his face was stubbed and grey. As he stood their, all I could do was freeze. I wanted nothing to interfere with me and my trophy.

As he stood in this thick spot, I examined my chance. If he continued on the same path he was facing, he would be well inside twenty yards of my stand in a moment. That position should offer me a good shot. That's my chance at him. If he turns, though, the opportunity would surely pass me by. It was as if he knew I was thinking about him, because he then started to move.

He picked up his heavy racked head and pranced out of the thicket. He was headed straight towards me. At 25 yards, he turned just enough to reveal his vitals, and to give me the chance to draw on him. When I pulled the bow up, and began my draw, the bow felt like thin air. It was an extension of my body. My draw was clean and smooth. I didn’t search to find my anchor point. Everything was solid. . I found the pin through the peep sight, and placed it right behind the left shoulder. I gave a slight whistle, and the giant stopped. I placed my pin directly behind his left shoulder, and gave a faint whistle. My giant stopped. My concentration was broken by the distinct sound of carbon shaft in flight. The next sound I heard was a sharp, distinctive "smack"!

The massive animal bucked his back feet hard against his stomach, then disappeared in a cloud of snow and mud. I watched as the giant ran into the thicket.

After nearly five minutes, he appeared from the other side, towards the timber. He was simply walking....stepping as if nothing had happened.

“How did I miss?” was the only question running through my mind. I stood there, watching him, as he headed toward the dark timbers of his home. It was as if he was trying to break my spirits. Was he mocking the fact that I had missed? How did I miss a mere eighteen yard, broadside shot? I knew my bow was dialed in and I knew the shot felt "perfect". How could this have happened?

I waited another half hour before getting down from my perch. I gathered my gear and headed to the where I had shot. I needed to find my arrow. I looked, but could find nothing. I decided to take the route the buck had taken, in case the hit was low. As soon as I got to the thickets, I found the arrow. It was covered in blood and meat. Good sign! I followed a thick blood trail until I got to the opening before the woods. This was the last place I had seen the giant. I found puddles of pinkish blood and I knew that he wasn’t going to be far away. Every hunter knows this is a sure sign of a lung hit deer. I made my way about 10 yards into the forest and there he was! He had piled up on an old log.

I couldn’t handle it! I ran to him, grabbing his massive tines! he was just as I had suspected......a damned good eleven pointer! My excitement was out of control! This was what it was all about. THIS is why my love for hunting grows more and more, through the years.

As I stood over this monster of a deer, I thought about how proud I felt to have taken such an animal. The honor of going head to head with the smartest animal in the woods....and winning....was bestowed upon me.

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from tskive wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My First Day of Deer Camp-
Ever since I was a little tyke I can remember going to deer camp. My step-dad has a large cabin that is on our hunting property and every year him and a dozen or so of his friends would gather there for the opening week. My brother and I loved to go over there, it was filled large, hairy men, amazing mounts from around the country, and some of the best food you will find anywhere. We would sit around the stove while the old men drank moonshine, and we would listen to them tell one lie after the other. After the a few hours we were forced (very much against our will) to go back home for the night. My brother and I would always talk long into the night about the places that we would go hunting and the monster bucks we would tag.
Fast-forward several years; i am 17 and would this year be allowded to stay at the cabin and hunt with the men. I believe that it was a Thursday night, but the Michigan politicians finally did one thing right and school was cancelled for the next day to celebrate opening day(as it should be all around the country, and for every season's opening day). A neighbor with a cabin near ours had put up a blind on the property line, which as far as everyone there was concerned amounted to stealing deer. To top it off My two does were found dead during archery season with the neighbors arrows in them. He had not even taken the time to track them after he shot them. After this news was related to all that were present, there was a rare, angry silence. Then my uncle had a brilliant idea.
There was about 20 bags of leaves in the back of my truck (that my brother and I had been forced to rake) and my uncle thought that he could find a good use for them. We all got lanterns and decided to dish out a little vigilante justice. Let's just say that our naighbor would find it hard to hunt in the morning with most of the leaves that had been raked up now residing in his blind.
To me the that was the best part of the hunt, but ranking right up there in second place was the beautiful six-pointer that I shot about 20 minutes after shooting light. I like to think that I was being rewarded for foiling the shooting (yes, shooting I don't think of him as a true hunter) of a so-called sportsman.

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from Shellcracker wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

North Florida, December, 40 degrees after an overnight rain. Me and my buddies are on a late season hog hunt in a wildlife refuge that is every part of "Old Florida" as you can get filled with cane breaks, pine, live oaks hanging with spanish moss and plenty of palmetto. We see huge areas of wallows and hog sign everywhere, yet, where are the hogs? We follow fresh tracks out to the edge of a marsh on the Gulf of Mexico and see a bulldozed section of sawgrass but then it goes back into the swamp. No hogs. The side of a palm tree has a few large claw marks from a black bear about 6 feet up. We pause and look. Walking on, we kick up an 8 point buck that jumps about 25 yards away. We sit motionless and he does too, looking at us out of the side of his vision. He is breathing heavey as are we. We all wait, frozen for several seconds. Then he bolts. We exchange conversation then continue on, following a clear stream and find a limestone spring river with sheepshead in it what must have washed in during the last tropical storm. My friend tells the story of a spearpoint he found here last spring on a turkey hunt. We continue following the trail, passing some rabbit hunters who exchange some conversation and eventually find spots to put up evening stands. I get in a pine with tusk marks on it and one of my buddies climbs up a fallen oak not far away. We sit and wait. A doe charges through, 40 yards away, my heart beats. I wait for a group of hogs to charge through at any second. Then I see it. A blaze orange shirt and a yahoo stalking through the woods, right under our stands. Its one of our buddies. He had been stand hunting earlier elsewhere in the county and had a bear try to get in his tree so he left and happened to drive to our area for a late afternoon "swamp stomp". We all get out of the stands, share a laugh or two then head down the road in the trucks for some beers and barbecue. No trophy hog or other crazy story. Just a great day hunting with friends in a beautiful place.

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from Shellcracker wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

North Florida, December, 40 degrees after an overnight rain. Me and my buddies are on a late season hog hunt in a wildlife refuge that is every part of "Old Florida" as you can get filled with cane breaks, pine, live oaks hanging with spanish moss and plenty of palmetto. We see huge areas of wallows and hog sign everywhere, yet, where are the hogs? We follow fresh tracks out to the edge of a marsh on the Gulf of Mexico and see a bulldozed section of sawgrass but then it goes back into the swamp. No hogs. The side of a palm tree has a few large claw marks from a black bear about 6 feet up. We pause and look. Walking on, we kick up an 8 point buck that jumps about 25 yards away. We sit motionless and he does too, looking at us out of the side of his vision. He is breathing heavey as are we. We all wait, frozen for several seconds. Then he bolts. We exchange conversation then continue on, following a clear stream and find a limestone spring river with sheepshead in it that must have washed in during the last tropical storm. My friend tells the story of a spearpoint he found here last spring on a turkey hunt. We continue following the trail, passing some rabbit hunters who exchange some conversation and eventually find spots to put up evening stands. I get in a pine with tusk marks on it and one of my buddies climbs up a fallen oak not far away. We sit and wait. A doe charges through, 40 yards away, my heart beats. I wait for a group of hogs to charge through at any second. Then I see it. A blaze orange shirt and a yahoo stalking through the woods, right under our stands. Its one of our buddies. He had been stand hunting earlier elsewhere in the county and had a bear try to get in his tree so he left and happened to drive to our area for a late afternoon "swamp stomp". We all get out of the stands, share a laugh or two then head down the road in the trucks for some beers and barbecue. No trophy hog or other crazy story. Just a great day hunting with friends in a beautiful place.

(grammar correction from above. I replaced "what" with "that")

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from gillsnhorns wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I am a former U.S. Army Ranger from the 75th Ranger Rgt. I was out hunting whitetail with a friend and my uncle. All season long we have been seeing huge deer tracks with some bear tracks mixed in. One afternoon after lunch we picked where we wanted to set up our spots throughout this 100 acre property we were hunting. Mine happen to be the farthest away, not only that, through a massive 20 acre spread of 6 year old clear cut pines. This stuff is as thick as it gets, cant see more than 15 feet in any direction. As I was slinking into this stuff I stoped to listen, at that very moment, the biggest deer I have ever seen jumps up not 2 feet to my left and takes off ACCROSS me, not running the other way but runs directly across 18 inches in front of me. This thing scared me so bad it put me flat on my back. As I try to regain control of my bladder and gross motor function I let off two shots with no luck. So as the story goes with my buddies, they think the headlines should read; Combat proven Airborne Ranger gets owned by fury woodland creature. Yes I have made long shots, yes I missed a full grown deer at 2 yards with a shotgun. My uncle's 6 year old grandson said that it was a dragon deer because thats thing only things that could scare someone like me. Still havn't lived it down. At christmass they still sing Dakota got ran over by a reindeer.

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from gmai78 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Each spring hunters take to the woods in search of the ever elusive TOM turkey. As opening day approaches, each of us check our gear, catch up on the latest turkey video’s and pick up our annual Turkey hunters addition of Field and Stream; in hopes of gaining an edge to outsmart Mr. Tom.
The 2007 Ohio Spring turkey season was no different for me with one exception: I would be going solo. During the previous seven turkey season’s I had the pleasure of learning a great deal of expertise from a pioneer in the Ohio sport. William “Bill” Bogart, a former pro staff member for Woods Wise game calls, bestowed upon me the vast knowledge he had gained during his years in the woods.
Bill is the farther of a dear friend of mine, Brad. Over the years I have had the pleasure of watching their home made hunting video’s, eating dinner with Jere Peak of the NWTF, and not to mention the many trips to the woods scouting and hunting Turkey. You see, Bill’s passion for the sport had allowed him the opportunity to hunt with Mr. Peak each spring, and being a close family friend allowed me to pick the brain of, what I consider, two of the greatest Turkey conservationist.
The lessons I learned were going to be put to the test for the first time; alone!
I had already packed all of my gear the day prior and simply slipped out of the house long before sunrise. As I arrived at the farm I could feel my nerves beginning to get the best of me. There is something about the anticipation of hearing the first gobble of the year.
I pulled myself together, put my gear on and headed for the Pines. The Pines is a small five acre stretch of trees on top of one of the hills in the cow pasture. I have scouted the spot for the past three weeks and knew there was heavy turkey traffic in that area. I knew exactly where I needed to be, picking out my spot two weeks prior. As I hiked up the hillside, barely able to see my feet below me, I was extremely careful not to disturb the silence of the morning. As I approached the pines the path split and I dropped over the hill about 30 yards to my right.
The spot I had chosen was an old logging road; grown up over the years the spring vegetation was beginning to take over the road. I found a small flat about 30 yards from the pines. This was to be my ambush spot. I set up my foam hen decoy, and then snuck back into the tree tops about 20 yards.
Let the waiting begin.
As I sat in the dark, I could see the sunlight starting to burn a hole in the forest openings. The dew melting away under the day’s new found light, I heard the first few hens fly down out of the trees. My heart was pounding! It was only a matter of time until the gobblers would be on the ground. As I waited a bit longer, I could hear the tractor fire up at the farm as my father-in law was getting the morning hay out for the cows.
Then, I heard him.
Mr. Tom’s gobble echoed through the valley. It was so loud; I thought he was right on top of me! My years of training had taught me one thing about this moment. It is the one mistake that most turkey hunters make.
DON’T START CALLING!
You see, Bill had taught me that turkey hunting took a great deal of patience. It is something which a lot of hunters fail to realize. It is in those moments, when your heart is pounding, your nerves racing, and everything in you is telling you to make a call to him that you need to wait. Let the bird fly down out of his tree and begin his morning routine.
Several minutes passed, although it seemed as if an eternity, before I heard him fly down. Mr. Tom was finally on the ground. My patience was growing thin. I waited a few minutes longer.
I had already place my slate call on my leg and was waiting; striker in hand. My nerves finally bested me and I made the first call of the morning.
Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, purr
He sounded of with such force that my hat was nearly blown off. He was only about 25 yards away, just up on top of the hill in the Pines. My scouting was beginning to pay off. I waited a few minutes and called again.
Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, purr
Again, he sounded off. Now I could see him out of the right corner of my eye, just below the brim of my hat. The wind was blowing just slightly, causing my hen do dance in the morning sun. Mr. Tom was on the move.
I slowly raised my Stoeger Model 2000 12ga to my shoulder, paying close attention to make as little movement as possible. He was working down the logging road in full strut, drumming his way to his ultimate doom. As he came into my sights I made one last call with my mouth.
Chuck.
BOOOOMMMM!!!!!
As the smoke cleared in the morning air, my prize lay motionless in the middle of the logging road. My emotions ran wildly through me. I ran to my bird ecstatic that my patience had prevailed.
As I drove to the checking station I made several calls to Bill and my buddy Brad. Neither was home, for they too were out practicing the patience of a turkey hunter.

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from BioGuy wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Title: Not Forgiven

SNAP! The silence of the crisp autumn morning was broken. My heart began to race as I slowly turned my head in the direction of the sound. A flicker of movement in a distant stand of beach whips confirmed that a deer was in my hunting area.

With the question of whether or not I was looking at a buck still to be answered, I slowly raised my binoculars to take a look. My body, which was shivering from the cold 30 degree air, became rock solid as I peered through the optics.

An antler tine! "Now we're in business," I thought to myself. It was a beautiful 9 point with a branched G2 on the right side, a buck that I had named, "9-ball." My stand was located about 25 yards down wind from a heavily used stream crossing on a deer trail that went from an old apple orchard to a thicket where I the does liked to bed down in the afternoon. It was the first stand location I had ever picked on my own, and this would be the first buck I would harvest from it if I could get a shot.

With each footfall my heart raced more, my breathing was more difficult to control, and the shivering became more intense. It was 30 degrees and I was starting to sweat! "The fever," as some call it, had taken over my body, but I was determined to fight back.

As the buck walked behind a tree truck at 30 yards, I clipped my release to the bow string and came to full draw. "Five more yards and I'll have my shot!" I silently exclaimed. As I began to line up my shot, he took two more steps and came to a dead stop just short of my cleared shooting lane. Something had his attention. "Did the wind change? What is he looking at?"

I caught movement in the corner of my eye. "OH NO! COYOTE!" Old 9-ball got one good look at that coyote and high tailed it out of there. As for the coyote, it loped along on its merry way and also never presented a shot. To this day, it is not forgiven for scaring my buck, but I do cherish the memory it created.

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from critter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

This day had consumed our minds throughout a summer that seemed to never end—long days spent working in the hot sun, squinting against the sting and grit of the sweat that dripped in our eyes and seemed to saturate our very souls—but it was finally here. We weren’t just going hunting, we were going elk hunting, and as each mile of asphalt whined under the truck tires, we could feel our spirits slowly lift, much as a wilted flower slowly rises after a summer shower.
This would be my eighth consecutive season without an elk tag to call my own, but each fall at least one of my buddies had drawn some sort of elk tag, and I had had been able to live vicariously through them. This season was tinged with a little more excitement than usual—my longtime archery hunting buddy had drawn a coveted either-sex archery tag for an area that I knew well.
My buddy and I--let’s call him John, since I’m telling the story and can control such things—have been hunting together since David E. Petzal’s beard contained a color other than white, and it had been his life’s dream to take an elk with a bow on public land. We’re often fondly referred to as “the two idiots” by our wives, as our outdoor adventures usually take a drastic turn for the worst—misadventures, we call them—but we unfailingly enjoy ourselves immensely and sometimes even build a little character in the process, though not so much that anyone notices.
We arrived at camp to discover that not only was it raining, but John had left the tent in the garage. Cursing him under my breath while getting the breakfast supplies ready for morning, I suddenly realized that I had left the coffee pot on the kitchen table. The tent was a forgivable offense, but I had just committed the ultimate sin, and was sure I would pay dearly. I was right—that night we crammed into the cab of the truck, and I did not sleep at all save for a brief nightmare containing Michael Moore, tofu, and a Toyota Prius, though not necessarily in that order.
By the time daylight broke we were glassing a basin for elk, and the world was right again. Unfortunately for us, it seemed that the storm had put the animals down, as we were not seeing any fresh sign nor hearing the euphoric ring of bugles. After six hours, we had seen many miles of prime elk country but only the butts of two mule deer and approximately two million squirrels. We decided to spend the evening at a little seep located in a small meadow hemmed by aspens. As daylight was almost gone, I noticed a couple of cows trickling down along the tree line. Ten minutes later it was so dark that we couldn’t see the elk anymore, even though they were no more than a hundred yards away. We had almost made it back to the truck—nearly a whole day without misadventure--when John realized that he had left his bow back where we had been sitting.
Much to our delight we got a hard freeze the second night, and the refrigerated air smelled of snow as we headed to the seep. Around noon, while we held a whispered strategy session, John had idly picked up a twig and was snapping it between his fingers when a bugle erupted from the dark timber a few hundred yards uphill. After determining that it was in fact an elk and not a hunter (as sometimes happens on public land) we got set up to call. The bull and I had a brief discussion in cow talk, and it became apparent to me that the things he wanted to do would have to take place in his bedroom in the dark timber.
It took us about an hour to go two hundred yards, but we caught up to the bull. The timber was so thick that I literally had to lie on my side to see underneath the branches, and even then I could only see five of the bull’s legs (make that four, I forgot this was the rut). He was starting to get a bit peeved that the cow wasn’t coming, and finally began to few work our way. For once John and I acted as if we knew what we were doing—the bull walked through the only shooting lane, I cow called to stop him, and I heard the thwack as the arrow hit home. The bull trotted slowly into the timber, and John and I did our own slightly awkward celebration dances followed by an attempted conversation consisting of hand signals and gestures that would have made a mime dizzy.
After leaving the bull for a couple hours, we started the follow up. Initially the blood trail was easy to follow, but it disappeared after a hundred yards. Soon we followed on our hands and knees until we lost blood all together and relied on fresh tracks in the rain-soaked earth. It was into the dark hours of the morning before we found the bull where died, almost curled up in his last bed like a dog, looking almost peaceful, his heavy 6x6 rack glistening with frost. We had not rested in almost twelve hours, had eaten very little, and were footsore and thirsty. Many times throughout the trail we had thought of giving up, of going home to a warm bed and a cold beer, that we couldn’t possibly be tracking the same bull, but something inside us had refused to accept that fact that such a magnificent creature could die without being celebrated. This was our reward, and we leaned our backs against the old bull, dozing briefly before starting the arduous job of field dressing, I could hear John muttering a sleepy thank you prayer to a sky filled with a million stars.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

During my 4-year tour (1986-90) at Eielson Air Force Base Alaska, I've been asked how many bears have I taken. I had hundreds of chances. I had my crosshairs on many with a round in the chamber of my 338 Win Mag with Nosler 250 grain partitions loaded at 2800 fps and a harvest ticket in my backpack. An easy one shot clean kill everyone. I never pulled the trigger though.

Why you ask?

The beauty and respect of one a Hunter to the other (the bear) perhaps? Most of all the cost of having it mounted I couldn't afford and I knew in the back of my mind that if I did pull the trigger, the hunt was over. I wasn't ready for the hunt to end, never. I wanted more days to hunt, just to be out there. Even if I came home empty handed, it didn't matter. The awesome power, to watch a Grizzly role rocks the size of my ATV like a basketball, hunting for rodents. I never have taken a bear until I moved back to Arkansas.
Most of all, being alone on a mountain ridge, setting on a giant rock overlooking the endless landscape where perhaps no man ever walked.

To watch a snow flurry on a far mountain ridge and feel the Lord setting next to me enjoying what God has made.
I may have come home empty handed,
but my mind is full of awesome memories
it is a experience, I'll never forget!

But the most memorable days of hunting was with my Father

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from MattyIce wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I've only been hunting for a few years now, but am I ever glad that I decided to start. I've had the pleasure of hunting a variety of game now, and to this I would have to credit my younger brother and my brother-in-law. For this story, I am going to focus on my most recent hunt, goose.
I had never been goose hunting before, but my brother-in-law has a group of friends that are very intense waterfowl hunters. I would be lying if I said that I did not envy their passion and excitement for goose. This group started the Pine Grove, PA Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and goes about everything the right way in order to preserve the habitat of waterfowl in our area, but they also scout and hunt the same waterfowl very hard. It's hard not to love their excitement. Anyway, I was very fortunate enough to be invited to one of their exclusive goose hunts.
It was a cool, crisp morning in September when we pulled into a field that had been getting hit very hard by the geese in the early morning and early evening. Unfortunately, the field we knew that we needed to hunt was freshly sprayed with manure the night before. Otherwise, this field was perfect. It was a quarter mile from a lake, and there were quality food sources all around us. We all went to work right away setting up decoys, and making sure that our blinds were literally undetectable. As the orange and pink of a September sunrise made its entrance, we sat there in our blinds knowing that we had done everything we could. We knew now that all we had left to do was hope that the geese would help us out.
We sat in our blinds with the visions of loud flocks passing through our field. I loaded my Benelli, and really struggled to control my excitement for the whole morning. Then, the moment came, at the same time all of us turned in the direction of the lake, heard the honking of a flock and said, "Geese up, close your blinds!" The intensity of this group of guys was once again, astonishing. The adrenaline in my system was racing like it has never been before.
I lay in my blind gripping my Benelli tight, straining my eyes to see where this flock might be. "How big is the flock? Where the hell are they? Over the tree line, here they come, stay down!" These orders were flying all over the place, and all I could think was, "damn, I love this!" It turned out that the flock had split and we had eight geese headed our way. The calls were crisp and vibrant, and our decoys were perfect. They made one pass over us, one of my friends says to my brother in law, "Next pass we look to shoot, Wolfgang it's your call." We continued to call, but not dare to move an inch until we knew the time was right.
I focused my eyes on those eight birds as if they were the last bit of food on this planet. I wanted nothing more than to take down all of them. I gripped my gun even tighter, my finger lightly on the safety, ready to take it off at a moment's notice. Then, just as we drew it up, the eight birds prepared to land in the hole between our decoys. My brother-in-law was heard loud and clear by all of us, "Take 'em!" We sprung up through our blinds, and our shots cracked and echoed through the valley. One by one, the geese fell. Our chambers were empty as we stood up in our blinds, one goose looks like it was going to attempt to fly away, my brother stood up calmly, loaded a shell, and said, "I got him." He steadied his aim, and from thirty-four yards made a clean kill.
We were fast and accurate and successful. All eight of the birds were lying in the field, and I had never been more excited in my life! It was such a rush, such a thrill! I could not wait to get back out with that group of guys again. That experience was all I needed to become hooked on the great sport of waterfowl hunting in eastern Pennsylvania.

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from buriti wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Alligators in the Sky

Rodrigo Tardelli Meirelles

I remember when I was around five years old and an alligator was caught on a “wait-hook” on a lake in our farm. A “wait-hook” is a sort of a trap, quite illegal nowadays, made of a large hook cast to a good two feet steel leader, a swivel, and then a length of strong line tied to a flexible tree limb or branch. The flexible branch is a necessary measure to avoid snapping the line. “Wait-hooks” are generally used for large nocturnal fish but the odd alligator may eventually find them.

I must tell you that I only saw that alligator by mid morning, after it had been gutted and the excellent tail meat taken away, but the large open mouth and the fresh in my mind Tarzan comic books were enough to inspire a great degree of respect for the animal.

Mr. Candinho, the same gentleman that several years later would shoot a rather large anaconda that had my father by his hand, wanted to show us the alligator teeth or perhaps he just wanted to retrieve the hook still attached to the powerful mouth. As he fingered around the large mouth, the alligator, as if alive, snapped its jaws shut and took a bite out of one of Mr. Candinho’s fingers. It may not have been as traumatic a loss as Captain Hook’s but, pardon the pun, a hook cost a portion of his finger.

In June of 1987, after I returned from six months in the United States as an exchange student, I went on a two week fishing trip to Mato Grosso, in the fringes of Brazilian’s Legal Amazon. We stayed at the São Jorge Preto farm that belonged to my uncles Amaury and Marcelinho. We drove in two Chevrolet pick-ups, my father, my brother Rodolfo, Mr. Jaime in one and Uncle Amaury, “Zé da Brucelose” and me on the other. From our hometown we drove to Barra do Garça, on the banks of the Araguaia River, and from there to the farm, in the São José do Xingu municipality, better known as “Bang” or “São José do Bang Bang”. You can figure why.

The trip itself took around 34 hours driving, the last 250 miles accounting for over ten hours, and to get to the farm we totaled five burst tires between the two trucks.

North Mato Gross is frontier country as wild as or even more wild than remote parts of Alaska, Canada or Africa. During summer or the rain season, from October to March, the roads are impassable and even the bush planes may face problem as the dirt runways started to soften. During winter, or the dry season, roads are drivable but an unpredictable dry fog may ground anything that does not have GPS, satellite navigation or common sense.

When you go there, prepare yourself, for the closest gas stations may be anything from a three hours drive to a day or so. Of course, you could call a plane as long as your radio worked, you could afford it and the plane could find where you are.

We fished the Comandante Fontoura, a slow flowing, dark water river, with the luxuriant tropical jungle suffocating its margins. As it was too hot during the day, we generally started fishing around 4PM and kept going to midnight or latter. Those nights floating on this river provided some of the most fascinating moments I had in the outdoors.

The tropical sky is incomparable in the amount of stars and the clear and cool winter nights, so far away from any city or pollution let those starts shine with such power against the dark night that they looked like diamonds under a powerful spotlight. The milk way or Via Láctea, as we say in Brazil, floated in the night sky just like the river we floated in cut the heartlands of Brazil and several times I wondered where we were floating, on the river or on the sky.

But suddenly I would be brought back to the earth, or better saying to the river, as the long shadows of the alligators would silent swim among the stars under our boat with slow strokes from their powerful tails.

Only in Africa, on safari, I saw a sky that could perhaps compare to Brazil, deep darkness and brilliant starts with the Southern Cross to guide me around.

I shot one alligator during that trip and my father cooked it while we were still there. I absolutely love the taste and consistency of alligator meat, it reminds me of lobster.

Also, during this trip I had one of the biggest scares of my life. One day my father decided to go out only with my brother and me. We packed the bare essentials and would have lunch on whatever we fished. That was a very poor day and the only fish we caught was a rather large black piranha. We made a fire on a clearing and cooked it the indian way, on a grill made of green branches above hot coals. We were either very hungry or the piranha was delicious, probably both, but my father didn’t eat even a small piece.

After the meal we continued fishing and were as unlucky as before and finally late night we, actually my father, decided it was time to go back to camp, and as he pulled the starting cord on the outboard motor he did not notice that it was in gear. When the engine started it sent the boat swirling around and my father lost his balance, and went overboard, hitting his kidney on the board on his way to the water.

I am still not sure how my, at the time, little and skinny brother and I hauled our father back into the boat but all the jungle creatures, alligators, anacondas, piranhas, mermaids, were very polite and did not disturb us on the process.

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from ckRich wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Opening morning of the 1999 Oklahoma deer gun season found me sitting in a ground blind, nestled among the few trees that are atop the pond dam on my grandparent’s ranch. After setting me in the stand about 45 minutes before daylight, Grandpa departed with a word of encouragement and last second lecture on safety. His stand was about 800 yards to my rear, overlooking a well traveled fence line. When the sun came up I would be able to see Dad’s hunter orange vest and hat nestled between some hay bales in the corner of his favorite wheat patch, some 650 yards to my left. This was to be my first season to sit alone, all grown up at the tender age of fourteen.

Dawn brought the sounds of distant rifle shots. My head was on a swivel, slowly searching the area around me for any signs of life. Thirty minutes passed as my eyes adjusted to the increasing light, I found myself staring intently at a tree that I SWORE had moved and nearly jumped out of my skin when a rifle sounded nearby. I looked up just in time to see a deer topple over at a full run in front of Dad! Alright, the deer are here! I sit up straight, heart beating ninety miles an hour, images running through my mind of how that big booner will look in my crosshairs! Bring ‘em on!

Two hours later and I haven’t seen a thing. Not even a coyote. Oh, I saw a squirrel about an hour ago but figured the .30-30 was a bit overkill for it. I’ve had to watch as Dad loaded his deer on the back of the truck and then drove by, waving and smiling, horns gleaming in the sun. I know it’s still early but I’ve gotta go see what he got. Besides, I’m bored and the sun is slightly in my eyes… I head to the house.

After looking over the nice eight point, and receiving a thorough butt chewing from Dad for leaving the stand early, I finally settle down with a cup of coffee. Dad and I are sitting in the dining room, watching the wheat field behind the house. As I get up to refill my mug, I am stopped mid-rise when I hear “DON’T MOVE.” Confused, I stare at Dad and wonder how and why he was suddenly whispering with all the authority of a range master, and how much more of this butt chewing I was going to have to endure before I could get some more coffee. “There’s a deer, RIGHT THERE,” he whispers while nodding his head toward the window.

It feels like I’m in the spotlight now, seeing as sitting in a room with 180 degrees of windows probably doesn’t serve as the best deer blind. Ever so slowly, I turn my head to face the window and sure enough, there’s something big, brown, and with four legs about seventy-five yards behind the house. My rifle is in the garage just ten steps away, but right now I’m frozen in the gaze of a spike that seems to have the staring abilities of a housecat. After what seems like a good five minutes, but in all reality was probably more like five seconds, the deer goes back to eating with a twitch of his tail.

From behind me I hear a low hiss of “COME ON!!” Dad’s already halfway to the garage, adeptly displaying how to miss every creaking floorboard along the way. I, on the other hand, throw restraint to the wind and sprint to catch up, my oversized teenage feet tripping over every chair and rug along the way. By the time I untangle myself and reach the garage, Dad has already got my rifle loaded and is halfway out the back door looking for a suitable rest. He grabs a short length of ten inch steel pipe and rolls it into position. Being just a little excited and overcharged with adrenaline, I belly flop into the sticker patch behind the rest and pull the rifle to my shoulder. I’m breathing so hard I feel like I’ve just run a marathon, the never ending stream of advice that Dad is depositing directly into my ear barely registering in my brain. I find the deer in my scope, ear the hammer back and find the sweet spot with the crosshairs. Hold and squeeze, I repeat in my mind. Hold and squeeze, hold and sque… BOOM! For the first time ever, I am able to keep my eye open and watch for impact. By impact, I mean that spike dropping in his tracks!

In the years since I have had some memorable hunts, but none will ever compare to or stand as clearly in my mind as taking my first deer.

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from horseman308 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Anybody else having trouble posting? I've edited by submission 5 or 6 times. It's under the word limit and has no obscenities but the site is convinced that I'm using obscene words somewhere. Suggestions?

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from horseman308 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

During the muzzle-loading season of 2004, I killed my first deer at my family’s farm in Middle Tennessee. While I’d been hunting deer for about four years, I’d never yet connected and felt like a rookie. I was hunting with my father on the last day of the week-long season. We left to go into the woods at about 5:45 that morning and made our way heading to the end of a field where a stand was hung in the small grove of trees. The stand faced a wide creek, with a cleared alley along the length of the grove, between the trees and the creek.

At about 6:40, I took out a pair of antlers and began rattling, then set them down and waited. I didn’t have to wait long. Within five minutes, I heard a step on my left and looked down. A deer had crossed the open field behind my back and slipped through the grove. Now, it stood 30 yards to my left at the edge of the alley, its head down and obscured by several branches. Adrenaline started to pump, and I could hardly breathe. Then it raised its head, and the branches moved. It was a buck! I couldn’t tell exactly how many points there were but having a rack was good enough for me. I reached for the .50 flintlock longrifle my father had given me for Christmas, which was laid across my knees, and pulled back the hammer with a faint click. That noise startled the buck, and he looked up, turned away, and loped off. I’d blown my chance at a great first deer in the form of a nice buck. Thankfully he stopped after only 10 yards, turned back and looked around. He gave me a great quartering away shot, at about 40-50 yards. Adrenaline was pumping, blood was pounding in my ears, and time came to a dead stop.

Here, all my practice from a lifetime of shooting took over. As I lined the sights of the longrifle just behind his right shoulder, all of the adrenaline and nervousness was gone. What was left was automatic. I took a breath, let a little out, and squeezed the trigger. I’d kept my priming dry and my flint sharp. The lock flashed, immediately followed in a tenth of a second by the main charge, and I absorbed the recoil back into my shoulder. Then I heard that deer tear through the brush, splash across the creek, and climb up the bank on the other side. I couldn’t see a thing through the thick smoke, but I was sure I’d missed.

He’d still gotten away. 50 yards, nearly broadside, and I’d missed. I don’t know what I had expected to happen when I fired, and I knew that deer usually run when hit, but I still wasn’t actually prepared for it to happen. The next thought was that I needed to make sure. The adrenaline had come back with the firing of the shot, and now my inexperience showed. Moving down the ladder seemed to take forever. I ran over to where he had been standing and looked closely, and saw nothing. My heart sank.

I took a deep breath and began to reload. My hands were shaking as I fumbled for the powder measure, fumbled for patch and ball, fumbled with the ramrod. I finally got the new charge loaded and primed the pan. Looking carefully, I saw where he charged through the brush and judged where he would have come up on the other side of the bank. I ran to a crossing at the creek about 50 yards from where he was standing when I fired. I didn’t bother looking in the creek or the near side because I heard him exit on the other bank. I planned to circle and start from where he would have topped out off of the bank. I crossed the creek, ran up around a trail and had to backtrack about 50 yards back through an overgrown clearing to get to where I needed to start. As I picked through the grass, I saw Dad walking my direction from where he had been stationed overlooking the other end of the field. And then I looked down. Not 10 yards past the top of the bank, laying on his side was the buck. I hadn’t missed! He had just enough energy and life to cross the creek and climb the steep bank, but that was it.

There really are not words to accurately describe the feeling that passed over me as I knelt next to him - overwhelming joy that I had finally done what I set out to for the past four years; sadness that it required the death of a magnificent creature. Those who haven’t ever hunted or killed something probably won’t understand what it means to me. It was the solidifying of my beliefs that God has given this earth and its natural resources to us, not only to use, but to care for, and perhaps more importantly to be uplifted by and to remind us of His wondrous skill and love. It shows me that if I am to continue to live on the earth, I must do my part to properly use and conserve nature, and participate wisely in its cycles.

Dad and I stood quietly over that deer for a moment. Then he hugged me and I saw a lot of pride in his eyes. The buck had eight points. His mount now hangs in the gun-room at the cabin to remind me of that morning. This first deer will always be of the most special, no matter how many more I kill. The hunt where I took a nice buck with the rifle my father gave me, while hunting together with him is one of my favorite memories of my life.

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from geogymn wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Opening day of deer season always falls on a Monday. That's been somewhat bothersome on account of work, this year there was an added dimension. A man dreams of the first day of hunting with his son or daughter. Not sure if it's for selfish reasons or the desire to turn someone on to this mystical journey that washes away the turmoils of the humdrum struggle of existence. It is more than me "wanting" to show them this escape, I feel the "need" to include them on this intimacy with nature .So as the day approached one might think "what's the problem, let him take the day off from school", but there are other opposing forces to be dealt with. Justin is not a "school" person, he doesn't see the use of that game and his grades reflect it. Society dictates that he goes to school, whilst my long ago study of Thoreau encouraged me to listen to that other drum. Well anyway, the dilemma existed but hunting prevailed with the stipulation that he makes his 12:00 math class for a very "important" test.
Justin and I were situated in the Trojan horse well before daybreak. We were well equipped with all the necessities readied the night before. As we sipped on hot chocolate, from the thermos that is usually reserved for coffee, I laid out the spectrum of where he could safely shoot if a deer were to appear. We reflected on certain things that seem to be voiced more easily on a dark cold early morning. We traded philosophies, neither one of us claiming that the other's was inferior. It was then I realized how indoctrinated I was to even consider not letting him hunt on this fine morn.
At 8:00 I started to feel the constraints of time. Justin needs to be off the hill by 11:00, I needed to make something happen. I decided to put on a drive. Hunting this farm for such a long time gives our group a clear picture of where the deer "might" be bedded. I planned to hit a likely spot with the aim of pushing the deer towards the novice hunter. As it turns out my assumption was correct and I kick up seven deer. At this point I'm at the bottom of the ravine, 100 vertical feet from the rim, the rim which is downhill from Justin, about a third of a mile away. That’s when I heard the barrage, five consecutive shots and then an addition report. One doesn't laugh out loud when alone very often but this was one of those times. A hunter viewing me from the side of that ravine would of thought of me a lunatic. I knew from the direction and range that it was Justin shooting and he was shooting a lot, too much, a family trait. All the talk about aiming and making the first shot count is forgotten in the heat of battle.
I sprinted out of that ravine like a 20-year-old to try to see what was happening. It's then I hear Justin over the walkie-talkie, "Dad, I just missed an eight pointer, six times, it was really close". You must understand that Justin's gun only holds five shells, so he had to reach into his fanny pack, open a box of shells, reload the gun, and he was still able to take another shot at this deer. In his excitement he missed an easy shot, I can't count the times that I've done the same. And it's always funny when some else goes down that road. During his tirade of trying to explain what happened he abruptly stops and states, "Dad, there is another deer about 60 yards away but I think it's too small too shoot". Immediately a friend and I simultaneously scream over the talkies," SHOOT". At this point I have the binoculars trained on Justin, 250 yard away in the stand. I stood there watching as he took a nice wide stance whilst using the rail as an armrest, taking careful aim. I watching for what seems an eternity repeating a mantra to myself "shoot, shoot, shoot''. Finally he let's one fly and reports that he scored. It was a button buck, still counts. I ask him what took him so long to shoot, he replies, obviously painfully aware of his just missed opportunity "I wasn't about to miss this one".
Justin did make it to school on time satisfying society and he also caught the fever. He will be hunting for that missed 8pt. buck the rest of his life. To achieve this goal he will have to enter the woods and slow down, something that one can never get enough of.

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from cheussner wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

One Duck Limit
In July of 1999 I got a six week old black lab pup and immediately began training her. By November I was at the stage where I felt she was ready to sit in a blind and get used to “staying” while I practiced calling, not to mention it was also the opening morning of the Missouri duck season and I didn’t want to miss it nor could I bring my self to leave her home. I took a .410 just in case one came close; I thought this would keep me from getting too excited and shooting too much because at this time it was the loudest gun I shot in front of her. The flight was few and far between, but after an hour and a half I did have a Gadwall set in for a landing about 15 yards in front of us. I could not resist the shot and was surprisingly successful. Sammy watched the duck fold about 10 feet in front of the blind hitting the water with a hard splash. Because of the excellent training job I did on her (or maybe it was just out of curiosity) she ventured out into the water and instincts took over. She sniffed the duck for a while and finally made her first ever retrieve. I may have only taken one duck that day, but I was happier and had more fun than if I had taken a limit of mallards. Ten years later Sammy and I still anxiously await the opening morning to spend time together at waters edge and each retrieve reminds me of when she was a spindled legged pup retrieving our one duck limit.

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from wiegs1992 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Big Buck Moment
During the 2008 bow season i had set my stand in what i thought was the perfect location. I always went hunting with my dad but this day was the first day i was gonna be able to go by myself. I was so pumped and ready for a good day of hunting. It was November 8th, a saturday morning and my field and stream magazine had recommened to hunt this day. It was perfect, and the middle of the rut. So the game was on. I got into my stand about half an hour before sun rise, just enough time to get settled in and for the woods to settle down. It was a little windy but it was in the perfect direction. I was waiting and it seemed like forever till shooting time came around. Then the time came and not five minutes after time a nice 8 point buck rustled in the leaves not 20 yards behind me. I got my bow, stood up, and waited for him to walk behind a tree. I drew back and he walked into my shooting lane. I thought he was about ten yards away or so so i put my ten yard pin on his vitals. I let the arrow go and he jumped like he had gottin hit but it was still to dark to tell. So i sat back down and knocked another arrow. About 3 minutes later, a giant ten point buck was trotting to my right not 15 yards away. I stood up, made him stop, and shot him at ten yards. He ran down the gully and stopped. He acted like he wasnt hit so i was kinda mad and sad. Then all of a sudden he jolted to the left and fell in a creek bed about 20 steps from where he was standing. I waited a minute or so and he had not left the creek bed yet so i knew he was down. So i got out of my tree and went to go see if i had shot the first deer i saw that day but when i got to where he was standing when i shot, the arrow had missed him and he got away. So i went to the spot where i shot the 10 pointer and saw good heart and lung blood splattered on the ground. So i followed it and saw the giant laying twenty yards away from where i shot him. I yelled so loud im sure every deer around heard me. It was the best day of my life and a great start to the years to come of hunting by myself (no offense to my dad who got me started in the sport.)

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from chris95 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Mitchell's first deer.

When my good friend Tom and his son Mitchell were looking for a place to go on youth day of 2007, I jumped at the chance to join them. It was the first year that Mitchell was old enough to go hunting, so we wanted it to be a memorable day for him even if the deer didn't join us. Tom and Mitchell picked me up an hour before first light, and we made the short drive to the fields we had scouted the week before. All of us were equally excited for Mitchell's first hunt as we anticipated what the day would bring. We were all set up and settled in with fifteen minutes to go before legal time. It was a beautiful morning, crisp air, blue skies, no wind, and good friends. Mitchell sat with the patience of a seasoned hunter, his single shot .243 across his lap, intently listening to nature wake up around him. After about an hour Tom reached into his pack and pulled out a fawn bleat and turned it over a couple times. A few minutes ticked by and a coyote appeared silently out of the woods and slowly walked into the field. We watched it for a minute before it caught sight of us and high tailed it back into the woods. After another hour or so, it was time to head out for a bite to eat, and plan our strategy for the afternoon hunt. Around one o'clock we came back to a different field that was just a short walk from our morning location. Mitchell picked a nice spot for us to sit that gave him some cover and had an old apple tree that he could use as a rest for his rifle if the need arose. Before long, we can hear shuffling in the dry leaves. We look at each other with anticipation. Maybe it's a deer, maybe a squirrel... no, it's a porcupine. He waddles over to find one of the few apples left that has fallen off the tree, not twenty feet from us, sits down and contently starts eating. Mitchell watches, his grin getting bigger with every bite our new friend takes. Tom and I agree that even if we don't see anything else today, Mitchell's first hunt has been a success. After finishing his apple, the porcupine waddles away, oblivious to the entertainment he's brought us. The afternoon passes quickly, as none of us wants the day to end. With about twenty minutes of light left, we're whispering to each other, reliving the days events, when I look up and there they are, two does working out into the field at forty yards. Mitchell slowly settles into his shooting position as Tom and I start whispering advice. "Take your time", "Remember where to aim", "Wait for a good shot", "just squeeze the trigger". Mitchell remained focused, not saying a word until the doe was in his sight. Then he says "Dad, I got it!" and bang, the doe went down, then came right back to her feet and doubled back into the woods. Getting short on daylight, we went right out to look for her. Mitchell remembered right where she went into the woods so I looked for blood while Tom looked for the deer. Within minutes Tom found her, not fifty feet in from where Mitchell said she entered the woods. We both congratulate Mitchell and admire his first deer before Tom dressed her out and we dragged her back to the truck. The day had ended as perfectly as it began.

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from rmb5110 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The Weekend of the Black Hare.

The trip all started and from Ryan Becker’s house, we were supposed to be there for 6:30, but Josh didn’t get there till 7:30. We then made the trip up to Peggy Hood’s house, with Mike Johnson, Mike Frantz, Josh Herring, myself (Louie Burger) and Ryan Becker, all stuffed in one truck like sardines and didn’t get there till three in the morning.

When we woke up the first morning to hunt it was solid ice on the roads and raining, it wasn’t pretty. First jump of the morning we had a split. Mike Frantz got a shot at the one and missed it. When they brought the second one around it was black and Larry Papineau shot it. I was one jump away. When Larry shot it we all thought he had shot himself, he was yelling and screaming. I walked over to see it and sure enough it was black. We continued to hunt the first day and Mike Frantz got one, Jeremy Flanders got one, Mike Johnson shot at two and missed, with five shots. I also got one, before the weekend was over we would all get one. We had good running for the day and dogs stayed up pretty easy, and we ended up with four. Oh, and Josh Herring slept on the couch all day with the sniffles.

On the second day of the hunt, the first hare we got wasn’t till noon. Larry was kind of tweaked and wanted to switch up some dogs; since we had a couple young one’s down with Chewy. The dogs then got a jump and Mike Frantz told him to hold on, that Chewy would bring it around. And who did he bring it to, Larry himself. He missed with five shots, and then Chewy ran it to Ryan Becker. Ryan shot twice, killed the hare and blew up the end of his gun barrel.

We then got to the truck and Larry picked the dogs to run the rest of the day, Chewy Tucker and Timber, and they really put on a show, ran six hare to the gun in under four hours, wounded another and ran it to a den tree. The hare won.

Larry Papineau and Jeremy Flanders were our guides and we really have to thank them for all they did for us. Every spot they took us to had plenty of game. All in all running was good for the weekend and ended up with eleven hare over the weekend. The snow was deep, and soft in some spots. First day we stayed up, but the second day we sank like a (bugger). And all of the boys decided, Chewy got the blue ribbon for the weekend.

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from bamaoutdoorsman93 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

One November, when I was a kid, my grandfather and I decided to go for a stroll in the woods.It was a nice morning for hunting, cool and crisp, with the fog still rising from the dew covered ground. We weren't in search of any particular game, although I was really hoping to get a shot at a good buck. We grabbed our guns, my .22 and his 12 gauge, and headed for the woods. I had seen a few rub marks and scrapes so we decided to head in that direction. On the way we thought we would check a few apple trees near the edge of the property, but no luck, although we did get to get a snack! So we went along our way, slowly weaving through the woods and combing the oaks and hickories for whitetail. I was enjoying the moment more than the actual hunting part, as it was a great way to spend time with my grandfather. We had been looking for deer for about an hour when we saw an old abandoned barn. A few friends of mine had told me there was a huge group of squirrels in the barn. I told my grandfather it would be an awful shame to go home empty-handed, and we were about to head back anyway, and he said squirrel sounded good to him. As we approached the barn, we heard the squirrels rustling around in the trees. We loaded our guns and walked closer to the barn, eyes in the trees, waiting for one of the bushy-tails to make the mistake of bouncing into my dove- tail sights. A squirrel hopped into a fork in a big white oak, and as we stepped closer for a better shot, we kicked it. By 'it' I mean an eight point buck that had been lying beside the barn under a bush. We had been so focused on the squirrel we had failed to noticed the perfect oppertunity laying right in front of us. It was as if God had sent us a deer and plopped it on a platter right before our eyes and we still managed to screw it up. When it happened, the buck lept up and het his antlers an a low tree branch, ran into me, fell over, and took of in the opposite direction. I thought my grandfather was shooting at me, he thought I was shooting at him, and we both hit the ground before we could figure out what was going on. We looked up just in time to see the little white flag bobbing off into the forests. "Was that a deer!?" I exclaimed. "We just stepped on a damned deer! How the hell did we step on a deer!?" said my bewildered grandfather. We dropped down on a fallen pine tree and sat silently for a good three minutes. When we finally got up, the squirrel sat in his hole barking at us. I think he was snickering to himself at our unfortunate antics. We headed back to to the house with our heads hanging to our boots. When we got back to the house, my grandmother asked us had we had any luck. When we told her what happened, she said "So you stepped on a deer? Hmmph. Some hunters ya'll are." To this day, I never go near that barn without checking that bush.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Like many hunters, my dad taught me to hunt. He taught me to be a respectful sportsman, and was there to shake my hand when I got my first deer. But over the years, school, girls, and work took away chances for us to get into the woods together, so my dad and I caught up for fewer and fewer outings. However, last Fall we both made it a point to return to our camp for opening week of Fall turkey season. No, “I’ll meet you there on day 3.” or “Let’s drive separate for flexibility.” Opening morning took us to a local hollow with gorgeous views and the sort of isolated peace that makes one close their eyes and savor the birds, river, wind-blown leaves, and all the elements that all too often, we can’t enjoy daily. After the hike in, we separated and planned to meet for lunch and the base of a side hollow. I hunted a ridge that morning with no luck other than practicing my kee kees and stirring a couple deer. But when he arrived for lunch, I saw he had a nice hen over his shoulder. With the sun peaking through the leafless branches, we had our midday meal and shared our morning stories. However, with plenty of daylight to go, I imposed, and he insisted, that I keep hunting while he spent his afternoon wandered the woods he had hunted with his dad years before. I covered the hillside the rest of the afternoon, creeping along, calling occasionally, hoping someone would answer. Suddenly, as I paused on a shelf, I heard scratching on a trail below. Unfortunately, as is usual, the birds saw me as I saw them, and they high tailed it around the bend. I pursued the best I could, kicking myself for not being a little quieter or a little more observant. But as I turned the bend, I saw a cluster of black bodies moving up the hill, and with my great-uncles .22 Hornet, harvested my first turkey. I soon proudly headed for the truck, my bounty over my shoulder. As I came out of the woods, I saw my dad watching me return, slowly becoming aware I was carrying a hen of my own, and I could see his own excitement growing. He grabbed his camera and documenting the moment, but the images he captured do no justice to my memories of the day’s events. In the grand scheme of things, we had a pair of modest hens; we hadn’t broken any records, and we hadn’t tackled America’s roughest and toughest land or beasts. But we were a father and son who got to share a rare day in the woods and both walk out winners, and once again, my dad was there to shake my hand after another hunting first. Because of that, no matter what the future holds, this hunt will continue to be at the top of my list as my favorite hunting story.

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from huntermike wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My father called from Florida and told me that he and my mother were coming up for Thanksgiving, and he wanted to go hunting. He had never killed a whitetail before. I told him that was fine and I would look forward to having a visit with my parents. He also told me he was bringing his shotgun. That brought back memories of my grandfather. My dad had inherited the shotgun after my grandfather had passed away. Grandpa had been an avid hunter and fisherman his entire life, but especially after he retired. He lived in Okeechobee, Florida. I have many memories of spending weekends fishing for bass or crappies. We lived in Winter Haven, which was a couple of hours away. He also had a hunting lease with one of my uncles. My dad and I spent several weekends at our deer camp. We never killed anything, but we always had a great time. My father arrived a few days before Thanksgiving and we purchased his out of state license. South Carolina, where I currently live, is an inexpensive place to hunt. We have one of the longest gun seasons in the nation. My dad was excited and so was I. I hunt a small place about 40 acres, but it is full of deer. I set my father up in a ground blind where several game trails run together. I was in a tripod several hundred yards away. It was a beautiful fall morning, the air very crisp and cold. About two hours after sunrise, I heard a shot ring out. I could tell it was my father. Then another shot rang out. I waited a few minutes and then started down the trail. My dad met me halfway and he was smiling ear to ear. He had missed with the first shot, but connected with the second. It wasn't a trophy by any means, but it was his first. The next day my fifteen year old son took his first deer from the same stand with the same shotgun. It was like my grandfather was looking down and smiling. Every time I am hunting, I can't help but think of my grandfather and the legacy he has passed on to me.

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from nateshamp wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The sun was just starting to go behind the canopy of trees. I had worked hard to be able to afford this piece of property. I had worked three jobs and saved for eleven years. It was a dream come true, my own hunting ground. It was not much, only thirty acres, but it was mine, and I had gotten it the hard way. Blood sweat and tears had paid for this land. I could not thank my wife enough for putting up with my desire to have my own land and all the time she allowed me to work and all the ways she cut and saved to help us save the money.
I was enjoying looking out over my crp field. The birds were getting grouped up for the migration. Geese were making a raquette in my wetland. Squirrels were chasing and cutting. All the wonderful sounds of nature seemed more clear this evening than any other I had set in a stand.
It was a spiriual experience to just be sitting in this tree. As I was soaking up every minute, I had snapped out of my thoughts with the sound of rustling leaves. With high anticipation I waited for that monster buck to show himself. As I grabbed my bow and turned for the shot, my buck had somehow transformed into fourteen turkeys. With a chuckle and I smile I settled back into thought.
Right at dark a buck appeared at the far edge of the field. He worked a scrape and started my way. Again, my heart skipped a beat. As the buck drew near, I realized it was a two and a half year old six point. Not what I was looking for. As he fed into the acorn flat I came to relish this experience.
This was the best hunting experience of my twenty eight years of life and one that I will never forget. I now look forward to reliving many of my own hunting and fishing experiences through the eyes of my daughters like my dad did with me while he was teaching me the appreciation for nature and conservation.

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from BerkHunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

This story is about my first deer. I live in Massachusetts and was hunting during the muzzleloader season with a couple of guys who have been hunting for years. Needless to say they were showing me the ropes. So we walked up the mountain maybe a half mile to a mile and the 6 of us split up into 3 groups of 2 to tackle the upcoming ridges. We all went into the separate valleys that way if we bumped some deer and they ran over the ridge to the next valley someone would be there to take the shot. Well about 5 minutes after we split up I walked right into a doe; she was about 70 yards out. So I put my TC Omega to my shoulder and the cross hairs on hers and took the shot. After the smoke cleared I saw her staring at me about 15 feet to the right from where I shot her. I started loading another sabot while she was staring at me. Before I could get another shot off she starting trotting away to the top of the ridge to my right. Well I went to where she was when I took the shot and starting following a light blood trail. I should have sat tight for an hour or so but I didn't, I started tracking her and when I got to the top of the ridge I saw her bed with a good amount of blood in it. I heard a shot, my friend who was on the other side of the ridge took a shot at her and missed, but he thought he hit her because she limped when he shot at her (I’ll tell you about this later). Anyway we start chasing her through a swamp and around the ridges never more than 200 yards away from where I took the first shot. Eventually she starts going downhill and keeps going into a WMA. We had lost her in there until a diehard hunter i was with found her bed. By this time I was soaked, my boots weighed about 20 LBS each and it was freezing out. I meet up with him further in the swamp and we track her to a brook. We said "we lost her she crossed the brook and kept going". Now this brook was 15' wide and 8’-10' deep, not something you want to cross this far into a swamp. But bummed out we look down and on the other side of the brook floating is the doe. I am beyond pumped up right now, my first deer, YEAH!! One thing though, we had to get the deer from the other side of the brook. Well long story short my friend tried to convince me into joining the polar bear club, if I was closer to a truck I may have, I even went as far a putting my foot into the water. We had a rope and tried to hook the deer well after about 4 throws the rope slipped out of my hand and…gone! Unreal, what was I going to do? I had an idea and called a friend we were with and he went and bought a snow tube, that’s right, a snow tube. Well I blew that thing up and floated across the brook, my legs did go in but I wasn’t as wet and cold as if I went swimming. Well we got the deer to the other side and started dragging her out. I ended up so cold I had to leave the deer with a fried and run to a truck for heat. The guys I were with were real helpful and the deer would not have gotten out as fast as it did without them, they were a real big help. They had dragged it the rest of the way for me and really showed what hunting together was all about. Any ways the next night a friend of mine helped me cut up the deer and package it. Remember when another guy shot at the doe and it limped so he thought he hit her, well come to find out she had a .22 in her shoulder! Someone tried to shoot this deer in the heart at night with a spot light. I can guarantee that’s how she got the .22 in her shoulder. There are people around who are known to do this and its nothing but a disgrace to the rest of us ethical hunters. Any way I know if I shoot a deer this year I’ll be taking a seat for a while before chasing down the deer.

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from Fruguy101 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Several years ago I decided to go squirrel hunting one afternoon. There were always plenty of them in the woods behind my grandmother’s house, so that’s where I went. One of my dogs always went over there with me, her name was Babe, and she was a Doberman and Dalmatian mix. So, I hopped on my ATV and headed the quarter mile or so down the road to my grandmother’s house. Babe followed right behind me, although she lagged a little behind because of the ATV’s speed.
Once we were there, I got off and loaded my .22 Remington. I walked into the woods and started looking up. The squirrels had decided to not come out that afternoon for some reason. I located a few nests high up in some oak trees and found a good spot to sit and watch them for activity. Babe was right there with me sniffing the ground like she couldn’t find something.
I sat down on the ground and leaned back against the log where I had decided to sit and watch the squirrel nests. The sun had come out and warmed the day up a little. Since I had eaten lunch before I decided to go hunting, I started to get sleepy. Getting comfortable in my selected position, I dozed off.
I do not know how long I had dozed before my dog Babe woke me up whining. She was pawing a log about twenty feet from where I was sitting. Jumping from one side to the other, she was making quite a racket trying to get at whatever was in or under that log. I called her to try to get her to be quiet, but to no avail. Seeing no other option than to get up and see what she was after, I harrumphed, and got up to see what was going on.
Reaching the log in a few steps, I did not see anything sticking out from under the log. I put my foot on the log to push it, and doing so, it rolled over easily since it was half rotten. Before I could see what she had been trying to get, she growled fiercely and attacked something gray that was curled up where the log had been. She had it in her jaws in a flash and was shaking it like a favorite toy, but much harder.
I managed to grab her collar and stop her thrashing about with whatever she had in her mouth. Once she let it go, I finally saw what it was that she had been having a fit to get at. It was an opossum that had been sleeping the day away all cozy like under that log. I grabbed it by the tail and had to threaten my dog so she wouldn’t attack it while I was holding it up by the tail.
I hopped on my ATV and rode the short distance back to my house. Once there, I got off and went to the front door. Ringing the doorbell a few times, I finally got my mother to answer the front door. When she opened it, I said “Look what Babe found!!” I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but my mother jumped what seemed like a couple of feet when I showed it to her, and I couldn’t help but to laugh. I let it go a little bit later, and it went off unharmed, but shaken.
I did not see or kill any squirrels that day, but that opossum was definitely a surprise.

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from Stunner wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My brother and I experienced the loss of our father early. I was 10, he was 8. My dad was a fisherman through and through, but I'd never heard him even mention hunting. He had grown close to my mother's older brother, an avid hunter of all winged things, in addition to deer and antelope.
As I began my teenage years, I spent an increasing amount of time with my uncle: he taught me how to fish the river, how to shoot a shotgun, how to drive his finicky old '82 Bronco on a long forgotten and narrow dirt road, and a proper respect for the great privilege of being miles from civilization. Even before he was old enough to hunt, my brother accompanied us into the middle of nowhere. He'd often play the navigator and direct us to where the yellowed maps had little birds scribbled across the terrain.
Over the next few years, we all got our fair share of dove, quail, chukar, and pheasant. My uncle had long insinuated that ducks were the penultimate sport of a high desert shotgunner. But as girls, school, sports, and teenage laziness crept in to our lives it seemed like the mythical duck hunting trip would never happen.
My first and only duck trip is burned in to my brain. It was blistering cold. I was not at all thrilled about being there, and I took it out on my brother by immasculating his preferred use of a 4-10. When the sun crept over the horizon, my mood improved slightly, but the ducks were few and far between. We all sat in silence in a dingy boat while trying not to anger my generous uncle.
We hadn't seen anything fly by in nearly 2 hours and were ready to pack it in for a morose ride back home when a straggling team of ducks came over a ridge. The heavy silence in our boat made the air colder. My brother shifted himself into position and sneered at me. He waited long past what I would have considered a perfect moment to squeeze. He fired once. Before the sound had the time to dissipate, I scoffed at him. But then I heard a splash.
It took half an hour to find my brother's duck. He held it up like a gold medal and gave me the finger. I was amazed rather than offended: there appeared to be no holes in his kill! We inspected it as thoroughly as we could as my uncle motored us to shore. It wasn't until were 45 minutes down the highway that my brother picked a single golden BB out of the base of the head of the duck. My uncle expressed incredulity as to the serendipity of the shot, considering how wide the pattern must have been by the time it hit the duck's airspace.
That night, my brother ate his trophy like a king. He didn't share. And he set the singular lucky BB on the table like a badge of honor. He keeps it in a small acrylic fly box on his computer desk to this day.
We've not been back out for the ducks since. He's convinced that I'm intimidate by his self proclaimed prowess with a 4-10. I tell him it's because I'm averse to the cold, but he might be right.

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from charlie aleval wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Like they say if it was not for water it would just be hunting.

So One morning I got an itch to go fishing the sand flats just north of the island. I loaded my gear knowing that I was in for a an hour hike through dunes, flats, and grass. I had one fishing rod, some plastics, No net, 4 whole mullets and my wife by my side. So I departed pack and canteen. We hiked Through our hot Texas sun 45 minutes on land a 30 wading water. It seemed promising I knew The reds had to be schooling the water was warm and the conditions were just right. I was hoping for a fish fry. So I finally got to a sweet spot set up my rig and cast out for what seemed a country mile. I jigged, and made that fish skip and hop and hit the bottom. I paused... And felt something hit, so I set the hook. Right away I felt it was NOT a Red. I knew it... A Sting ray. So I brought it in. Ive Handled stingrays many times and thought nothing of it. When he came up I noticed it looked more like a skate orange with spines down its back. I grabbed my leader with my left hand and tried to unhook it with my right. Well boys, before I knew what hit me that tail swung up and stung me just above my wrist. I knew this because of what seemed to be a stream of blood coming from said "lo-ca-tion." At this point my wife freaked and we head back to land. Initially I knew this is a Bill Heavey storie And its bad. I touched solid ground and lit up a cigarette. Which only led to the following, "Baby... my uh sight is beginning to tunnel. ( This is me going into shock.) " WHAT!" "Yeah, geez uh my hearing is going out now." Trying to stay calm I wrapped my shirt around my forearm and started heading back to my SUV. Remember this was my first cast. So As fast as possible but not too fast to where I would pass out. We trekked it back. My arm felt like it was going to rupture like a frank in the micro. Finally after what felt like a lifetime we made it to the truck. We drove about 80 miles an hour into town, when we got back to civilization I told my wife to find the first cop and wave em down. We spotted one down the street and to our surprise he disappeared. then he came out around a store siren's on. He jumped out of his squad car gun in hand running behind a truck screaming at a man who was at this point out of his vehicle yelling back. So in a panic we flew passes that mess Knowing the clinic was a few blocks down. We got to the clinic jumped out the truck only to find the clinic is closed on Sundays. So At this point I'm ready to pass out from the pain when It comes to mind to call poison control. They said " Get home and dunk both hands in the hottest water you can handle don't ask questions just do it." So my wife stops at the local burger joint! I Tell her "this is no time for a burger get me home!" She was only trying to help of course she really didn't want a burger. So i got home and did as they said and boy my knees went out from the relief. It was amazing that hot water just took all the pain away. My hands had two diagonal red lines for two days from the scolding hot water. An hour later, no pain at all. Just something that looked like someone stuck a straw in my wrist. All for fishing. I love it, and I don't need another hobby. We Called poison control back and Thanked them for the help. The little lady was going to be okay, But I don't wish that pain on anyone.

Charlie

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from charlie aleval wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

By the way Support the 9/12 Project
The 9 Principles
1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

The 12 Values
* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Charlie

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from jordjohn44 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

It was my birthday, the first day I was legally aloud to hunt whitetail deer in the U.P. of Michigan. It was already three days into season. Since my birthday was not until November 18, I had to sit out the first three days of the season and wait with great anticipation. Things weren't looking too good at Camp Bald Squirrel this year. This was the first year that I could remember that no one had shot a buck on opening day. Not only that, but nobody had shot a deer in the first three days of season.
Finally, my time had come to participate in the hunt. I woke up bright and early on my birthday, about six o'clock. My father took me to his blind with him and got me situated. After I was settled in, he left to hunt another area hoping for some luck since his blind had produced nothing the first three days. The sun was just starting to rise when I saw it. The monster 7-point buck reared its head over the hill straight in front of me. I didn't know what to do so I just sat and waited. Eventually it made its way to the bait pile where I had a 40 yard shot. I raised my rifle and took a deep breath. I took my shot and dropped the monster right on the pile.
My dad had been gone for no more than 15 minutes at this point and I heard him promptly over the walkie-talkie asking what I was doing. I explained everything to him and he came over to the blind to see the buck. He was astonished. What was most surprising is that I hit the deer clean through the heart. It was my birthday buck on my first hunt ever. My father was never more proud.

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from zach94 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I went black bear huntin in wyoming not to long ago. Me and my twin brother both killed a black bear. He had a black bear mine was a cinnamon black bear if you wanna see pictures you can go to my profile and look. if you ever wanted a really good expirience and a fun time i would suggest hunting bear. I got a huge rush watching that bear in the woods. also there is some really good fishing. we caught some really nice cut throat trout there to.

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from fisherman14 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

About a year ago my buddy and I went down to a stream with our compound bows to shoot some targets we set up. We were there for about an hour when we got bored and decided to walk the trail a little farther into a field about and acre big. Right as we steped foot out of the woods a male turky in full strut was about 15 yards away and a perfect shot. We stepped back into some coverage behing a pile if brush and 15 minutes later I was pulling the arrow back when my bud's golden retriever came running through the woods and chased away the turkey! It was pretty funny but we were bummed we didn't get the shot pulled off.

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from sayerbefiddlin wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My buddy and I were traveling home after a no-seeum hunting day. He pulls the car over really quickly. "you see that buck?" He jumped out of the car so I followed. As we ran up the street I had no idea what was happening. Go jump that buck! I ran as fast as I could and jumped ON THE BUCK. With the adrenaline pumping so hard I got it in a head lock. One thing for sure, the buck didnt like it. My buddy reached around me and all we had was pocket knives. That was the end of that 9 point. As we got the buck back to the car we wondered if his wife would mind the blood but just then another car and a truck pulled up. The man in the car was yelling something about how he killed that buck with his car earlier and was coming back to pick it up. The man in the truck was not only one of our friends but also the game warden attending the area. Apperently the guy didnt want to be awarded the prize you get when you hunt with your car so we got to take the deer home

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from -Bob wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Alright, not quite a hunting story, although firearms were involved. Here goes:

Ten years ago, my in-laws bought a farm in northeastern PA. Having spent the majority of their adult lives in a suburban setting, the whole farming "thing" was a bit new to them. We drove up for a visit one weekend, and were greeted at the door by my mother-in-law. Poking a finger into my chest, she announced, “You have to kill the rooster.”

I was a bit taken aback by this greeting, so I asked why. The response – “The rooster does not play nicely with the other chickens. The rooster chases the children. The rooster chases the dogs and cats. The rooster crows at all hours of the damned night. We hate the rooster. You HAVE TO KILL THE ROOSTER.”

Deciding she indeed had a valid grievance, I agreed to whack the offending rooster and asked her what she planned to do with the corpse. “Toss it in the dump?” was the reply. Upon hearing this, I rescinded my offer. So she asked me, “So what do you do with a rooster?”

“You eat it.”

It was her turn to be taken aback; “You can eat rooster?”

“Sure, you can eat rooster!”

This was obviously a new concept. She rolled the thought around for a moment or two, and came back with, “What’s it gonna taste like?”

“Like…chicken?”

More mulling. “So, how do you cook it?”

“Like…chicken?”

I believe she wasn’t fully satisfied with my responses, as she concluded with, “Fine. YOU cook it.”

I’ll save you the details of the actual showdown. Suffice it to say that the scene resembled one of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classics, and I did Clint Eastwood proud. The loser was quickly converted into a batch of deep-fried rooster. As the family followed the scent trail into the kitchen, I was greeted with a chorus of, “Hey, that smells really good! It smells like…”

Chicken.

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from TM wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I woke early today. After a cup of coffee, I put on old hunting boots and pants, and grabbed the new gear. I spent too much money on it, but so it goes.

I packed shells, slugs, water, and my new rifled deer barrel.

I drove for an hour to my family's land. It's 120 acres of wonderful woodland - an old farm reclaimed by nature. During the spring and summer, I visit only for chores - posting, cutting, mowing, digging. Fall brings the rewards of the work, the harvest of labor.

This morning was clear and sunny. A breeze that told me a storm was on its way, but that I had time for a few hours in the woods. As I entered the property, a large doe ran 10 yards in front of my car. The maples have just begun to change. The colors aren't bright yet. They won't be for several weeks, but fall is crisp in the morning air.

I attached the rifled barrel to my 870. It's new and I was eager to test it. Two shots at 50 yards right in the middle of a small paper box. I paced another 25 yards and put another one just below the first two. I look forward to November.

I put on an orange vest, and attached the upland barrel. I walked past the pond and wondered how to rig my decoys and whether I'll have time to build a blind.

I walked through the old orchard and saw no grouse. Songbirds fled as I paced through the poplar stand, noticing how it's grown in. I startled one nice doe, and then another. Her white tail flipped up as she zigged and zagged and hopped into a stand of pines.

Three deer and no grouse, isn't that always the way? Come November, the opposite will be true for sure. At least it always seems that way. Impatience accompanies hunting, especially early in the season.

If I don't get around to the duck blind this year, maybe I'll build a new stand in the poplars. I'd better get going, the season will be here before you know it. But who has time?

I packed the car. No grouse flushed, one box killed. A light rain began to fall.

I took the long way home, down the country roads rather than the highway. I stopped at my favorite diner for a burger and thought about the hunt. I smiled. It's going to be a good season.

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from rudyglove27 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The year was 1980 when I started hunting whitetail deer with my father. A lot of time has passed since then, twenty-nine years exactly, if I only knew then what I know now. My family own 2,500 acres of private land and most of us hunted in the ground or up against the tree. I hunted for five years without bagging a deer. I headed out with my father and soon to be the most memorable hunting day of my life. My father allowed me to hunt alone on that early morning. I walked about one mile away from my father and set up in a blow down facing a well used trail. I was probably hunting for three hours when I spotted a huge doe making its way towards me down this trail. My heart started pumping harder and harder due to the fact that I have never shot or kill a doe. I was trying to figure out how and when I needed to take the shot without the help of my father besides me at that moment of time. This huge doe was getting closer and closer to my vicinity. My father purchased me a .243 Musketeer Bolt action rifle to hunt whitetail deer with it. I became very familiar with the gun by reloading , shooting off the bench with it, and using it for varmints. I started with lighter loads and worked up to the max loads. The more I shot it, the better I became. I had the same comfortable feeling shooting it that I had with my .22 rifles, and I became deadly accurate and confident with it. The .243 cartridge is absolutely deadly on whitetail and I still remember reading an article in Field & Stream which stated that the .243 was the gun of choice used by back-up gunners on lion and tiger safaris. I finally made my shot and this huge doe went flying by me, which seemed to be fifty miles per hour as I recall on that wonderful day. I heard a loud crash and this huge doe was piled up about forty yards away and I started shaking uncontrollably with excitement. I did not know how to field dress this doe and I was by myself which I do not have a cell phone to call my dad to help me on this glorious day. Luckily my dad had been following my trail all along and brought with him a bunch of guys and give me my first lesson in field dressing a deer and I was definitely celebrating that heavenly occasion.

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The Road Kill Trout
jblack

Lightening lit up the sky as I headed out to pick up the girls. It had been a couple of years since Janice and I made opening morning. Fortunately, work schedules allowed us to make it this year and we gained a new fishing partner, Leslie.

As I turned off the main highway it started to rain, “Dang it” I said. As soon as I hit the gravel road leading to Leslie’s house, it quit almost as if God heard my mournful sigh. After scooping up Leslie, I had one more stop at Janice’s and we would be off to the honey holes. Janice knew. There were three spots we were going to fish and we had to drive by the one that I wanted to fish the most. A couple of years ago, I had caught a nice 15 inch trout at this culvert and as we drew closer, I kept hoping this would be our first stop, not our last. We could fish here first if you wanted instead of last came a voice from the back seat. I pulled over to the side of the road and the game was on.

Within minutes, Leslie had her first catch and only minutes after that she had her second. I fished from the top of the culvert as Janice made her way along the bank and cast her line. I felt a slight tug on my line and it was my turn. I set the hook and reeled in my line to find a nice 13 inch trout at the end. We had only been there about 30 minutes and we already had three trout in the pail. Janice worked her way down the creek and it wasn’t long before she too had a nice trout to add to the catch of the day. Though we laughed and carried on there were many quiet moments as we sat enjoyed the sounds of the world waking up. To me there is nothing better than being in the woods or on the water as the world comes to life. Cardinals flew overhead and then sat in nearby trees singing their beautiful songs. A duck flew overhead and Janice had to duck as it flew that close to her, only to land on the creek just a few feet from where she fished. Soon, another tug on my line brought me back to fishing and I once again started to reel.
Several people had stopped at the culvert to see if we were having any luck. I just told them that we had caught a couple only to be scolded by Janice later. She said “you don’t tell those people that you caught anything, next thing you know they will be fishing our spot”. Oops! So like a typical fisherman, the next person that asked, I told them that we were just drowning worms.

I continued to reel in the trout that was on the end of my line when a car approached on my right. The driver steered the car over to where I was standing and as I looked down towards the water, I could see that I had a nicer trout than my first one and it was at the top of the water. Still reeling, I realized that something had gone wrong with my fishing pole. I was reeling but it was not moving. The car now sat 4 feet from where I fished, panic set in.
Not wanting to lose the fish I reached out and grabbed my pole about half way up with my free hand. In one swift motion I flung the fish and line over my head and it landed with a thud on the pavement in front of the car and driver that had been sitting, watching. His eyes were the size of saucers and mine must have been as well. There in the road lay a 14 inch trout, motionless.looking more like road kill than an addition to the catch of the day.
Making eye contact with the driver I said “Well, now you weren’t suppose to see that!!“ He stuck his head out the window of his car and said, “That was really impressive” and we both just started to laugh. Janice hooted and hollered from the bank as we had another really nice fish to add to our catch.

Distant thunder told us that another storm was brewing. It got darker and the wind picked up, the temperature dropped drastically. The fish had quit biting so we decided to move to another spot. The storm seemed to be in the north, we were headed west and hopefully it would not move in our direction until we hit at least one more creek. Stopping at two other sites and not having any luck we decided to call it a morning. The rain had started and it was threatening to get much worse just shortly. At Janice’s house it rained harder and by the time I got back to Leslie’s it was really raining. Going home it increased to one of those “frog stranglers” that forced me to follow the white line along the way. Reaching home, it looked like it had hardly rained.

I came home mentally refreshed from a morning out in the great outdoors. Whether it is a cardinal’s song, a turkey’s gobble, a coyote’s call or a deer walking under my tree stand, there is nothing that wakes up every sense in our body. From my front porch to a creek bed or deer stand I appreciate every sight and sound, and I pray each night for another day to enjoy each and every one of them.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My best one... Hmmmm.
When I went hunting on a ranch in Montana with a group of six friends. There were several large draws, leading from the wheat fields to the foothills, so we spread out and started working up the draws simultaneously. Thought was, if we spooked a deer out of one draw, it might jump over the ridge and offer a shot to another guy. I was by myself working one draw while everyone else partnered up on the other draws.
About 30 or so minutes in, I had a very urgent "call of nature" hitting me. Hadn't seen anything yet, but thought it prudent to lean my rifle close enough that I could reach it. A moment or two later, a huge volley of shots erupted from the draw to my left. Thinking the old Indian saying, "one shot, one deer... two shots, maybe one deer... three or more shots, no deer" I didn't know what to think. I heard at least 20 shots in a minute or two. Obviously at least two or more hunters were really ventillating the hillsides.
Saw some motion to my left and here's a herd of 6-8 deer running over the ridgeline. Trailing the bunch is a little 3 pointer, but he's bleeding. He pauses after cresting the ridge and gives me a shot at about 100 yards or so. I can shoot, so I put the deer down... while still sitting on the log doing my thing! Crazy. Never done this before or after.
It was the funniest thing I ever saw. Afterwards, here's my partners racing up to the dead deer, talking about how the very last shot must have killed it... and then realizing that the bullet hit the front of the deer. And, then looking down to see me at the bottom of the draw.
Hope you liked it, best I can offer.

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from IsaiahB wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My first hunt had it all blood guts and dad and son bonding. When I was in Jr High my dad use to take me out of school for a week and half no matter what was going on with his job or school. This hunt was a special one we were camping in a draw with my father’s friends who never cared so much about hunting but more about drinking, The actual hunt started on the second day after scouting the high mountains of Western Montana me and my dad were on the middle of the mountain when we heard one rifle shot go off a long ways up the mountain then what we thought were three quick shots, so we knew one of the guys from our party had gotten into some Bull elk. So we gave up on our trail we were on to go see what was killed as we started up the mountain my dad said “keep your rifle ready you never know what we will see on the way up” So we come up to a old skid road and about 75 yards up the road were a small group on Mountain Mule deer all bucks just standing there looking at us my dad being like a kid in a candy store but not having a mule tag whispers to me and says take the shot so I ready up to the side of the hill with my Husqvarna 30-06 and took aim pulled and *BANG noting moved nothing happened so I emptied the round reloaded shot again nothing happened at this time I looked over my dad said let me try he shot missed but at least they moved off the road. Thinking this would be my only chance on my first hunt I started to cry and apologize for not making a shot my dad being my dad said F*** it better luck next time we make it to were our partners had been waiting to find that the guy had killed 2 bull elk which filled his and the other guy he was with tags. I went out to look for my own animal to kill only to come across Cougar tracks and turn around as I came back to where the elk were killed I saw a 6x6 mullie off to the side of the road eating some berries I again picked up my rifle and took aim fired and the deer just stood there I thought o no not again so I reloaded as I was about to shoot again the deer dropped were it was standing but there was no blood anywhere being so excited I approached without thinking with my knife out he was still alive but not moving so I took the knife and slit his throat my dad came over and so did the other people to congratulate me and take some pictures. Still wondering why it went down we started to investigate upon investigation we noticed I had shot the deer in the nose and guessing it had went into the brain paralyzing it or something along those lines. After the day was over and we took it to the taxidermist he found the bullet in the brain pan. I had my first deer and we had a story to tell to relatives and other friends for a life time.

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from Damon619 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

It was opening day of gun season, my first year hunting. I had been scouting during bow season and had seen a few does that i couldn't get a shot off at. The opening day, my uncles put me in their "best stand". I got up very early and just waited in my stand until i could see. I heard some rustling in the brush and out came a smaller doe. I fired off the shot. The doe ran as i thought i missed it. The first thing i thought was to grunt to try and get it to stop. The doe fell over. I was fourteen and had gotten my first deer. I heard some more rustling in the brush and out came a four pointer. I fired off the shot and it dropped. I had also just gotten my first buck. A third doe came out but i was all tagged out. I was the happiest fourteen year old that morning.

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from Fisher Boy wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Up in deer comp, Southern Comfort is banned due to the fact that “it’s just too darn good” and you scratch where it itches. This year was my second time deer hunting, this time up in Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. We arrived up there late Friday night, leaving just after school and spent an forty-five minutes in a Wal-Mart getting a tag. Finally we made it down the back-roads to the Grass Lake Hunt Club. Hitting the sack after about 7 hours in the car felt as good as it gets.
The next morning, getting up was the complete opposite of going to bed, but once I adorned my jeans shirt and knife, I was roaring and ready to go. Before going, one needs to fill up for the day on a good an’ scrumptious meal of egg “samwiches” as our good buddy calls them. While eating, our friend who is a member of the club tells us that during regular deer season, not “yout’” deer season, there are about seventy guys that come in and eat in this little cabin, which completely blows my mind of how so many grown men cram themselves in to such a small room. I scarf down the sandwich and a tall glass of o.j. and began to pace the room, anxious to get out and get my first deer.
Picking up the small youth gun Phil, our friend, showed me how the safety worked on it which was one that I had never seen. He handed me the .308, a thank you was exchanged, and I was seated at the range that is right outside the main lodge. I put the safety in the middle, so it could not be fired, but the chamber could be opened, took the first round and inserted it and pushed the bolt forward and down. Flicking the safety off, I fired the round into the piece of cardboard that was on the farthest target. This was repeated once more, then I had to shoot a large tin can off the top and we would leave.
Walking down the two rut road, having already scared two deer that saw us long before we saw them, and waited for the last minute to run scampered the fifty yards to the corn field. We stopped and Phil told me over the top of this hill and around the bend there will be a rye field, so be ready.” Slowly and silently, we walked up the small hill, and were just at the base of the right-hand turn in the road when we spotted two deer, just a little ways down a steep hill. One of them decided not to stick around and see what was going down, where as the other stood and starred. I could only see enough of his head to tell that it was legal for my antlerless tag. I stepped out of the rut and onto a little dirt pile, just enough so I could see down to the legs. I brought the rifle up, flicked the safety off, “took a deep breath to steady my nerves”, and slowly squeezed the trigger. “Bang!!” the deer ran up the hill then back down. With the way he kicked his legs and ran, we all knew that it was a good hit. I followed the blood trail and found him lying in the little crick in the bottom of the valley. We got him out, dragged him halfway up the hill, and Phil taught me how to filed dress him. Then we dragged him to the top and took him to the butcher.
That nub buck was my first deer, a memory I will never forget, the shell now contains a feather that I found up there on our way back to camp, will also never be forgotten.

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from matson123 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My name is Adam Matson and I have been hunting since I was 13 in Wisconsin I was introduced to this sport by my dad, the unluckiest hunter around. Our family hasn't harvested a buck since 1990. I call it the curse of the Matson's. The bucks just seem to play tricks on me. That is until I arrowed this one.
To start off my dad is an opening weekend hunter, rifle only. He has never bow hunted so I had to teach myself this fine art with only encouragement from my parents. This was my first year bow hunting and I have learned that I enjoy it more than anything else. If a gun season didn't exist I would be fine with it. I am now primarily a bow hunter. I bought the bow myself and found the camouflage at a garage sale. I spend months scouting out the land I hunt in Deerfield. I hunt this land in trade for the farm work I do for the owners, since my family lives in town. They have a pretty large farm which requires a lot of haying and tobacco, but I also love to work outdoors.
The night before the hunt I went with my dad to Gander Mountain and helped him pick out a brand new Deerfield Ruger. Beautiful Gun. While we were there he asked if there was anything I needed for hunting. I said some rattling sticks would be awesome.. he threw them into the cart for me, along with some hand warmers.
Anyways, on that particular morning I woke up at four and was climbing my tree by 4:30. I'm a poor college student so I really don't have money for a tree stand so I climb a tree and sit in a crook aching for hours during the wait for a buck. By six I saw two little does walk under my stand, not having a clue that I was spying on them for the last fifteen minutes. They could have been meat, but something felt good about today. I knew I had a chance for a buck. Around 8 I heard a tiny commotion behind me and instantly tensed up. I didn't want to move in fear of spooking whatever it was. I slowly grabbed my bow and turned around.
Twenty yards away a small spike and a doe had come to my rattling and grunting. My body relaxed. These deer could live another day. They then slowly walked under me and followed the creek for a ways. About 45 minutes I hear a crunching behind me. I turned around in time to see the does coming back my way on a dead sprint. A minute later I saw the spike slowly run past, injured. I start hearing hollowing and crunching. Two hunters were trying to trail the buck, just being as loud as possible. I didn't think that was a very good way to trail a spooked buck, but who am I to say what works. When they saw me I told them which way he went and decided that after all that ruckus my hunt was over for the morning. I was severely disappointed.
I walked out of the woods and started driving down the long driveway when the old farmer's wife flagged me down, running after me. (She ran pretty well for 75!) She said that she needed help programming her new van and garage door opener. I said since my hunt was done I would love to help her. I spent about an hour fixing everything that she wanted done and was about to head home. She asked if I was going back to the woods, I sadly said no, too much commotion already. She told me to go onto the hill. She just has a feeling.
"Why waste my day watching TV when I can be out in the woods?" I thought to myself. I took her advice and headed up to the giant hill. I started up the cattle trail to get to my giant oak I picked out (this tree I stand on a branch). I started to walk through some thorns and torn my skin raw. Oh well, I've had worse. Then I grabbed a hold of the barb wire fence. Smart move.
Once I got settled I pulled out my brand new rattling bag and just started tickling. I added a few grunts and weezes to it. Once again my adrenaline started to rush. I smelt something funny in the air, something musty. All of the sudden I saw a brown body jump out of the thickets, just standing tall and proud looking all around for a fight. I was in complete awe. I didn't even think of grabbing my bow even though he was broadside at 30 yards. I just saw a buck, an anxious buck, pawing the ground, sniffing the air, running on adrenaline. He turned back to the thicket and then I got my nerves back. I grunted twice and OFF HE SPRINTED to the left.. He just high tailed it outta there. I lost all emotion. I just scared him away.
I stood still for a couple seconds thinking what I did wrong. I slowly looked left and I saw the buck come charging in, sniffing the ground and shaking his head in a terrible fury. He wanted to FIGHT! He just couldn't find the other buck. I slowly pulled back my new PSE Nova and aligned the sight on his side. He made his way 5 yards under my tree and let out a grunt. I pulled the trigger on my release and let it fly. The buck stood there for a second and tore off back through the thicket he originally came through. NOOOOO..I saw my arrow sticking in the ground, the red and white fletching staring back at me, mocking me.. I missed.
I looked up and saw the buck come out running from behind a growth of trees and shrubs 50 yards away. One more step and he did a nose dive right into the dirt. His paw was between his horns. He was down. I was so excited I hoped straight down from my tree and looked at the arrow. It was soaked with blood. It had sailed right through the lungs. I was in such joy that I jumped out of my tree and tore off down the trail and grabbed the old farmer in his tractor. "I just shot a big one! I just shot a big one! Now what??? He just laughed at me and told me to calm down; the deer's not going anywhere. He came up and helped me get the deer out of the woods with the four wheeler and then I called my dad to come with the truck.
So many things lead to the harvest of that buck. The rattling horns my dad bought for me the night before, the other hunters wounding a buck, and helping a nice old lady. By helping someone else I have learned that you help yourself.
My dad has never been a man of many words but when he shook my hand after that deer I knew how badly he had wanted me to get a deer throughout all these past years and getting it like this was everything to him and me. The curse of the Matson's has been broken!
Note: I was so excited about that deer, when I got home I realized that I had left my quiver, release, rattling bad, and binoculars all in the tree and had to run back to get them.
Adam Matson

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EDITORS NOTE: This is the last entry for WEEK ONE. All entries after this point (until Midnight on October 12) will be considered entries into week 2 of this contest.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

To Mr. Mathews- Sorry not an entry this week. To the winner of weeks 1/2 CONGRATS !
The Super tool JUST beat out the SOG by price(in my vote).
Look out for me in in weeks 3/4 though !

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from woodturner wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My Son’s best hunting trip.

My son Nathan told me a story from his hunting trip opening day 2009.
He and two friends started to hike in the YOLO BOLIES wilderness. His friend Brian
Who the week before had had a cold, and who should have stayed home, got real sick
only after a mile into there hike and realized that he could not go any further. They had
Walked down from the road about a thousand feet to the creek. So Brian And Jezreel made
camp there and Nathan continued on to the hunting area.

Nathan continued about three miles in when he came to A group of other hunters
already camping. He didn’t think he was going to see anyone else this far in. We’ll he
decided to drop his pack behind some tree’s and continue on. Getting a ways past that camp
he saw a hunter. I guess it was first light. He was about a hundred
Yards from the man when he first saw him. The hunter didn’t see or hear Nathan as he got
Closer. Nathan said he was about ten feet off to one side of the man when he finally noticed
Nathan. According to Nathan the man just about jumped out of his skin. He then turned up
his hearing aids. Nathan apologized for scarring him and introduced himself. They shook
hands and the man said his name was Gary Ford from Willits, Ca. and that he had been
Hunting in the same area for over thirty years and that he had never taken a deer out.

After that, Nathan continued on the trail and came to a spot where he could glass
An area. He thought he was by himself when he heard some above him cough. Nathan said,
Dad I looked up the hill and here was this guy and he was buck naked. He said I didn’t know
What to do. The guy was next to the trail so it was real awkward. After a bit the guy put his
Shorts on. Nathan decided to get going and went up to the guy. The guy said that he had some
Friends. Two above and one below where they were. So Nathan said that he was going to go
On to the ridge off in the distance. The guy agreed that would be a good area and Nathan left.
Nathan said that after he had walked for a while he noticed a couple guys following him. If
He walked they would walk. If he stopped they stopped. So he turned toward then and gestured
“what are you doing”? Well then they stopped following him.

He then got to this area that looked real good. And started glassing the area. He saw a doe
About a hundred yards away. He watched her for a while and then spotted a nice three by three.
He didn’t think the Buck saw or heard him but it started walking, then running up the hill. Nathan
Said that when it started running, he ran over to a rock and waited for the deer to come into the open.
It started running into some timber and Nathan picked a spot where he thought the deer would go and
Set his sights there. And that’s where the deer went. He said the deer stopped right there and looked at
Him. He said “I pulled the trigger and the deer just stood there“. He said, “I chambered another round
And waited what seemed like 8 seconds”. He said the deer just fell over and didn’t even twitch.

After field dressing the buck, he got to an area where he could call his friends on the radio.
He said he would be unable to carry the deer by himself and would need help. They agreed to leave the Buck hanging in a tree for the night and Nathan started back. When Nathan got back to that first camp he saw in the morning, he saw that Gary Ford was there. Gary said to Nathan “ what do you have those antlers for, are you rattling for deer? Nathan said no, but that he had got his buck and showed him the head. Gary asked where the deer was and Nathan told him his plan to come back the next morning to get the deer with help from his friend. We’ll it just so happened that Gary had five mules with him and his group. He had a Grandson and nephew with him. But not the guy who was naked.
We’ll to Nathans surprise Gary asked if he could go back with the mules and get Nathans deer. Nathan said that was very nice but that he didn’t want to impose. Gary said that he had never been able To pack a deer out with the mules before and would really like to do that. So they went back and got Nathans buck. Gary said he would like to take it all the way to Nathans truck. About three miles away. Nathan said that was nice but that he had a sick friend back at camp and would he mind helping him get back to the truck. Gary agreed.

When Nathan got back to camp he found Brian resting between two rocks like a lounge chair.
When Brian saw Nathan on the mule he asked what was going on. He said that he had a ride out for him. Nathan introduced Gary to Brian. Here is where the story gets real interesting. Brian told Gary that he had a great grandfather with the last name Ford. George asked what his first name was.
Brian said “Vernon”. Gary then said “ my name is Gary Vernon Ford, your Great Grandfather
Was my dads brother”. Well I can imagine they exchanged memories. Gary knew Brian’s dad but had never met Brian.

I think this has to be one of my sons greatest adventures. I hope you enjoyed this story.

BRENT COOK REDWAY, CA

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from Mombakc wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My Dog's Natural Ability
By: Chad A. Carson

Yesterday evening it was so beautiful outside here in the upstate of South Carolina I just had to be out in it. I decided to take my 10 month old basset for a walk down the creek behind the house. Up to this point all I have done with him is drag a squirrel pelt and a rabbit pelt around the yard to get him interested. Since I have heard that Bassett's are bad to lock on to a scent and take off I kept him on a very short leash (5 ft) for the first outing.
As you can imagine, he was extremely excited and was jumpy at first and wanted to bolt. As soon as we got about 50 yards into the walk he naturally started figuring things out. He went from looking at me with "playful puppy" in his eyes to having his nose buried in the grass and a look of eager possession in his eyes. I was able to pick up on this pretty quickly and decided I'd try to work with him to see how we did together. I started letting him set the pace...I was extremely impressed, even amazed with how slow and methodic he hunted. If he started getting too fast I'd simply say "SLoowwwWW" and he would react to my command and slow down. After the first few times I told him to "slow" I noticed his nose would go deeper in the grass and his "sniff's" would become more intense. He would do circles and act all crazy while his nose was down until he would finally follow the scent to the wood line. Once he was at the wood line I'd consider him locked on, pull him off and instantly praise and pet him. I thought he was crazy for circling like that when he first caught the scent...until I actually watched what he was doing. When I slowed down and looked at the action at hand I was able to see that he wasn't simply spinning in circles. In fact, he was following the exact trail the rabbit hopped. Once I thought about it, a rabbit when feeding casually will hop and turn in circles feeding in one area. Once I realized how exact his sense of smell was I once again praised him and apologized for pulling him off the trail at the wood line (won't do that again). By this point we had reached the end of the trail and turned around to head home.
On the way back he picked up another trail, he once again dug his nose down in the grass to better get on the scent. This time not only was his nose in the grass but he was swinging his head back and forth as he was on the trail. I swear, if I had to bet on this I would...that dog was moving his head back and forth so that his big 'ole ears would waft the scent into his nose and face; that in turn, kept him locked on better. It was such an intentional movement that it was obvious to me that he was using his ears to smell...CRAZY! Welp, on this trail he took me up and over a hill, across a gravel road and half way up the next hill until he slammed on brakes just before he got to an old blow down and the lip of the hill. My first thought..."Where's the copper head?" Just as I was looking for the snake old Mr. Cottontail goes bolting out from under the blow down and up over the lip of the hill screaming like he was on fire. When I say "screaming" he was actually screaming...I guess he knew he was dead. What he didn't know was that it ain't rabbit season yet. Let me tell ya though...I was so impressed with Remi's natural ability and what he tracked that rabbit through and across there might have been a tear in my eye. We sat there and he got his belly rubbed and his ears scratched for a good few minutes for that performance.
Welp, we got up and started the rest of the way back. By this point we were working good together. I'd let him set the pace and he liked that. If he stopped, I stopped...when I stopped he stopped...when this would happen I'd ask him "See how that works? You stop I stop...I stop you stop?" He looked at me and I swear he understood me...and darn it if we didn't start getting good at it. So here we are walking down the path and I had gotten a little fast I guess. The reason I say this is because Remi passed over a trail walking in front of me slammed on brakes and did a 180 behind me. He followed this one straight into the briars...I ain't following him in there. I let him loose and walked around to the other side. That darn cottontail came running out on my side of the briar patch and not even three feet from my foot....scared the heck outta me. Next here comes Remi...he lit up when the rabbit jumped and sounded like a Sherman tank coming out. Luckily he was on the rabbit's trail so I snagged him as he came out. Again...BIG celebrations. Back on the trail towards the house. I look down the trail and 40 yards further I see a rabbit cross the trail in high speed and in short grass/dirt. I wasn't even real sure if he hit the trail or just cleared it. Either way I wasn't going to tell Remi...I was going to see how he did when we got down there. So we get close to where I thought the rabbit crossed...nothing yet. Little further....nothing yet. Little further...nothing yet. I'm starting to get concerned and thinking about turning him around. BINGO! The rabbit crossed further down than I had thought. I think Remi picked up on the one spot the rabbit touched the trail when he crossed. Remi put his nose in under a big clod of grass clippings and "BOOM!", out goes the rabbit. That basset is strong buddy, let me tell you. And dang it all if I'm not as proud as I can be of him. What that walk boiled down to is what would have been the difference in a hunting trip with no rabbit upon my return or three rabbit for the stew. Now when an old timer tells me that I have to get out and work with my dog I understand that he's not talking about just giving my dog commands. He means getting out and working WITH my dog. Pick up on his strengths and work with them. Just like you do with one of your buddies. In fact, I found out yesterday evening that my basset is smarter than allot of my buddies. And it doesn't look nearly as weird when he roles over to get his belly scratched than when one of my buddies do. Remi and I are going to take another walk tonight!

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from Salvatore wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Memories and Place

I have two memories that keep overlapping. One is of a young boy holding onto the antlers of his fist big buck along a hidden mountain stream deep in West Virginia. And the other is not quite as old, it is of two young men, myself and my good friend.
I was thinking of those two memories as I set up camp along a cold mountain stream. As I picked up my bow, I felt like I was drifting back into the first of those two memories, back with my father.
My second memory was of my friend and myself taking a trip into the wilderness. We drove through the night, and arrived at our destination early the next morning ready for anything. After about 3 trips from my jeep to our newly discovered campsite to unload our supplies, we started to set up. We had not come here to do simply nothing, we had come here for the whitetail. Not any size in particular, but any wild deer in the untouched and undiscovered wilderness is natures definition of perfection. I had come here for the hunt and to spend time with a friend, but I had also come here for a more personal reason.
The crystal clear water and forests colored white with fresh powder were postcard material. By day, we sat quietly in our tree stands amongst the 300 foot trees, and put a stalk on some nice bucks over the top of mountains and past a frozen waterfall. At night, we sat on soft moss eating some grilled trout we had caught straight from the stream, sipping our sour mash whiskey, and listening to the far off howls of the night. We had driven to the trail head through the mountain valleys that now seemed decades behind us. All this seemed so familiar, but still strangely distant, for I had been here before, this was the place of my fist memory.
Four years earlier I had come to this place with my father. I had suppressed that memory. I took a sip of coffee and watched an eagle cruise up the stream with his white cape gleaming brightly in the morning sun. Something was different here, I felt it and I wanted to know why. Then it hit me, as I gazed out over the silence, I felt the answer floating just beyond my reach. It wasn't what was here that was different, it's what wasn't here. My father was what was missing. There was no guidance like before, the echos of his voice were disappearing like howls from the night. There were no other people here, just the distant memories of those like me and my father.
As I lay there on the moss of that hemlock forest and ate the firm red meat of the big 12 point buck I had killed earlier in the day, I realized that in the last few days I had found the connection that I hadn't looked for in the three and a half years since my father had passed. I breathed in the warm smell of the wild venison and thick wood smoke and thought about my two memories. The first will always remain a part of who I am, but the second I see differently now.
Now in my memory, that deep forest in West Virginia is more than a place where I once hunted or fished. It is a land of century old trees, rocks form the basement of time, winding streams, and wild whitetail and trout. More importantly, it is also a place where my two memories have finally become one.

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

SADIE’S FIRST BUCK

It is hard to find an outdoor sports channel that doesn't end with the message to get a young person out and teach them to hunt. They are our future. This story is about a "first timer" and I think she is now hooked.
In 2001 Scott and I purchased almost 200 acres that was once part of his grandparent’s farm. The property had been owned by 5 guys, some from downstate and they kept the gate closed. Situated on the land was a 1973 mobile home. No running water, an outhouse, but there was electricity...it was perfect. The ink wasn't even dry on the paper work, we opened the gate and called it camp.
The neat part of this is that Scott's brother Jim owned 300 acres adjacent to our property. His land was also part of the section that the grandparents had owned many years ago. It had some of the best hunting and farm land in the area and Jim was an avid hunter as well. By fall the food plots were planted and the blinds in place, we were all ready to hunt.
Jim has a son Jason, now 21 he too loves to hunt. He spends countless hours walking or driving their property taking note of the bucks and by October I swear he has them named. If you tell him you saw an 8 point buck, you best know if it had a broken G2 or real white horns. It is not very often that a buck shows up that Jason hasn't already seen. He puts a lot of time into scouting and it normally pays off for him.
Jason's youngest sister Sadie has sat with her dad and Jason many times for many years. She has never hunted and is not 16 and has the normal interests of a 16 year old young lady. But this year Jason "begged" her to get up opening morning to hunt in his stand with him. She went and they didn't see anything that morning. Sadie went again for the afternoon hunt and this is where the real story starts.
Around 4:30 Jason told her there was a buck coming out. He didn't know how big it was, just that it was a buck and he had promised her that he would let her shoot "something". Sadie would later tell me that he was "bouncing off the walls" telling her to take the gun and shoot. She was totally unprepared and took a little longer than Jason was comfortable with getting ready to shoot. He was "having a fit" as the buck walked off into the woods....Sadie was like "what the heck"!!!
The buck turned and came back out to the edge of the field and now Sadie was ready. She took aim and fired the shot, both of them watched as the buck disappeared into the woods. Both Jason and Sadie knew it was a good hit so they started burning up the cell phone lines. A call to mom (Sandy) brought a "yeah right" and then to Uncle Scott who couldn't understand what she was saying.
Back at camp I was patiently waiting for them to bring her trophy as Scott told me Sadie had shot a 10. I was so dang excited for her and could not wait to see it. They backed the pickup up to the porch of camp where the light was good and we could all see. I was barely out the door when the passenger door flew open and I was greeted by the biggest smile you can imagine. I hugged Sadie and told her over and over how very proud I was of her. She chatted a mile a minute recanting the story of Jason "bouncing off the walls" and then her shot. She just kept pointing from herself to the buck saying "I did this....I got a 10 point buck". Once again I told her how proud I was and Sadie's reply was "I just kept thinking, who, who, who will be proud and I said..Judy will. She will be so proud of me because she hunts and knows".
I was about in tears as it made me realize that all those years of watching all of us hunt and celebrate the harvest, this young lady got it. It isn't just the hunt, it is the comradery, the thrill, the sharing of the stories. It is about family and friends doing what they love to do and then taking it all back to "camp" and sharing. Sadie now had her own story to share and she will have that memory for the rest of her life.
My sister has always told me that "I never look happier than when I have a dead animal in the picture with me". Well, it is not only my harvests that make me smile. We took pictures of Sadie that night and I asked that one be taken with her and I. She brought the pictures over to me the following night and I have to say there was no wiping that smile off her face the night she killed that buck, she was one proud, happy young lady. But the picture of Sadie and I together shows that I was just as happy and proud as she was.
Her first deer, a 10 point buck to boot and I got to share in the celebration. If I don't harvest this season it will be just fine with me. It meant more to me to have Sadie get her first deer than if I shot a 12 point myself. I remember my first fish and I remember my first deer. I too remember my kids first deer. Now I can say that I remember Sadie's first buck, an awesome 10 point. What a treasured memory.

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from pigs1040 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

In the not so distant past my father took me fishing. I was so excited that I grabbed my fishing pole and told my dad to load up and head for the lakes. I had my pole, worms and salmon eggs. What else could be better than fishing with my old man. As we head out on our adventure we swing by our local donut shop and grab an apple fritter and milk. When we finally reach our destination we take out the raft and get set up. Geez, I cant believe how excited I am!!! We paddle out onto the lake and sit there talking about everything under the sun, enjoying the nice morning breeze. My dad can see the frustration starting to set upon me and says, "here son, try out this lure". So getting my lure tied on, we sit back to back in our small raft. I grab onto my rod and chuck that lure with all my force to get the longest cast ever, but as I swing forward my rod stops suddenly and a scream can be heard out on the lake. My fathers head had gotten in the way of my cast and my lure had burried it self in his scalp. My father wants to scream at me, but realizes that a 10 year old doesnt usually remember to look over his shoulder. Yes that was a great fishing trip. I dont remember catching any fish, but my dad was certainly hooked!

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from jktaylor11 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The feeling you get when you hit a home run is, in my mind the equivalent to killing a beautiful Eastern longbeard. I was a junior in high school, and like most young men my age, I had two major interests in my life: baseball and hunting. The day was a Friday, Good Friday to be specific, and the high school I attended had dismissed us students from class for the entire day. However, Coach Crafton, our head baseball coach, had decided that practice for that day would go on as usual, and of course it was mandatory. He gave us different times frames we could sign up for to take batting practice and throw a short bullpen session. Knowing that spring turkey season would not last much longer, I signed up for the mid-day session. This way I would be able to hunt from sun up to mid-morning, go to practice and hit a few meatballs, then head back out to my gobbler paradise. After about 50 pitches in the bullpen and as many repetitions in the batting cage, I set out on a 12 mile journey back to my house and out to my honey hole. My dad, an avid turkey hunter and the man who talked me into skipping space camp in favor of turkey hunting (I did kill a turkey that morning, by the way), had decided to lace up his Rocky's and join me in hopes of bagging the gobbler of my life. About 25 yards away from the hay field we consistently saw turkey in, a lone longbeard was feeding on a mix of fescue and Dallas grasses. We were able to stalk him without being detected, and five minutes later I was walking back to my house with a trophy Eastern longbeard and a another interesting hunting story to go with my others.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I had been hunting with my granddad and dad for several years. My first memory of hunting with granddad was a winter day, I was about 8 years old, I had gotten my first B.B. gun. It was a Daisy B.B. gun, lever action, and the gun a slot on the barrel where the B.B’s would be put in. It would rattle every time I would tip the gun one way or the other.

Both my Granddad and my dad wanted to do some serious hunting that day. I think they picked straws to see who would take me for the day. My dad lost. So dad and I went off into the woods. I could see dad getting upset because about ever 5 minutes or so I would get board and shift how I was setting. Every time I shifted my position the B.B. would rattle down the barrel of the gun like an Indian rain stick.

After doing this most of the morning, my dad finally told me to set still. This is no easy task for a young boy with his new B.B. gun, but I tried.

It took about a half hour and a big doe came up to us. It seemed like she was only a few yards away. We did not have doe tags but it was quit a sight, and it showed a lot of patients on dad’s part.

My little girls are still a little to young for serous hunting, 5 years old and 7 years old, but I take them fishing and antler hunting. When they get on my very limited patients I remember this story, and the patients shown to me.

Thanks dad.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Granddad, dad, and I had been hunting for a few years. I was about 12 years old, Granddad and dad were trying to show me how to track animals. This year we were hunting mule deer in Colorado just outside a small town called DeBeque. Its mostly a desert area, sage brush, and shrubs.

I knew what deer tracks looked like, but I had not tracked anything yet. Granddad and I went over a small draw. Granddad had been fallowing a buck most of the morning. Granddad got the buck in sight. To me it seemed like a mile long shot, but in truth it was probably a few hundred yards. Granddad swore by his old .270, and this was not much of a shot for him.

The deer hunched over as they do, and Granddad knew he made a good shot. We waited for about fifteen minutes when Granddad decided to go after the buck. Granddad showed me where he had hit the deer and the blood trail. Then he told me to track it down.

I wondered around finding some blood, then losing the tail more then once. Granddad told me after I lost the trail to walk in a circle around the last place I saw the trail, and find it again. It took me a wile to find the deer, but when I did, I was so proud that I did it on my own. Now I realize that I wasn’t alone, and that Granddad knew where the deer was the entire time. But that feeling of accomplishment when I did it is something that I will never forget.

Thank you Granddad.

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from markseay1 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Best Opening Day Ever!

Last Saturday was the opening of archery season for deer here in Virginia. This is only my third hunting season with a bow. Last year I got skunked, and the year before that I put an arrow through my first deer, a respectable 4-pointer.
After getting skunked last year I really put some effort into scouting this summer on the small 100-acre farm that I have permission to hunt on. I have never seen any big mature deer on this property, mostly I would see a lot of does and some small bodied bucks. But this season was going to be a little different.
I set out an hour and a half before sun-up to my pre-selected tree on the edge of a small grove of oaks that have been dropping acorns. As dawn began to break, I was trying to make some distance measurements with an old range finder I have. The type where you look through an eyepiece while turning a knob until an object comes into focus (usually a tree I use as a distance marker) then looking at the wheel with yardage markings on it. But there was not enough light to see through it clearly under the early October tree canopy.
Just then, I see movement to the left side of my stand and the nicest buck I have seen while hunting emerges from cover. An 8-point beauty. I quickly estimate the buck to be 30 yards, draw as it turns broadside and let the arrow fly. I hear the arrow pass through some leaves that I hadn’t noticed and the buck startles and walks slowly 10 yards away behind some thick cover. I can’t believe my poor luck for not noticing the small branch above my pin, directly in my arrows arcing path to it’s target.
In 15 minutes it has gotten light enough for me to use the range finder and I find out that the buck was actually at 20 yards, not thirty. So, I realize that I surely must have shot over the animals back. As I am putting the range finder back in my pack I catch more movement. Another buck, larger than the first, a 9-pointer, is 20 yards away and walking straight towards my tree stand. The deer is facing me so I do not have a clean shot. As the buck walks behind a tree, I draw my bow and follow him until he is 5 yards in front of me, and broadside. I lean down and let the arrow fly. This time I can see the tuft of hair open up where my arrow has entered, a great shot. I can hear the deer run up the hill through the leaves and then go down. My luck has changed for the better on this opening day.
I descend from my tree stand to retrieve my arrows and am shocked to find them both coated with blood. I walk around to the edge of the thick cover where I last saw the first buck and there he is, not more than 15 yards from where I shot him. I stand there for a minute to let this all soak in as a big grin spreads over my face. It is 7:30am on opening day and I already have two beautiful bucks down. This is the best opening day ever!

Note: Photographs upon request

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My dad and I decided to go up to Mystic Lake. We got all of our gear ready and on Friday afternoon we headed to the lake. When we reached the trail head we started our 2 hour hike to the lake. It was a great climb knowing that when we get to camp we will be able to eat dinner. Once we reached the lake it was another hour hike to the camp spot. By this time I was getting tired from carrying a 30 pound load on my back. When we reached the spot we set up my tent, I grabbed my backpacking stove and made a delicious dinner. For desert we had hot cocoa and snickers bars. The next day we hiked up to Huckleberry Lake only to find that it wasn't deep enough to fish. So we headed back down to Mystic Lake. On the way down I fished in Huckleberry Creek and caught a 5 inch rainbow. I had to throw it back. When we got back down to our camp we fished at mystic the whole day only to catch two 13and1/2 inch rainbow trout. They made a delicious dinner. The next day we packed up and headed back down to the truck. We fished some hole on the way down but caught nothing. When we got back down to the truck we had hot dogs and raspberries for lunch. After lunch I put my fly rod together and fished the lower creek. I was hoping just to catch a 12 inch rainbow, but instead I caught a huge 16 inch brown trout. I caught him, got him to the bank and he got off the hook. I couldn't process the ordeal. I was so close to landing the biggest fish of my life. After he got off the hook my legs were literally shaking. That was the only fish I caught that day. Instead of eating it I am now talking about it. That was one of the coolest fishing moments of my life.

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from kadabujack wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The Great Boar Hunt

I think it would be very difficult for me to convey to you just how upset I was. It was an outrage! There are some things a man just cannot tolerate, and having his favorite tale of skill and daring degraded with such malicious intent is just the last straw.

It all started fairly innocently at a recent cookout with several of our hunting friends. After a fine fare of wild boar, recently taken, the talk soon turned, naturally, to hunting. All was fine until my brother, obviously influenced by the bottle, started telling the story of the day’s adventure in a very malevolent manner. (I only add the fact that he’d been drinking, not to imply that he is a drunken slob that can not be believed, but to show that alcohol can affect one’s memory).

It was not long before Uncle Bill and my dad started in, too, saying how it was a shame for me to call up my uncle’s poor, tame pig, which had escaped some months earlier, and shoot it like a fish in a barrel. (Obviously, they had no idea that domesticated hogs on the loose soon revert to their primal ways and, in fact, become more ferocious than wild raised boars). To give them credit, however, they did have the part right about my calmness under pressure (although they, of course, called it shock). To give the story more credibility, what follows is the factual account.

My brother, Steve, and I were hunting squirrels on my uncle’s land that morning. Since we planned on a deer hunt in the afternoon, I had brought my rifle along in the truck and Steve had brought along some buckshot for his shotgun. After a totally unproductive morning hunt (Steve lucked into his limit), I decided it was time to show Steve some of my hunting expertise. We would go deer hunting.

As we were driving to the deer stand, the most ferocious wild boar I had ever seen in my life crossed the road. We gave chase and, despite the great damage inflicted to Uncle Bill’s vehicle, finally cornered the beast in a patch of woods next to a cornfield. We got out of the truck and I jumped into the bed of the truck so as to see from a higher elevation. I spotted the animal in the woods beside a large patch of thick underbrush. I stayed in the back of the truck so that I could track the movement of the game and told my brother to take the right side, quickly explaining that wild boar naturally preferred thickly wooded areas where they could not be disturbed. He looked doubtful but, deferring to my superior knowledge in such matters, took my advice, though he still showed some signs of reluctance. As soon as Steve had disappeared into the undergrowth, our wary quarry ventured out into the open field. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to show some fine marksmanship, I immediately fired.

Bang! Dirt showered behind the boar. Bang! Bang! Dirt plumes flew to the left over the beast. Peals of laughter resounded from the woods where Steve had gone and I naturally attributed this to his nervousness upon seeing that my tactic was working.
Bang! Another shot to the left and I had the beast heading in Steve’s direction. (Very few people realize the extreme difficulty of herding game with a rifle from the bed of a pickup).

Immensely pleased with myself for being able to direct such a fine game animal as this towards a novice hunter such as my brother, I waited patiently for the taking of the trophy. Upon hearing two reports from his shotgun, I started walking over to congratulate Steve when I heard the most ungodly sound before me in the brush. (I later found out that Steve had forgotten to replace his birdshot with the more lethal buckshot). Immediately, I began deep-breathing exercises, as recommended by most famous outfitters, to assure a steady shot. I suppose that, to the thoroughly uninitiated, this might possibly look like a man deep in the throes of fear.

The beast charged out of the woods and, upon seeing the enraged animal, I instinctively fell to my knees in preparation for a shot. Steve later described this as looking like a man involved in a deep and earnest conversation with his maker. (Most novices do not recognize the importance of a steady, kneeling position when firing at enraged animals). The maddened beast stopped and stared at this experienced hunter, obviously in paralyzing fear. With steady hand, I fired.
The trophy boar fell without a fuss. A perfect shot due to the stealth and savvy of a seasoned pro. (Okay, I know something was said about distance, but only an experienced stalker in the best of mental conditioning could kneel steadily and fire calmly at an enraged animal at a distance of less than 25 feet!).

Now, after hearing the true and accurate account of how this dangerous, worse-than-wild boar was taken, you can surely understand how terribly upset I was at such an outrageous distortion of the facts. It was an obvious attempt, initiated by jealousy, to discredit my true hunting ability. Mistruths of this sort can not be tolerated. We must work together, as sportsmen, to bring an end to these sorts of malicious lies and tall tales.

Say, did I tell you about the time Steve got buck fever and . . . ?

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from BioGuy wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

"How much farther is it?" my girlfriend, Amanda, inquired, referring to the distance we needed to sneak before we would reach our evening hunting destination.

"About 100 yards and we'll be there," I responded. It was the first time I had taken her hunting, and my biggest concern was that she would be comfortable enough to sit still for the three remaining hours of daylight. We had camp chairs, extra clothes, snacks, drinks, and a 20 minute very slow hike to our evening sitting location and I was carrying everything! I could tell she was getting impatient and excited. "Just be patient, walk slow, and mind your footing. I've jumped a lot of deer walking into this spot in the past, so we need to walk in real slow."

Our destination was a large glacial erratic, in the Adirondacks, that overlooked a swampy bowl where deer funneled down an old logging road off the opposite ridge. It was mid-November and the rut was in full swing. On the way in, we had found several fresh scrapes. The wind was blowing out of the northwest, which was perfect for that spot. The sign was good, the wind was good, and the company was good. My only hope was that the hunting would be good also.

After a long, and nearly silent sneak, we finally reached our spot. We set up the camp chairs and settled in for a long and cold 3 hour sit.

"Now don't get disappointed if we don't see anything," I told her. "I learned young to keep expectations low. It makes seeing animals all the more worth while."

"OK," she replied, "but I really hope we do see something."

Ten minutes passed and there was a loud snap in the distance. "Did you hear that," she exclaimed!

"I sure did. Just stay quiet and keep your eyes open."

A minute later two does can barreling off the adjacent hillside, down the old logging road, and into the bowl. They ran right up to us and stopped two yards away looking back in the direction they came from. Amanda was in awe. She had never been so close to live wild deer. I, however, was more concerned with their behavior.

In the distance I could see another deer. I did not dare to move because I didn't want to scare the does. The deer in the distance had his nose on the ground, just like a hound dog tracking coons. It was a buck, I was sure of it. The deer stepped into a clearing and I confirmed it had antlers. All the time, the two does at two yards had Amanda's full attention. She didn't even know there was another deer coming.

The buck disappeared behind some saplings and I took that opportunity to raise my gun. The does remained in place. The buck stepped into the next clearing a mere 15 yards away. BOOM! The 140 grain .260 Remington soft point bullet found its mark right behind the shoulder. The shot made Amanda jump out of her seat, the does bolted, and the next thing she saw was a buck running past us at two yards. After running another ten yards the deer went down.

"Oh my god, did you just shoot a deer? I can't believe it, we were only here like 15 minutes!" Amanda was excited.

"Yes, but don't run up to it yet. Give it a couple of minutes. Also, don't start thinking that hunting is this quick and easy! Luck was on our side tonight. Now the real work begins!"

A few minutes passed and we went to look at our deer. It was a 1.5 year old 4 point buck, and most would not consider it a trophy. The real reward was getting to spend time in the woods with the woman I love most and to see her enjoy every minute of it. It was also an opportunity to try out the new buck knife that she got me for Christmas the previous year.

"So next year, after I take my hunter safety course, are you going to bring me back here," Amanda asked?

"Yeah," I replied, "but only if you carry in all of the gear!"

Oh allright, I supposed I could carry in SOME of the gear, but if I get one, you got to drag it out." I laughed. She was hooked. Of course, who wouldn't be hooked on hunting after an experience like that? Mission accomplished!

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from Dustin321BANG wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

First Hunt
It’s a hot summer day in the Kern River desert. The suns about to go down in an hour or so and it’s getting below 100 degrees. It’s a special day because my father has brought me here so we can spend some time together; just the two of us on my first hunt. We park the car, grab our rifles, and start heading out. With the hot humid air blowing at our faces, our hats blocking the suns glare, and the sun block protecting our skin from the damaging rays, we march on through the valley. Maneuvering around the cactus and the razor sharp plants, I feel a sense of adventure and excitement. A new experience. Looking out for small bushy tails, and listening for the soft pidder padder of feet, I have to be watchful for coyotes and lethal rattlers. Dark clouds pass overhead as I walk around dreading the possibility of rain, which if gets heavy enough could end the trip. A moment later and I spot a cottontail, no more than thirty yards out. Feeling the adrenalin coursing through me, I struggle to retain control. I put the rabbit in my crosshairs, focus on keeping steady, and bang. The bullet soars through the air and hits the rabbit solid in the chest. It flips backwards from the impact and dies a few seconds later. I walk over to it and feel an exhilaration and accomplishment as I get closer. I grab it by the hind legs and show my dad. Seeing the pride in his eyes, I feel proud of myself. This day marks a special event for this is my first cottontail rabbit, and my first hunt.

That day changed me and made me realize what kind of person I am. It showed me that I am a hunter and always will be.

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from briarfire007 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

During my 1st year of graduate school, I hunted as much as possible. I had begun commuting into the city 5 days a week for class and work. 1 ½ hours of traffic a day had me dying to get out into the woods every chance I could. I had been lucky enough to take a buck the 2 previous seasons, but I had not seen any deer this year, and it was 3 weeks into November. I was getting a little discouraged.

There is a little patch of woods behind my dad’s house right next to a bean field. He had sat back there under a tree a week earlier and seen a really “wild buck” chasing some does around. I had always hunted in stands before, but decided to go sit under the same tree on the edge of those woods to see if I could spot some deer.

I hiked back to the far side of the woods and made myself a little nest under some very low hanging branches on the wood’s edge. I settled in around 2:30 in the afternoon. The woods behind me were so thick and grown up that I could hardly see into them. So I watched the edges of the tree line and the field in front of me.

About 3:00 I heard some rustling not far to my left. Twenty yards away the bushes wiggled, and a little buck walked halfway out of the woods. It was a 3 pointer, a fork on one side with a spike on the other. Our state has a 3-point rule, so this guy was off limits. I think he caught wind of me, because it wasn’t long before he vanished back into the woods.

About 4:30 two does walked out of the woods about 70 yards to my left. They were feeding in the field and went round and round in circles with their noses on the ground. I watched them for probably a half hour hoping a buck would come out with them. No such luck.

With only a weekend or two left in modern gun season, I wondered if this might be the only chance I would have to take a deer that year. With classes and exams, I couldn’t count on having the opportunity to make it out to hunt as often as I wanted. My plan had been to hold out for a buck until the end of the season. As much as I wanted to do that, I also wanted to make sure we had some deer meat in the freezer back home. Finally, I decided to take a shot at one of these does. I raised my rifle, took aim and fired.

And missed! Both does looked up as if to say “What just happened?” Then they casually strolled back into the woods. I couldn’t believe it. Not only had I missed, but I was certain I had blown any chance of seeing another deer at this spot for the day. I was disgusted. I sat there for about 15 more minutes, and then I decided to go check the spot where the does had stood to make sure that I had not hit her.

No hair, no blood. Missed. There I was with about 15 minutes of daylight left. I knew I might as well walk back to my dad’s house while there was still some light. I started back toward my hiding place to gather up my gear when suddenly across the field about 200 yards away some deer bounced out of another patch of woods.

I dropped to one knee and stared across the way thru my scope. 1,2,3,4….5, 6 does were suddenly milling about across the field. I continued to watch, and then he stepped out. A buck with a decent spread appeared watching over the batch of ladies. I pulled my grunt call out of my pocket and grunted as loud as I could to see if I could get him to come a little closer. I grunted a second time and stared thru the scope. The buck seemed to look across the field right at me. He took two steps, dropped his head and charged!

He dropped his head just like a bull and came tearing across the field. I can still remember little dust clouds kicking up at his hooves. I was a little shocked. I wondered several things all at once. How close would he come? Was he going to stop? I wanted to let him get as close as possible, but if I let him get too close I was afraid he might maul me. We’ve all heard about whitetails going crazy during the rut.

When he got within 50 yards I fired. He did not stop coming, but quickly altered his course. He ran an arc off to my left, circled behind me and into the woods. I managed to fire off 1 more shot as he went.

He was gone, and I was still there, on one knee trying to figure out what had just happened. It had all happened so fast. I quickly got up, ran over to the woods, already my heart sinking thinking I had missed again. As I made it to the tree line however, I could hear that familiar sound of a deer trashing in the leaves. I stepped inside the trees and saw him there on the ground. When I made it to him, he was finished.

He was an 8-point. His rack might have been pretty decent at some point that year, but by now he had broken off nearly half of every point except his main beams. He had obviously been doing a LOT of fighting. I’ve since taken deer with finer racks, and each hunting experience is always special. But so far no deer stands out to me as much as that brawler that came after me one beautiful fall afternoon.

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from buriti wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Alligators in the Sky

Rodrigo Tardelli Meirelles

I remember when I was around five years old and an alligator was caught on a “wait-hook” on a lake in our farm. A “wait-hook” is a sort of a trap, quite illegal nowadays, made of a large hook cast to a good two feet steel leader, a swivel, and then a length of strong line tied to a flexible tree limb or branch. The flexible branch is a necessary measure to avoid snapping the line. “Wait-hooks” are generally used for large nocturnal fish but the odd alligator may eventually find them.

I must tell you that I only saw that alligator by mid morning, after it had been gutted and the excellent tail meat taken away, but the large open mouth and the fresh in my mind Tarzan comic books were enough to inspire a great degree of respect for the animal.

Mr. Candinho, the same gentleman that several years later would shoot a rather large anaconda that had my father by his hand, wanted to show us the alligator teeth or perhaps he just wanted to retrieve the hook still attached to the powerful mouth. As he fingered around the large mouth, the alligator, as if alive, snapped its jaws shut and took a bite out of one of Mr. Candinho’s fingers. It may not have been as traumatic a loss as Captain Hook’s but, pardon the pun, a hook cost a portion of his finger.

In June of 1987, after I returned from six months in the United States as an exchange student, I went on a two week fishing trip to Mato Grosso, in the fringes of Brazilian’s Legal Amazon. We stayed at the São Jorge Preto farm that belonged to my uncles Amaury and Marcelinho. We drove in two Chevrolet pick-ups, my father, my brother Rodolfo, Mr. Jaime in one and Uncle Amaury, “Zé da Brucelose” and me on the other. From our hometown we drove to Barra do Garça, on the banks of the Araguaia River, and from there to the farm, in the São José do Xingu municipality, better known as “Bang” or “São José do Bang Bang”. You can figure why.

The trip itself took around 34 hours driving, the last 250 miles accounting for over ten hours, and to get to the farm we totaled five burst tires between the two trucks.

North Mato Gross is frontier country as wild as or even more wild than remote parts of Alaska, Canada or Africa. During summer or the rain season, from October to March, the roads are impassable and even the bush planes may face problem as the dirt runways started to soften. During winter, or the dry season, roads are drivable but an unpredictable dry fog may ground anything that does not have GPS, satellite navigation or common sense.

When you go there, prepare yourself, for the closest gas stations may be anything from a three hours drive to a day or so. Of course, you could call a plane as long as your radio worked, you could afford it and the plane could find where you are.

We fished the Comandante Fontoura, a slow flowing, dark water river, with the luxuriant tropical jungle suffocating its margins. As it was too hot during the day, we generally started fishing around 4PM and kept going to midnight or latter. Those nights floating on this river provided some of the most fascinating moments I had in the outdoors.

The tropical sky is incomparable in the amount of stars and the clear and cool winter nights, so far away from any city or pollution let those starts shine with such power against the dark night that they looked like diamonds under a powerful spotlight. The milk way or Via Láctea, as we say in Brazil, floated in the night sky just like the river we floated in cut the heartlands of Brazil and several times I wondered where we were floating, on the river or on the sky.

But suddenly I would be brought back to the earth, or better saying to the river, as the long shadows of the alligators would silent swim among the stars under our boat with slow strokes from their powerful tails.

Only in Africa, on safari, I saw a sky that could perhaps compare to Brazil, deep darkness and brilliant starts with the Southern Cross to guide me around.

I shot one alligator during that trip and my father cooked it while we were still there. I absolutely love the taste and consistency of alligator meat, it reminds me of lobster.

Also, during this trip I had one of the biggest scares of my life. One day my father decided to go out only with my brother and me. We packed the bare essentials and would have lunch on whatever we fished. That was a very poor day and the only fish we caught was a rather large black piranha. We made a fire on a clearing and cooked it the indian way, on a grill made of green branches above hot coals. We were either very hungry or the piranha was delicious, probably both, but my father didn’t eat even a small piece.

After the meal we continued fishing and were as unlucky as before and finally late night we, actually my father, decided it was time to go back to camp, and as he pulled the starting cord on the outboard motor he did not notice that it was in gear. When the engine started it sent the boat swirling around and my father lost his balance, and went overboard, hitting his kidney on the board on his way to the water.

I am still not sure how my, at the time, little and skinny brother and I hauled our father back into the boat but all the jungle creatures, alligators, anacondas, piranhas, mermaids, were very polite and did not disturb us on the process.

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from Mombakc wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My Dog's Natural Ability
By: Chad A. Carson

Yesterday evening it was so beautiful outside here in the upstate of South Carolina I just had to be out in it. I decided to take my 10 month old basset for a walk down the creek behind the house. Up to this point all I have done with him is drag a squirrel pelt and a rabbit pelt around the yard to get him interested. Since I have heard that Bassett's are bad to lock on to a scent and take off I kept him on a very short leash (5 ft) for the first outing.
As you can imagine, he was extremely excited and was jumpy at first and wanted to bolt. As soon as we got about 50 yards into the walk he naturally started figuring things out. He went from looking at me with "playful puppy" in his eyes to having his nose buried in the grass and a look of eager possession in his eyes. I was able to pick up on this pretty quickly and decided I'd try to work with him to see how we did together. I started letting him set the pace...I was extremely impressed, even amazed with how slow and methodic he hunted. If he started getting too fast I'd simply say "SLoowwwWW" and he would react to my command and slow down. After the first few times I told him to "slow" I noticed his nose would go deeper in the grass and his "sniff's" would become more intense. He would do circles and act all crazy while his nose was down until he would finally follow the scent to the wood line. Once he was at the wood line I'd consider him locked on, pull him off and instantly praise and pet him. I thought he was crazy for circling like that when he first caught the scent...until I actually watched what he was doing. When I slowed down and looked at the action at hand I was able to see that he wasn't simply spinning in circles. In fact, he was following the exact trail the rabbit hopped. Once I thought about it, a rabbit when feeding casually will hop and turn in circles feeding in one area. Once I realized how exact his sense of smell was I once again praised him and apologized for pulling him off the trail at the wood line (won't do that again). By this point we had reached the end of the trail and turned around to head home.
On the way back he picked up another trail, he once again dug his nose down in the grass to better get on the scent. This time not only was his nose in the grass but he was swinging his head back and forth as he was on the trail. I swear, if I had to bet on this I would...that dog was moving his head back and forth so that his big 'ole ears would waft the scent into his nose and face; that in turn, kept him locked on better. It was such an intentional movement that it was obvious to me that he was using his ears to smell...CRAZY! Welp, on this trail he took me up and over a hill, across a gravel road and half way up the next hill until he slammed on brakes just before he got to an old blow down and the lip of the hill. My first thought..."Where's the copper head?" Just as I was looking for the snake old Mr. Cottontail goes bolting out from under the blow down and up over the lip of the hill screaming like he was on fire. When I say "screaming" he was actually screaming...I guess he knew he was dead. What he didn't know was that it ain't rabbit season yet. Let me tell ya though...I was so impressed with Remi's natural ability and what he tracked that rabbit through and across there might have been a tear in my eye. We sat there and he got his belly rubbed and his ears scratched for a good few minutes for that performance.
Welp, we got up and started the rest of the way back. By this point we were working good together. I'd let him set the pace and he liked that. If he stopped, I stopped...when I stopped he stopped...when this would happen I'd ask him "See how that works? You stop I stop...I stop you stop?" He looked at me and I swear he understood me...and darn it if we didn't start getting good at it. So here we are walking down the path and I had gotten a little fast I guess. The reason I say this is because Remi passed over a trail walking in front of me slammed on brakes and did a 180 behind me. He followed this one straight into the briars...I ain't following him in there. I let him loose and walked around to the other side. That darn cottontail came running out on my side of the briar patch and not even three feet from my foot....scared the heck outta me. Next here comes Remi...he lit up when the rabbit jumped and sounded like a Sherman tank coming out. Luckily he was on the rabbit's trail so I snagged him as he came out. Again...BIG celebrations. Back on the trail towards the house. I look down the trail and 40 yards further I see a rabbit cross the trail in high speed and in short grass/dirt. I wasn't even real sure if he hit the trail or just cleared it. Either way I wasn't going to tell Remi...I was going to see how he did when we got down there. So we get close to where I thought the rabbit crossed...nothing yet. Little further....nothing yet. Little further...nothing yet. I'm starting to get concerned and thinking about turning him around. BINGO! The rabbit crossed further down than I had thought. I think Remi picked up on the one spot the rabbit touched the trail when he crossed. Remi put his nose in under a big clod of grass clippings and "BOOM!", out goes the rabbit. That basset is strong buddy, let me tell you. And dang it all if I'm not as proud as I can be of him. What that walk boiled down to is what would have been the difference in a hunting trip with no rabbit upon my return or three rabbit for the stew. Now when an old timer tells me that I have to get out and work with my dog I understand that he's not talking about just giving my dog commands. He means getting out and working WITH my dog. Pick up on his strengths and work with them. Just like you do with one of your buddies. In fact, I found out yesterday evening that my basset is smarter than allot of my buddies. And it doesn't look nearly as weird when he roles over to get his belly scratched than when one of my buddies do. Remi and I are going to take another walk tonight!

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from seadog wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

BILLIE'S FIRST GATOR HUNT
My friend Billie has been hunting all his life. He's one of the best turkey hunters I know. When he decided to come gator hunting with us, he took it seriously. He went out and got himself all geared up. He bought a new crossbow, a laser sight, bowfishing reel, 600 lb. test line, a special attachment to hold the float below the reel, and custom made fish arrows with detachable muzzy harpoon points. It was the finest gator crossbow rig any of us had ever seen. Billie went out and practiced. Day after day he fired that crossbow until that laser sight was zeroed in perfectly, and he kept practicing to be sure he would be ready. He was going to get his first gator and it was going to be a trophy. When it was finally time to hunt, we loaded that 16 ft. johnboat with lights, harpoon, .44 magnum bang stick, other gator hunting paraphernalia, and most importantly, Billie's crossbow. We had four tags between Billie and I; Terry would Captain the boat. We decided to take turns and switch off each hour. Billie was ready so he hunted first. We stalked several gators. Some were small; the bigger ones were smart. After about 45 minutes, we came up on a 7 footer. I whispered to Billie: "You got 2 tags. That's a good meat gator. We got all night to hunt a trophy." The gator came into range and Billie fired--couldn't have been more than an inch high, but the shot missed. I suggested that Billie keep hunting since he was going for his first gator and it was his brand new equipment. After another hour with no luck, he insisted that I take my turn. As luck would have it, we came up on a nice gator within minutes. He held for me and I nailed him. The battle with the gator on the line was exciting, as always. The gator measured 8'5" and Billie was now hooked on gator hunting. Now it was his turn. We hunted, and we hunted, and we hunted. About 1:30 a.m., Bilie said we should just get a little one so he would have his first gator. So we did. After we stretched it out real good, it measured 6 feet. A nice meat gator but not the trophy Billie wanted. We decided to hunt our way back to the boat ramp. I took the crossbow. About half way back, I heard Billie say "left, he's big!" I turned and saw one of the widest sets of eyes I've ever seen. At the time, I didn't know how big he was, just that he was big and he was already going down. No time to aim, I turned and snapped off a shot. Some combination of luck and skill put that bolt right behind the head, a perfect shot. It was a half hour later before we got a good look at that gator. It was huge. I harpooned it to get a second line on it and the fight began all over. It was another 20 minutes before we got it back close enough to the boat to hit it with the bang stick. Terry hit him with that .44 magnum in the perfect spot--stoned him with one shot. The hardest part was getting him into the boat. The gator measured just a hair over 12 feet. Billie didn't get his trophy, but I did.

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from benjismokin wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

It was as if madness or obsession had come over me. Suddenly I had nothing but killing on my brain. The time was finally here. It was the opening day of archery season.

I had waited all year for this day, and I was stoked! I woke up an extra hour early to make sure that I had everything I needed. All my gear was neatly arranged in the corner by the door, and the truck was warming up. The weather report said it would be very chilly for a September day, but it wasn’t going to be too bad. I knew that it was a perfect day for hunting.

The thirty minute drive to my land was just enough to get the sleep off of me, and when I arrived the woods were still as calm as water. I gathered my gear and got out my maps. I had three prime locations to choose from. The first was to the north. It was an old box elder that had been blown over between two ridges, to create not only a perfect obstacle to steer passing deer in my direction, but also as a blind. The second was perched in a tree, about sixteen feet up, overlooking a shallow spot in the creek where four trails connected. The third was a hike.

I stumbled upon this stand location while tracking a low hit doe in years before. It was an old apple orchard that had been abandoned, due to the rising creek level in the spring. Now it served as prime land for whitetail. The trees still sprouted buds (and produced enough apples to keep the deer happy) but the area had been a total wetland in the spring.

I had been hunting this area the entire ten years that I have owned it. There are several reasons "why". First, there is the mere twenty minute ride to the trail (then another thirty-forty minute walk to the stand site). Secondly, in order to successfully hunt this spot, you must have a climber and be a damn good shot. You only have room for an approximate fifteen yard shot (encompassing three shooting lanes). Compound this with the fact that you are twenty feet in the air and you'll be close to realizing the situation at hand. In this stand site, you are at LEAST an hour from any another man. With all that information stored, it's not hard to understand how this area could be construed as "deer heaven".

As I turned back outside the truck, the cool morning air was turning colder. For some reason, something told me to get moving. I grabbed my gear and headed onward. Along the walk, a lot of things play games with a man's head. This happens, especially, in the darkness. Every twig I heard snap; every bird I heard leaving its roost seemed to send my heart into over-drive. It felt as though it could be beating out of my chest. I could hear distant frogs from the creek; the hoot of howls; the yipping of coyotes in the hills. It was a very peaceful, yet scary, journey.

I reached my honey-hole with ample time to get set up right for the wind. It seemed as though the cold weather was picking up. Since the time I awoke (to this moment), the temperature had been dropping, constantly. The air was cold and the clouds looked like they were full and ready to burst. But, nothing seemed to bother me. I was wrapped in a cocoon of warmth and had no worries about the weather.

I wrestled my climber onto the tree and made my ascent. As I reached the apex (about eighteen feet), I cautiously pulled my pack and bow to my new position. I settled in and got setup. I have nothing to wait for, now, except the first splinter of the rising sun.

As I sat there, time seemed to move slowly and steadily. The forest was starting to awaken. The birds were chirping, and the rising sunlight filled the previously darkened woods. I couldn’t help but think about the day that lay ahead of me. My mind and body were filled with anxiety, and I was aching for that first glimpse of a deer.

Daylight was well upon me now. It's now seven o’clock..... and it's cold. I figured the temperature at a mere thirty-five degrees and the sky was spitting snow. I watched as the woods seemed to fill up with wildlife. The squirrels were busy finding food and chasing each other up and down trees. They sounded as if they were fighting to the death as they crashed through the crisp leaves. I had a group of turkeys move through, which startled me! All the commotion they made resembled what I thought might be a herd of deer coming my way. Occurrences like this remind me of why I love bow hunting as much as I do. While bow hunting, I'm able to observe nature's beauty in ways many can only dream of.

Suddenly, I'm snapped out of the realm of day dreaming. I'm brought back to reality, albeit kicking and screaming. There's a loud "cracking sound" behind me. I am frozen, instantly. I wait for the quiet to come, but I hear it, again. This time it was louder (and moving closer). As my heart starts to beat faster.....faster...., sending my body ....I begin shaking. I slowly turn towards the noise. My eyes are frantically trying to catch something (anything) moving. I notice a small bush (about thirty-five yards away) moving, ever so gently. I paused, as though I was trying to look completely through the bush, to see the faint glimpse of an ear twitching.

I reached for my bow, not knowing what was going to come out from behind the shrub. As I watched and waited, I kept telling myself to calm down. Relax. Then, it happened. The object I was so patiently waiting for stepped out from behind the bush. My stomach sank. Standing before me (and well within bow range) was a gig doe. She was chewing, rapidly, and acting as though there was something that she was supposed to be doing. Her tail was flicking wildly, and she kept looking to her right side, towards the creek bed. Glancing quickly, I noticed that there were three more does. Relaxing, momentarily, I let up on the bow and eased myself back into a comfortable position. I noticed my heart, still racing. As I watched the four does parade around the orchards, picking up food and frolicking with each other, they seemed to not have a care in this world. They hung around for what seemed like hours, then disappeared into the thicket.

The weather was beginning to pick up, and I thought for the first time there might be a snowy opening weekend. My body was starting to feel the effects of sitting still and began stiffening with the frigid temperature. I decided to have a cup of coffee and stretch a bit. It was nine o’clock before I saw another deer. This time, it was a respectable seven-pointer. He walked right towards me, then turned to take a quick bite before heading back to the creek bottom. Excitement is what keeps a man on the stand, I have always thought.

As the day grew longer, the deer sightings dropped off. While watching the orchard edges (where the orchards meet the swamp), something caught my eye. It was a small sparkle.... a mere glimmer of light that had reflected off something. I grabbed my binoculars and scoped the terrain.

There he was! Before me was the buck I was hoping to see!

At a distance of sixty-five yards, I could see the massive tines shooting splinters of bark from a sapling. His head was gigantic! His body was not unlike that of a horse! I couldn’t count the number of tines, but I knew they had to be "many". He was still a long ways out, and was meandering about. I knew at this point that he could go in any direction he wanted. I knew that I would have to pull out all the stops to even get a closer look. Throughout all my previous years hunting (and articles that I have read, in magazines), I tried to recall all of the tips and tricks that one thinks he should have in his arsenal. Nothing can prepare you for this moment, though....short of living it. When you are face to face with an animal you want SO badly, you realize that you're going to have to draw on all of your past experiences to close the deal. I quietly picked up my grunt tube and made a few soft, slow grunts. No response! I then tried a few more, this time a little longer and louder. Nothing, still. I thought, for sure, this buck was never going to get the message. So, I then pulled out the rattling antlers and clicked them together. The giant's head shot up! Game on.

He stretched his neck out, so far it seemed as if it was just floating there. I clicked the antlers together again, and his curiosity heightened. This was no dumb buck though. He didn’t walk right to the noise or charge in for a fight. He waited and watched. He was looking for any sign of danger before inquiring as to the source of the noise. To him, this "noise" meant one thing. With the breeding season upon us, he was about to enter into a fight for this territory.

I had managed to keep it together the entire fifteen minutes he stood there, looking. I picked my grunt tube, again, this time giving three hard blasts. This buck had heard enough, and decided to move. With his head cocked down and his chest pumped up, he headed towards me. With each step in my direction he took....my heart skipped beats. He stopped at approximately forty yards, and continued to gaze in my direction, never taking his eyes off level ground.

“He doesn't know I’m here”, I kept telling myself. I watched, intently, as he took his time coming across the clearing. I knew he would reach my shooting lane, soon. I tried to gather my composer for the imminent shot, and I slowly started to stand. My bow was in hand as he noticed something he didn’t like. He started to take a path in the wrong direction, but I remembered I had a shooting lane there, too. That shot would be nowhere near as "perfect" as this one, though. I slowly reached for my grunt tube again and gave a quick, two snort combination. The buck wheeled around and stopped, just inside the thicket.

I could finally see his antlers, and I was NOT disappointed. He sported six points on the left main beam, with one drop tine. I could clearly make out seven points on the right. I quickly surmised at least a thirty inch spread. He was easily the biggest deer I had ever seen on this property, and I knew he wasn’t "just another buck". His coat was almost black, and his face was stubbed and grey. As he stood their, all I could do was freeze. I wanted nothing to interfere with me and my trophy.

As he stood in this thick spot, I examined my chance. If he continued on the same path he was facing, he would be well inside twenty yards of my stand in a moment. That position should offer me a good shot. That's my chance at him. If he turns, though, the opportunity would surely pass me by. It was as if he knew I was thinking about him, because he then started to move.

He picked up his heavy racked head and pranced out of the thicket. He was headed straight towards me. At 25 yards, he turned just enough to reveal his vitals, and to give me the chance to draw on him. When I pulled the bow up, and began my draw, the bow felt like thin air. It was an extension of my body. My draw was clean and smooth. I didn’t search to find my anchor point. Everything was solid. . I found the pin through the peep sight, and placed it right behind the left shoulder. I gave a slight whistle, and the giant stopped. I placed my pin directly behind his left shoulder, and gave a faint whistle. My giant stopped. My concentration was broken by the distinct sound of carbon shaft in flight. The next sound I heard was a sharp, distinctive "smack"!

The massive animal bucked his back feet hard against his stomach, then disappeared in a cloud of snow and mud. I watched as the giant ran into the thicket.

After nearly five minutes, he appeared from the other side, towards the timber. He was simply walking....stepping as if nothing had happened.

“How did I miss?” was the only question running through my mind. I stood there, watching him, as he headed toward the dark timbers of his home. It was as if he was trying to break my spirits. Was he mocking the fact that I had missed? How did I miss a mere eighteen yard, broadside shot? I knew my bow was dialed in and I knew the shot felt "perfect". How could this have happened?

I waited another half hour before getting down from my perch. I gathered my gear and headed to the where I had shot. I needed to find my arrow. I looked, but could find nothing. I decided to take the route the buck had taken, in case the hit was low. As soon as I got to the thickets, I found the arrow. It was covered in blood and meat. Good sign! I followed a thick blood trail until I got to the opening before the woods. This was the last place I had seen the giant. I found puddles of pinkish blood and I knew that he wasn’t going to be far away. Every hunter knows this is a sure sign of a lung hit deer. I made my way about 10 yards into the forest and there he was! He had piled up on an old log.

I couldn’t handle it! I ran to him, grabbing his massive tines! he was just as I had suspected......a damned good eleven pointer! My excitement was out of control! This was what it was all about. THIS is why my love for hunting grows more and more, through the years.

As I stood over this monster of a deer, I thought about how proud I felt to have taken such an animal. The honor of going head to head with the smartest animal in the woods....and winning....was bestowed upon me.

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from gillsnhorns wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I am a former U.S. Army Ranger from the 75th Ranger Rgt. I was out hunting whitetail with a friend and my uncle. All season long we have been seeing huge deer tracks with some bear tracks mixed in. One afternoon after lunch we picked where we wanted to set up our spots throughout this 100 acre property we were hunting. Mine happen to be the farthest away, not only that, through a massive 20 acre spread of 6 year old clear cut pines. This stuff is as thick as it gets, cant see more than 15 feet in any direction. As I was slinking into this stuff I stoped to listen, at that very moment, the biggest deer I have ever seen jumps up not 2 feet to my left and takes off ACCROSS me, not running the other way but runs directly across 18 inches in front of me. This thing scared me so bad it put me flat on my back. As I try to regain control of my bladder and gross motor function I let off two shots with no luck. So as the story goes with my buddies, they think the headlines should read; Combat proven Airborne Ranger gets owned by fury woodland creature. Yes I have made long shots, yes I missed a full grown deer at 2 yards with a shotgun. My uncle's 6 year old grandson said that it was a dragon deer because thats thing only things that could scare someone like me. Still havn't lived it down. At christmass they still sing Dakota got ran over by a reindeer.

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from MattyIce wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I've only been hunting for a few years now, but am I ever glad that I decided to start. I've had the pleasure of hunting a variety of game now, and to this I would have to credit my younger brother and my brother-in-law. For this story, I am going to focus on my most recent hunt, goose.
I had never been goose hunting before, but my brother-in-law has a group of friends that are very intense waterfowl hunters. I would be lying if I said that I did not envy their passion and excitement for goose. This group started the Pine Grove, PA Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and goes about everything the right way in order to preserve the habitat of waterfowl in our area, but they also scout and hunt the same waterfowl very hard. It's hard not to love their excitement. Anyway, I was very fortunate enough to be invited to one of their exclusive goose hunts.
It was a cool, crisp morning in September when we pulled into a field that had been getting hit very hard by the geese in the early morning and early evening. Unfortunately, the field we knew that we needed to hunt was freshly sprayed with manure the night before. Otherwise, this field was perfect. It was a quarter mile from a lake, and there were quality food sources all around us. We all went to work right away setting up decoys, and making sure that our blinds were literally undetectable. As the orange and pink of a September sunrise made its entrance, we sat there in our blinds knowing that we had done everything we could. We knew now that all we had left to do was hope that the geese would help us out.
We sat in our blinds with the visions of loud flocks passing through our field. I loaded my Benelli, and really struggled to control my excitement for the whole morning. Then, the moment came, at the same time all of us turned in the direction of the lake, heard the honking of a flock and said, "Geese up, close your blinds!" The intensity of this group of guys was once again, astonishing. The adrenaline in my system was racing like it has never been before.
I lay in my blind gripping my Benelli tight, straining my eyes to see where this flock might be. "How big is the flock? Where the hell are they? Over the tree line, here they come, stay down!" These orders were flying all over the place, and all I could think was, "damn, I love this!" It turned out that the flock had split and we had eight geese headed our way. The calls were crisp and vibrant, and our decoys were perfect. They made one pass over us, one of my friends says to my brother in law, "Next pass we look to shoot, Wolfgang it's your call." We continued to call, but not dare to move an inch until we knew the time was right.
I focused my eyes on those eight birds as if they were the last bit of food on this planet. I wanted nothing more than to take down all of them. I gripped my gun even tighter, my finger lightly on the safety, ready to take it off at a moment's notice. Then, just as we drew it up, the eight birds prepared to land in the hole between our decoys. My brother-in-law was heard loud and clear by all of us, "Take 'em!" We sprung up through our blinds, and our shots cracked and echoed through the valley. One by one, the geese fell. Our chambers were empty as we stood up in our blinds, one goose looks like it was going to attempt to fly away, my brother stood up calmly, loaded a shell, and said, "I got him." He steadied his aim, and from thirty-four yards made a clean kill.
We were fast and accurate and successful. All eight of the birds were lying in the field, and I had never been more excited in my life! It was such a rush, such a thrill! I could not wait to get back out with that group of guys again. That experience was all I needed to become hooked on the great sport of waterfowl hunting in eastern Pennsylvania.

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from horseman308 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

During the muzzle-loading season of 2004, I killed my first deer at my family’s farm in Middle Tennessee. While I’d been hunting deer for about four years, I’d never yet connected and felt like a rookie. I was hunting with my father on the last day of the week-long season. We left to go into the woods at about 5:45 that morning and made our way heading to the end of a field where a stand was hung in the small grove of trees. The stand faced a wide creek, with a cleared alley along the length of the grove, between the trees and the creek.

At about 6:40, I took out a pair of antlers and began rattling, then set them down and waited. I didn’t have to wait long. Within five minutes, I heard a step on my left and looked down. A deer had crossed the open field behind my back and slipped through the grove. Now, it stood 30 yards to my left at the edge of the alley, its head down and obscured by several branches. Adrenaline started to pump, and I could hardly breathe. Then it raised its head, and the branches moved. It was a buck! I couldn’t tell exactly how many points there were but having a rack was good enough for me. I reached for the .50 flintlock longrifle my father had given me for Christmas, which was laid across my knees, and pulled back the hammer with a faint click. That noise startled the buck, and he looked up, turned away, and loped off. I’d blown my chance at a great first deer in the form of a nice buck. Thankfully he stopped after only 10 yards, turned back and looked around. He gave me a great quartering away shot, at about 40-50 yards. Adrenaline was pumping, blood was pounding in my ears, and time came to a dead stop.

Here, all my practice from a lifetime of shooting took over. As I lined the sights of the longrifle just behind his right shoulder, all of the adrenaline and nervousness was gone. What was left was automatic. I took a breath, let a little out, and squeezed the trigger. I’d kept my priming dry and my flint sharp. The lock flashed, immediately followed in a tenth of a second by the main charge, and I absorbed the recoil back into my shoulder. Then I heard that deer tear through the brush, splash across the creek, and climb up the bank on the other side. I couldn’t see a thing through the thick smoke, but I was sure I’d missed.

He’d still gotten away. 50 yards, nearly broadside, and I’d missed. I don’t know what I had expected to happen when I fired, and I knew that deer usually run when hit, but I still wasn’t actually prepared for it to happen. The next thought was that I needed to make sure. The adrenaline had come back with the firing of the shot, and now my inexperience showed. Moving down the ladder seemed to take forever. I ran over to where he had been standing and looked closely, and saw nothing. My heart sank.

I took a deep breath and began to reload. My hands were shaking as I fumbled for the powder measure, fumbled for patch and ball, fumbled with the ramrod. I finally got the new charge loaded and primed the pan. Looking carefully, I saw where he charged through the brush and judged where he would have come up on the other side of the bank. I ran to a crossing at the creek about 50 yards from where he was standing when I fired. I didn’t bother looking in the creek or the near side because I heard him exit on the other bank. I planned to circle and start from where he would have topped out off of the bank. I crossed the creek, ran up around a trail and had to backtrack about 50 yards back through an overgrown clearing to get to where I needed to start. As I picked through the grass, I saw Dad walking my direction from where he had been stationed overlooking the other end of the field. And then I looked down. Not 10 yards past the top of the bank, laying on his side was the buck. I hadn’t missed! He had just enough energy and life to cross the creek and climb the steep bank, but that was it.

There really are not words to accurately describe the feeling that passed over me as I knelt next to him - overwhelming joy that I had finally done what I set out to for the past four years; sadness that it required the death of a magnificent creature. Those who haven’t ever hunted or killed something probably won’t understand what it means to me. It was the solidifying of my beliefs that God has given this earth and its natural resources to us, not only to use, but to care for, and perhaps more importantly to be uplifted by and to remind us of His wondrous skill and love. It shows me that if I am to continue to live on the earth, I must do my part to properly use and conserve nature, and participate wisely in its cycles.

Dad and I stood quietly over that deer for a moment. Then he hugged me and I saw a lot of pride in his eyes. The buck had eight points. His mount now hangs in the gun-room at the cabin to remind me of that morning. This first deer will always be of the most special, no matter how many more I kill. The hunt where I took a nice buck with the rifle my father gave me, while hunting together with him is one of my favorite memories of my life.

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from Stunner wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My brother and I experienced the loss of our father early. I was 10, he was 8. My dad was a fisherman through and through, but I'd never heard him even mention hunting. He had grown close to my mother's older brother, an avid hunter of all winged things, in addition to deer and antelope.
As I began my teenage years, I spent an increasing amount of time with my uncle: he taught me how to fish the river, how to shoot a shotgun, how to drive his finicky old '82 Bronco on a long forgotten and narrow dirt road, and a proper respect for the great privilege of being miles from civilization. Even before he was old enough to hunt, my brother accompanied us into the middle of nowhere. He'd often play the navigator and direct us to where the yellowed maps had little birds scribbled across the terrain.
Over the next few years, we all got our fair share of dove, quail, chukar, and pheasant. My uncle had long insinuated that ducks were the penultimate sport of a high desert shotgunner. But as girls, school, sports, and teenage laziness crept in to our lives it seemed like the mythical duck hunting trip would never happen.
My first and only duck trip is burned in to my brain. It was blistering cold. I was not at all thrilled about being there, and I took it out on my brother by immasculating his preferred use of a 4-10. When the sun crept over the horizon, my mood improved slightly, but the ducks were few and far between. We all sat in silence in a dingy boat while trying not to anger my generous uncle.
We hadn't seen anything fly by in nearly 2 hours and were ready to pack it in for a morose ride back home when a straggling team of ducks came over a ridge. The heavy silence in our boat made the air colder. My brother shifted himself into position and sneered at me. He waited long past what I would have considered a perfect moment to squeeze. He fired once. Before the sound had the time to dissipate, I scoffed at him. But then I heard a splash.
It took half an hour to find my brother's duck. He held it up like a gold medal and gave me the finger. I was amazed rather than offended: there appeared to be no holes in his kill! We inspected it as thoroughly as we could as my uncle motored us to shore. It wasn't until were 45 minutes down the highway that my brother picked a single golden BB out of the base of the head of the duck. My uncle expressed incredulity as to the serendipity of the shot, considering how wide the pattern must have been by the time it hit the duck's airspace.
That night, my brother ate his trophy like a king. He didn't share. And he set the singular lucky BB on the table like a badge of honor. He keeps it in a small acrylic fly box on his computer desk to this day.
We've not been back out for the ducks since. He's convinced that I'm intimidate by his self proclaimed prowess with a 4-10. I tell him it's because I'm averse to the cold, but he might be right.

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from jordjohn44 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

It was my birthday, the first day I was legally aloud to hunt whitetail deer in the U.P. of Michigan. It was already three days into season. Since my birthday was not until November 18, I had to sit out the first three days of the season and wait with great anticipation. Things weren't looking too good at Camp Bald Squirrel this year. This was the first year that I could remember that no one had shot a buck on opening day. Not only that, but nobody had shot a deer in the first three days of season.
Finally, my time had come to participate in the hunt. I woke up bright and early on my birthday, about six o'clock. My father took me to his blind with him and got me situated. After I was settled in, he left to hunt another area hoping for some luck since his blind had produced nothing the first three days. The sun was just starting to rise when I saw it. The monster 7-point buck reared its head over the hill straight in front of me. I didn't know what to do so I just sat and waited. Eventually it made its way to the bait pile where I had a 40 yard shot. I raised my rifle and took a deep breath. I took my shot and dropped the monster right on the pile.
My dad had been gone for no more than 15 minutes at this point and I heard him promptly over the walkie-talkie asking what I was doing. I explained everything to him and he came over to the blind to see the buck. He was astonished. What was most surprising is that I hit the deer clean through the heart. It was my birthday buck on my first hunt ever. My father was never more proud.

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from Skeeb wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Well, I was hunting alone one day on the outskirts of a new food plot. After about 6 hours of seeing nothing, I asked my dad to put on a drive for me. That lasted about an hour with no deer coming towards me. When my dad got to me, I told him that I had a good feeling about a spot about a mile away. He said OK and just as we were about to leave, he told me, "you know what, park your ass right here, were spending the rest of the day here." And wouldn't you know it, 5 minutes after he said that, I got my first buck. It was only a spike but still, it was the first deer that he actually saw me kill. So now, we both have that memory which wil stay with us both until the end.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I started this rifle season like many before. My focus was on filling my elk and mule deer tags during the month of October. I was waiting to funnel my efforts on whitetail during the rut of November. This year was going to be different due to an extended season in the unit I hunt. Instead of the season ending on the 20th of November, I would now have until December 1st to hunt whitetail. The extra days at the end of the season were falling during the peak and post rut. This had me excited, for my odds would be better at crossing paths with a bruiser buck. The other advantage would be that since the season continued through Thanksgiving, we would be bringing up friends and family to have our turkey dinner with us in the wall tents. This sounded like a better way to spend quality time with them anyway, without having the distraction of the television and phones in the background.
We set up camp on the 15th as I planned on hunting a few days here and there, then hunting the whole week around Thanksgiving. Most years we have had great success around the 17th of November, but this year we had the misfortune of clear skys and a near full moon which sent the deer into their nocturnal mode, making hunting difficult. I did manage to call in several decent bucks, none of which were big enough to fill my tag with this early in the season. I had one 5×5 in particular that was kind enough to pose for my camera as I debated on taking him with my revolver since he was only 20 yards away. I decided to let him walk since he had a couple of broken tines.
I hit the deer hunting hard the week of Thanksgiving. There seemed to be more hunting pressure this year than in years past so the hunting was tough. With the downward spiral in the economy, more people were out to put meat in the freezer. Some of our local sawmill workers and loggers were laid off from work, and the majority of these guys are die hard hunters. Without work they headed for the hills.
Most years we can count on a good dusting of snow in mid to late November which seems to get the deer moving. This concentrates them in the lower elevations, but this year the weather never really did us any favors. We were not blessed with getting to chase the mountain bucks in the snow.
The evening before Thanksgiving I ventured out of my normal hunting grounds to a higher elevation in an attempt to get away from areas hit hard by other hunters. I was walking down an old logging road,working my way back from the clear cuts before dark when I heard a deer blow and start running towards the road through the timber. Like an idiot I waited to raise my rifle until I could see what the deer looked like. By the time it registered that it was a very large buck, he was already across the road and headed out through the dark timber. After messing up on this buck due to my picky ways, I decided it was getting late enough in the season to stop looking for the bruiser and start thinking about actually tagging.
The morning of Thanksgiving I returned to the same spot where I had made a bad decision the night before. As I approached the location where I had stood, I once again heard deer blow and start running towards the road. I back peddled a couple of steps to expose a clear shooting lane, I then put my crosshairs where I thought the deer would go. While looking through my Burris rifle scope I saw doe after doe. I finally spotted horns, and let a shot go from my Tikka .243. I thought for a minute that I may have shot low! I began to look for blood, hair, or any other sign of a connecting shot. I didn’t spot any blood but could clearly see the bucks tracks, so I followed them. After about 45 yards I could see the buck ahead of me where he lay over a downed cedar. Upon my approach I could see he was not the large buck from the night before. He ended up being a smaller horned 4×4 with a couple of broken tines. He was an older deer. I could tell he was on his downhill slide as far as antlers go, but he definitely was the scrapper of the area by looking at his broken tines, tore up hide, and other signs of battle.
In short order I had the buck back to my vehicle and loaded up. I was a little disappointed that he was not the buck I had seen the previous day. I have a problem with shooters remorse. I love the hunt so much that I hate to see it end. My mood started changing on the way back to camp while thinking about sharing my experience with friends and family over our wonderful turkey dinner. This has been a tough year for alot of people in our area. I at least had one thing to be thankful for on this day, and it was hanging on the meat pole at the edge of camp.
It was my Thanksgiving buck!

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from BioGuy wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Title: Not Forgiven

SNAP! The silence of the crisp autumn morning was broken. My heart began to race as I slowly turned my head in the direction of the sound. A flicker of movement in a distant stand of beach whips confirmed that a deer was in my hunting area.

With the question of whether or not I was looking at a buck still to be answered, I slowly raised my binoculars to take a look. My body, which was shivering from the cold 30 degree air, became rock solid as I peered through the optics.

An antler tine! "Now we're in business," I thought to myself. It was a beautiful 9 point with a branched G2 on the right side, a buck that I had named, "9-ball." My stand was located about 25 yards down wind from a heavily used stream crossing on a deer trail that went from an old apple orchard to a thicket where I the does liked to bed down in the afternoon. It was the first stand location I had ever picked on my own, and this would be the first buck I would harvest from it if I could get a shot.

With each footfall my heart raced more, my breathing was more difficult to control, and the shivering became more intense. It was 30 degrees and I was starting to sweat! "The fever," as some call it, had taken over my body, but I was determined to fight back.

As the buck walked behind a tree truck at 30 yards, I clipped my release to the bow string and came to full draw. "Five more yards and I'll have my shot!" I silently exclaimed. As I began to line up my shot, he took two more steps and came to a dead stop just short of my cleared shooting lane. Something had his attention. "Did the wind change? What is he looking at?"

I caught movement in the corner of my eye. "OH NO! COYOTE!" Old 9-ball got one good look at that coyote and high tailed it out of there. As for the coyote, it loped along on its merry way and also never presented a shot. To this day, it is not forgiven for scaring my buck, but I do cherish the memory it created.

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from critter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

This day had consumed our minds throughout a summer that seemed to never end—long days spent working in the hot sun, squinting against the sting and grit of the sweat that dripped in our eyes and seemed to saturate our very souls—but it was finally here. We weren’t just going hunting, we were going elk hunting, and as each mile of asphalt whined under the truck tires, we could feel our spirits slowly lift, much as a wilted flower slowly rises after a summer shower.
This would be my eighth consecutive season without an elk tag to call my own, but each fall at least one of my buddies had drawn some sort of elk tag, and I had had been able to live vicariously through them. This season was tinged with a little more excitement than usual—my longtime archery hunting buddy had drawn a coveted either-sex archery tag for an area that I knew well.
My buddy and I--let’s call him John, since I’m telling the story and can control such things—have been hunting together since David E. Petzal’s beard contained a color other than white, and it had been his life’s dream to take an elk with a bow on public land. We’re often fondly referred to as “the two idiots” by our wives, as our outdoor adventures usually take a drastic turn for the worst—misadventures, we call them—but we unfailingly enjoy ourselves immensely and sometimes even build a little character in the process, though not so much that anyone notices.
We arrived at camp to discover that not only was it raining, but John had left the tent in the garage. Cursing him under my breath while getting the breakfast supplies ready for morning, I suddenly realized that I had left the coffee pot on the kitchen table. The tent was a forgivable offense, but I had just committed the ultimate sin, and was sure I would pay dearly. I was right—that night we crammed into the cab of the truck, and I did not sleep at all save for a brief nightmare containing Michael Moore, tofu, and a Toyota Prius, though not necessarily in that order.
By the time daylight broke we were glassing a basin for elk, and the world was right again. Unfortunately for us, it seemed that the storm had put the animals down, as we were not seeing any fresh sign nor hearing the euphoric ring of bugles. After six hours, we had seen many miles of prime elk country but only the butts of two mule deer and approximately two million squirrels. We decided to spend the evening at a little seep located in a small meadow hemmed by aspens. As daylight was almost gone, I noticed a couple of cows trickling down along the tree line. Ten minutes later it was so dark that we couldn’t see the elk anymore, even though they were no more than a hundred yards away. We had almost made it back to the truck—nearly a whole day without misadventure--when John realized that he had left his bow back where we had been sitting.
Much to our delight we got a hard freeze the second night, and the refrigerated air smelled of snow as we headed to the seep. Around noon, while we held a whispered strategy session, John had idly picked up a twig and was snapping it between his fingers when a bugle erupted from the dark timber a few hundred yards uphill. After determining that it was in fact an elk and not a hunter (as sometimes happens on public land) we got set up to call. The bull and I had a brief discussion in cow talk, and it became apparent to me that the things he wanted to do would have to take place in his bedroom in the dark timber.
It took us about an hour to go two hundred yards, but we caught up to the bull. The timber was so thick that I literally had to lie on my side to see underneath the branches, and even then I could only see five of the bull’s legs (make that four, I forgot this was the rut). He was starting to get a bit peeved that the cow wasn’t coming, and finally began to few work our way. For once John and I acted as if we knew what we were doing—the bull walked through the only shooting lane, I cow called to stop him, and I heard the thwack as the arrow hit home. The bull trotted slowly into the timber, and John and I did our own slightly awkward celebration dances followed by an attempted conversation consisting of hand signals and gestures that would have made a mime dizzy.
After leaving the bull for a couple hours, we started the follow up. Initially the blood trail was easy to follow, but it disappeared after a hundred yards. Soon we followed on our hands and knees until we lost blood all together and relied on fresh tracks in the rain-soaked earth. It was into the dark hours of the morning before we found the bull where died, almost curled up in his last bed like a dog, looking almost peaceful, his heavy 6x6 rack glistening with frost. We had not rested in almost twelve hours, had eaten very little, and were footsore and thirsty. Many times throughout the trail we had thought of giving up, of going home to a warm bed and a cold beer, that we couldn’t possibly be tracking the same bull, but something inside us had refused to accept that fact that such a magnificent creature could die without being celebrated. This was our reward, and we leaned our backs against the old bull, dozing briefly before starting the arduous job of field dressing, I could hear John muttering a sleepy thank you prayer to a sky filled with a million stars.

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from ckRich wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Opening morning of the 1999 Oklahoma deer gun season found me sitting in a ground blind, nestled among the few trees that are atop the pond dam on my grandparent’s ranch. After setting me in the stand about 45 minutes before daylight, Grandpa departed with a word of encouragement and last second lecture on safety. His stand was about 800 yards to my rear, overlooking a well traveled fence line. When the sun came up I would be able to see Dad’s hunter orange vest and hat nestled between some hay bales in the corner of his favorite wheat patch, some 650 yards to my left. This was to be my first season to sit alone, all grown up at the tender age of fourteen.

Dawn brought the sounds of distant rifle shots. My head was on a swivel, slowly searching the area around me for any signs of life. Thirty minutes passed as my eyes adjusted to the increasing light, I found myself staring intently at a tree that I SWORE had moved and nearly jumped out of my skin when a rifle sounded nearby. I looked up just in time to see a deer topple over at a full run in front of Dad! Alright, the deer are here! I sit up straight, heart beating ninety miles an hour, images running through my mind of how that big booner will look in my crosshairs! Bring ‘em on!

Two hours later and I haven’t seen a thing. Not even a coyote. Oh, I saw a squirrel about an hour ago but figured the .30-30 was a bit overkill for it. I’ve had to watch as Dad loaded his deer on the back of the truck and then drove by, waving and smiling, horns gleaming in the sun. I know it’s still early but I’ve gotta go see what he got. Besides, I’m bored and the sun is slightly in my eyes… I head to the house.

After looking over the nice eight point, and receiving a thorough butt chewing from Dad for leaving the stand early, I finally settle down with a cup of coffee. Dad and I are sitting in the dining room, watching the wheat field behind the house. As I get up to refill my mug, I am stopped mid-rise when I hear “DON’T MOVE.” Confused, I stare at Dad and wonder how and why he was suddenly whispering with all the authority of a range master, and how much more of this butt chewing I was going to have to endure before I could get some more coffee. “There’s a deer, RIGHT THERE,” he whispers while nodding his head toward the window.

It feels like I’m in the spotlight now, seeing as sitting in a room with 180 degrees of windows probably doesn’t serve as the best deer blind. Ever so slowly, I turn my head to face the window and sure enough, there’s something big, brown, and with four legs about seventy-five yards behind the house. My rifle is in the garage just ten steps away, but right now I’m frozen in the gaze of a spike that seems to have the staring abilities of a housecat. After what seems like a good five minutes, but in all reality was probably more like five seconds, the deer goes back to eating with a twitch of his tail.

From behind me I hear a low hiss of “COME ON!!” Dad’s already halfway to the garage, adeptly displaying how to miss every creaking floorboard along the way. I, on the other hand, throw restraint to the wind and sprint to catch up, my oversized teenage feet tripping over every chair and rug along the way. By the time I untangle myself and reach the garage, Dad has already got my rifle loaded and is halfway out the back door looking for a suitable rest. He grabs a short length of ten inch steel pipe and rolls it into position. Being just a little excited and overcharged with adrenaline, I belly flop into the sticker patch behind the rest and pull the rifle to my shoulder. I’m breathing so hard I feel like I’ve just run a marathon, the never ending stream of advice that Dad is depositing directly into my ear barely registering in my brain. I find the deer in my scope, ear the hammer back and find the sweet spot with the crosshairs. Hold and squeeze, I repeat in my mind. Hold and squeeze, hold and sque… BOOM! For the first time ever, I am able to keep my eye open and watch for impact. By impact, I mean that spike dropping in his tracks!

In the years since I have had some memorable hunts, but none will ever compare to or stand as clearly in my mind as taking my first deer.

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from rmb5110 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The Weekend of the Black Hare.

The trip all started and from Ryan Becker’s house, we were supposed to be there for 6:30, but Josh didn’t get there till 7:30. We then made the trip up to Peggy Hood’s house, with Mike Johnson, Mike Frantz, Josh Herring, myself (Louie Burger) and Ryan Becker, all stuffed in one truck like sardines and didn’t get there till three in the morning.

When we woke up the first morning to hunt it was solid ice on the roads and raining, it wasn’t pretty. First jump of the morning we had a split. Mike Frantz got a shot at the one and missed it. When they brought the second one around it was black and Larry Papineau shot it. I was one jump away. When Larry shot it we all thought he had shot himself, he was yelling and screaming. I walked over to see it and sure enough it was black. We continued to hunt the first day and Mike Frantz got one, Jeremy Flanders got one, Mike Johnson shot at two and missed, with five shots. I also got one, before the weekend was over we would all get one. We had good running for the day and dogs stayed up pretty easy, and we ended up with four. Oh, and Josh Herring slept on the couch all day with the sniffles.

On the second day of the hunt, the first hare we got wasn’t till noon. Larry was kind of tweaked and wanted to switch up some dogs; since we had a couple young one’s down with Chewy. The dogs then got a jump and Mike Frantz told him to hold on, that Chewy would bring it around. And who did he bring it to, Larry himself. He missed with five shots, and then Chewy ran it to Ryan Becker. Ryan shot twice, killed the hare and blew up the end of his gun barrel.

We then got to the truck and Larry picked the dogs to run the rest of the day, Chewy Tucker and Timber, and they really put on a show, ran six hare to the gun in under four hours, wounded another and ran it to a den tree. The hare won.

Larry Papineau and Jeremy Flanders were our guides and we really have to thank them for all they did for us. Every spot they took us to had plenty of game. All in all running was good for the weekend and ended up with eleven hare over the weekend. The snow was deep, and soft in some spots. First day we stayed up, but the second day we sank like a (bugger). And all of the boys decided, Chewy got the blue ribbon for the weekend.

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from zach94 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I went black bear huntin in wyoming not to long ago. Me and my twin brother both killed a black bear. He had a black bear mine was a cinnamon black bear if you wanna see pictures you can go to my profile and look. if you ever wanted a really good expirience and a fun time i would suggest hunting bear. I got a huge rush watching that bear in the woods. also there is some really good fishing. we caught some really nice cut throat trout there to.

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from TM wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I woke early today. After a cup of coffee, I put on old hunting boots and pants, and grabbed the new gear. I spent too much money on it, but so it goes.

I packed shells, slugs, water, and my new rifled deer barrel.

I drove for an hour to my family's land. It's 120 acres of wonderful woodland - an old farm reclaimed by nature. During the spring and summer, I visit only for chores - posting, cutting, mowing, digging. Fall brings the rewards of the work, the harvest of labor.

This morning was clear and sunny. A breeze that told me a storm was on its way, but that I had time for a few hours in the woods. As I entered the property, a large doe ran 10 yards in front of my car. The maples have just begun to change. The colors aren't bright yet. They won't be for several weeks, but fall is crisp in the morning air.

I attached the rifled barrel to my 870. It's new and I was eager to test it. Two shots at 50 yards right in the middle of a small paper box. I paced another 25 yards and put another one just below the first two. I look forward to November.

I put on an orange vest, and attached the upland barrel. I walked past the pond and wondered how to rig my decoys and whether I'll have time to build a blind.

I walked through the old orchard and saw no grouse. Songbirds fled as I paced through the poplar stand, noticing how it's grown in. I startled one nice doe, and then another. Her white tail flipped up as she zigged and zagged and hopped into a stand of pines.

Three deer and no grouse, isn't that always the way? Come November, the opposite will be true for sure. At least it always seems that way. Impatience accompanies hunting, especially early in the season.

If I don't get around to the duck blind this year, maybe I'll build a new stand in the poplars. I'd better get going, the season will be here before you know it. But who has time?

I packed the car. No grouse flushed, one box killed. A light rain began to fall.

I took the long way home, down the country roads rather than the highway. I stopped at my favorite diner for a burger and thought about the hunt. I smiled. It's going to be a good season.

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from Salvatore wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Memories and Place

I have two memories that keep overlapping. One is of a young boy holding onto the antlers of his fist big buck along a hidden mountain stream deep in West Virginia. And the other is not quite as old, it is of two young men, myself and my good friend.
I was thinking of those two memories as I set up camp along a cold mountain stream. As I picked up my bow, I felt like I was drifting back into the first of those two memories, back with my father.
My second memory was of my friend and myself taking a trip into the wilderness. We drove through the night, and arrived at our destination early the next morning ready for anything. After about 3 trips from my jeep to our newly discovered campsite to unload our supplies, we started to set up. We had not come here to do simply nothing, we had come here for the whitetail. Not any size in particular, but any wild deer in the untouched and undiscovered wilderness is natures definition of perfection. I had come here for the hunt and to spend time with a friend, but I had also come here for a more personal reason.
The crystal clear water and forests colored white with fresh powder were postcard material. By day, we sat quietly in our tree stands amongst the 300 foot trees, and put a stalk on some nice bucks over the top of mountains and past a frozen waterfall. At night, we sat on soft moss eating some grilled trout we had caught straight from the stream, sipping our sour mash whiskey, and listening to the far off howls of the night. We had driven to the trail head through the mountain valleys that now seemed decades behind us. All this seemed so familiar, but still strangely distant, for I had been here before, this was the place of my fist memory.
Four years earlier I had come to this place with my father. I had suppressed that memory. I took a sip of coffee and watched an eagle cruise up the stream with his white cape gleaming brightly in the morning sun. Something was different here, I felt it and I wanted to know why. Then it hit me, as I gazed out over the silence, I felt the answer floating just beyond my reach. It wasn't what was here that was different, it's what wasn't here. My father was what was missing. There was no guidance like before, the echos of his voice were disappearing like howls from the night. There were no other people here, just the distant memories of those like me and my father.
As I lay there on the moss of that hemlock forest and ate the firm red meat of the big 12 point buck I had killed earlier in the day, I realized that in the last few days I had found the connection that I hadn't looked for in the three and a half years since my father had passed. I breathed in the warm smell of the wild venison and thick wood smoke and thought about my two memories. The first will always remain a part of who I am, but the second I see differently now.
Now in my memory, that deep forest in West Virginia is more than a place where I once hunted or fished. It is a land of century old trees, rocks form the basement of time, winding streams, and wild whitetail and trout. More importantly, it is also a place where my two memories have finally become one.

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from jktaylor11 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The feeling you get when you hit a home run is, in my mind the equivalent to killing a beautiful Eastern longbeard. I was a junior in high school, and like most young men my age, I had two major interests in my life: baseball and hunting. The day was a Friday, Good Friday to be specific, and the high school I attended had dismissed us students from class for the entire day. However, Coach Crafton, our head baseball coach, had decided that practice for that day would go on as usual, and of course it was mandatory. He gave us different times frames we could sign up for to take batting practice and throw a short bullpen session. Knowing that spring turkey season would not last much longer, I signed up for the mid-day session. This way I would be able to hunt from sun up to mid-morning, go to practice and hit a few meatballs, then head back out to my gobbler paradise. After about 50 pitches in the bullpen and as many repetitions in the batting cage, I set out on a 12 mile journey back to my house and out to my honey hole. My dad, an avid turkey hunter and the man who talked me into skipping space camp in favor of turkey hunting (I did kill a turkey that morning, by the way), had decided to lace up his Rocky's and join me in hopes of bagging the gobbler of my life. About 25 yards away from the hay field we consistently saw turkey in, a lone longbeard was feeding on a mix of fescue and Dallas grasses. We were able to stalk him without being detected, and five minutes later I was walking back to my house with a trophy Eastern longbeard and a another interesting hunting story to go with my others.

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

When I got my first elk God was on my side. After 2 years of not seeing anything in our yearly elk hunting spot, I was very happy to see elk the opening day of elk season in 2008. Randy, My dad and I got up on a very cold day at 5:30 AM. Trust me it wasn't very fun. But I had elk in my head so that was what got me motivated. We hiked up a ridge called Indian Ridge, when we got to the top we didn't see anything. At this I was a little mad and it put my spirits down. So Randy went back to camp to start breakfast, while my dad any I kept hunting. We just climbed Teepee Ridge (the next ridge up), and stopped to take a break, when all of a sudden my dad spots three bull elk. SO we take off further up the ridge to pursue them. When we made it to the top, I saw a lone bull just starring at us. As I put my crosshairs on him he takes off even further up the ridge. So we take off after him. After running for about 200 yards, we see six bulls crossing the ridge. So we kneel down and start shooting. I hit my bull several times with my .308 but it didn't knock him down. Mean while my dad wounded his elk. So he gave me his .300 Win Mag and I finished off my elk in the neck at 300 yards while he was running. After an extensive search my dad couldn't find his. But I think it was one of the greatest moments of my life, being able to shoot an elk with my dad, and having God on our sides to give me that second chance at my first elk.

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from tskive wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My First Day of Deer Camp-
Ever since I was a little tyke I can remember going to deer camp. My step-dad has a large cabin that is on our hunting property and every year him and a dozen or so of his friends would gather there for the opening week. My brother and I loved to go over there, it was filled large, hairy men, amazing mounts from around the country, and some of the best food you will find anywhere. We would sit around the stove while the old men drank moonshine, and we would listen to them tell one lie after the other. After the a few hours we were forced (very much against our will) to go back home for the night. My brother and I would always talk long into the night about the places that we would go hunting and the monster bucks we would tag.
Fast-forward several years; i am 17 and would this year be allowded to stay at the cabin and hunt with the men. I believe that it was a Thursday night, but the Michigan politicians finally did one thing right and school was cancelled for the next day to celebrate opening day(as it should be all around the country, and for every season's opening day). A neighbor with a cabin near ours had put up a blind on the property line, which as far as everyone there was concerned amounted to stealing deer. To top it off My two does were found dead during archery season with the neighbors arrows in them. He had not even taken the time to track them after he shot them. After this news was related to all that were present, there was a rare, angry silence. Then my uncle had a brilliant idea.
There was about 20 bags of leaves in the back of my truck (that my brother and I had been forced to rake) and my uncle thought that he could find a good use for them. We all got lanterns and decided to dish out a little vigilante justice. Let's just say that our naighbor would find it hard to hunt in the morning with most of the leaves that had been raked up now residing in his blind.
To me the that was the best part of the hunt, but ranking right up there in second place was the beautiful six-pointer that I shot about 20 minutes after shooting light. I like to think that I was being rewarded for foiling the shooting (yes, shooting I don't think of him as a true hunter) of a so-called sportsman.

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from Shellcracker wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

North Florida, December, 40 degrees after an overnight rain. Me and my buddies are on a late season hog hunt in a wildlife refuge that is every part of "Old Florida" as you can get filled with cane breaks, pine, live oaks hanging with spanish moss and plenty of palmetto. We see huge areas of wallows and hog sign everywhere, yet, where are the hogs? We follow fresh tracks out to the edge of a marsh on the Gulf of Mexico and see a bulldozed section of sawgrass but then it goes back into the swamp. No hogs. The side of a palm tree has a few large claw marks from a black bear about 6 feet up. We pause and look. Walking on, we kick up an 8 point buck that jumps about 25 yards away. We sit motionless and he does too, looking at us out of the side of his vision. He is breathing heavey as are we. We all wait, frozen for several seconds. Then he bolts. We exchange conversation then continue on, following a clear stream and find a limestone spring river with sheepshead in it what must have washed in during the last tropical storm. My friend tells the story of a spearpoint he found here last spring on a turkey hunt. We continue following the trail, passing some rabbit hunters who exchange some conversation and eventually find spots to put up evening stands. I get in a pine with tusk marks on it and one of my buddies climbs up a fallen oak not far away. We sit and wait. A doe charges through, 40 yards away, my heart beats. I wait for a group of hogs to charge through at any second. Then I see it. A blaze orange shirt and a yahoo stalking through the woods, right under our stands. Its one of our buddies. He had been stand hunting earlier elsewhere in the county and had a bear try to get in his tree so he left and happened to drive to our area for a late afternoon "swamp stomp". We all get out of the stands, share a laugh or two then head down the road in the trucks for some beers and barbecue. No trophy hog or other crazy story. Just a great day hunting with friends in a beautiful place.

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from geogymn wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Opening day of deer season always falls on a Monday. That's been somewhat bothersome on account of work, this year there was an added dimension. A man dreams of the first day of hunting with his son or daughter. Not sure if it's for selfish reasons or the desire to turn someone on to this mystical journey that washes away the turmoils of the humdrum struggle of existence. It is more than me "wanting" to show them this escape, I feel the "need" to include them on this intimacy with nature .So as the day approached one might think "what's the problem, let him take the day off from school", but there are other opposing forces to be dealt with. Justin is not a "school" person, he doesn't see the use of that game and his grades reflect it. Society dictates that he goes to school, whilst my long ago study of Thoreau encouraged me to listen to that other drum. Well anyway, the dilemma existed but hunting prevailed with the stipulation that he makes his 12:00 math class for a very "important" test.
Justin and I were situated in the Trojan horse well before daybreak. We were well equipped with all the necessities readied the night before. As we sipped on hot chocolate, from the thermos that is usually reserved for coffee, I laid out the spectrum of where he could safely shoot if a deer were to appear. We reflected on certain things that seem to be voiced more easily on a dark cold early morning. We traded philosophies, neither one of us claiming that the other's was inferior. It was then I realized how indoctrinated I was to even consider not letting him hunt on this fine morn.
At 8:00 I started to feel the constraints of time. Justin needs to be off the hill by 11:00, I needed to make something happen. I decided to put on a drive. Hunting this farm for such a long time gives our group a clear picture of where the deer "might" be bedded. I planned to hit a likely spot with the aim of pushing the deer towards the novice hunter. As it turns out my assumption was correct and I kick up seven deer. At this point I'm at the bottom of the ravine, 100 vertical feet from the rim, the rim which is downhill from Justin, about a third of a mile away. That’s when I heard the barrage, five consecutive shots and then an addition report. One doesn't laugh out loud when alone very often but this was one of those times. A hunter viewing me from the side of that ravine would of thought of me a lunatic. I knew from the direction and range that it was Justin shooting and he was shooting a lot, too much, a family trait. All the talk about aiming and making the first shot count is forgotten in the heat of battle.
I sprinted out of that ravine like a 20-year-old to try to see what was happening. It's then I hear Justin over the walkie-talkie, "Dad, I just missed an eight pointer, six times, it was really close". You must understand that Justin's gun only holds five shells, so he had to reach into his fanny pack, open a box of shells, reload the gun, and he was still able to take another shot at this deer. In his excitement he missed an easy shot, I can't count the times that I've done the same. And it's always funny when some else goes down that road. During his tirade of trying to explain what happened he abruptly stops and states, "Dad, there is another deer about 60 yards away but I think it's too small too shoot". Immediately a friend and I simultaneously scream over the talkies," SHOOT". At this point I have the binoculars trained on Justin, 250 yard away in the stand. I stood there watching as he took a nice wide stance whilst using the rail as an armrest, taking careful aim. I watching for what seems an eternity repeating a mantra to myself "shoot, shoot, shoot''. Finally he let's one fly and reports that he scored. It was a button buck, still counts. I ask him what took him so long to shoot, he replies, obviously painfully aware of his just missed opportunity "I wasn't about to miss this one".
Justin did make it to school on time satisfying society and he also caught the fever. He will be hunting for that missed 8pt. buck the rest of his life. To achieve this goal he will have to enter the woods and slow down, something that one can never get enough of.

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from cheussner wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

One Duck Limit
In July of 1999 I got a six week old black lab pup and immediately began training her. By November I was at the stage where I felt she was ready to sit in a blind and get used to “staying” while I practiced calling, not to mention it was also the opening morning of the Missouri duck season and I didn’t want to miss it nor could I bring my self to leave her home. I took a .410 just in case one came close; I thought this would keep me from getting too excited and shooting too much because at this time it was the loudest gun I shot in front of her. The flight was few and far between, but after an hour and a half I did have a Gadwall set in for a landing about 15 yards in front of us. I could not resist the shot and was surprisingly successful. Sammy watched the duck fold about 10 feet in front of the blind hitting the water with a hard splash. Because of the excellent training job I did on her (or maybe it was just out of curiosity) she ventured out into the water and instincts took over. She sniffed the duck for a while and finally made her first ever retrieve. I may have only taken one duck that day, but I was happier and had more fun than if I had taken a limit of mallards. Ten years later Sammy and I still anxiously await the opening morning to spend time together at waters edge and each retrieve reminds me of when she was a spindled legged pup retrieving our one duck limit.

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from wiegs1992 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Big Buck Moment
During the 2008 bow season i had set my stand in what i thought was the perfect location. I always went hunting with my dad but this day was the first day i was gonna be able to go by myself. I was so pumped and ready for a good day of hunting. It was November 8th, a saturday morning and my field and stream magazine had recommened to hunt this day. It was perfect, and the middle of the rut. So the game was on. I got into my stand about half an hour before sun rise, just enough time to get settled in and for the woods to settle down. It was a little windy but it was in the perfect direction. I was waiting and it seemed like forever till shooting time came around. Then the time came and not five minutes after time a nice 8 point buck rustled in the leaves not 20 yards behind me. I got my bow, stood up, and waited for him to walk behind a tree. I drew back and he walked into my shooting lane. I thought he was about ten yards away or so so i put my ten yard pin on his vitals. I let the arrow go and he jumped like he had gottin hit but it was still to dark to tell. So i sat back down and knocked another arrow. About 3 minutes later, a giant ten point buck was trotting to my right not 15 yards away. I stood up, made him stop, and shot him at ten yards. He ran down the gully and stopped. He acted like he wasnt hit so i was kinda mad and sad. Then all of a sudden he jolted to the left and fell in a creek bed about 20 steps from where he was standing. I waited a minute or so and he had not left the creek bed yet so i knew he was down. So i got out of my tree and went to go see if i had shot the first deer i saw that day but when i got to where he was standing when i shot, the arrow had missed him and he got away. So i went to the spot where i shot the 10 pointer and saw good heart and lung blood splattered on the ground. So i followed it and saw the giant laying twenty yards away from where i shot him. I yelled so loud im sure every deer around heard me. It was the best day of my life and a great start to the years to come of hunting by myself (no offense to my dad who got me started in the sport.)

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from chris95 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Mitchell's first deer.

When my good friend Tom and his son Mitchell were looking for a place to go on youth day of 2007, I jumped at the chance to join them. It was the first year that Mitchell was old enough to go hunting, so we wanted it to be a memorable day for him even if the deer didn't join us. Tom and Mitchell picked me up an hour before first light, and we made the short drive to the fields we had scouted the week before. All of us were equally excited for Mitchell's first hunt as we anticipated what the day would bring. We were all set up and settled in with fifteen minutes to go before legal time. It was a beautiful morning, crisp air, blue skies, no wind, and good friends. Mitchell sat with the patience of a seasoned hunter, his single shot .243 across his lap, intently listening to nature wake up around him. After about an hour Tom reached into his pack and pulled out a fawn bleat and turned it over a couple times. A few minutes ticked by and a coyote appeared silently out of the woods and slowly walked into the field. We watched it for a minute before it caught sight of us and high tailed it back into the woods. After another hour or so, it was time to head out for a bite to eat, and plan our strategy for the afternoon hunt. Around one o'clock we came back to a different field that was just a short walk from our morning location. Mitchell picked a nice spot for us to sit that gave him some cover and had an old apple tree that he could use as a rest for his rifle if the need arose. Before long, we can hear shuffling in the dry leaves. We look at each other with anticipation. Maybe it's a deer, maybe a squirrel... no, it's a porcupine. He waddles over to find one of the few apples left that has fallen off the tree, not twenty feet from us, sits down and contently starts eating. Mitchell watches, his grin getting bigger with every bite our new friend takes. Tom and I agree that even if we don't see anything else today, Mitchell's first hunt has been a success. After finishing his apple, the porcupine waddles away, oblivious to the entertainment he's brought us. The afternoon passes quickly, as none of us wants the day to end. With about twenty minutes of light left, we're whispering to each other, reliving the days events, when I look up and there they are, two does working out into the field at forty yards. Mitchell slowly settles into his shooting position as Tom and I start whispering advice. "Take your time", "Remember where to aim", "Wait for a good shot", "just squeeze the trigger". Mitchell remained focused, not saying a word until the doe was in his sight. Then he says "Dad, I got it!" and bang, the doe went down, then came right back to her feet and doubled back into the woods. Getting short on daylight, we went right out to look for her. Mitchell remembered right where she went into the woods so I looked for blood while Tom looked for the deer. Within minutes Tom found her, not fifty feet in from where Mitchell said she entered the woods. We both congratulate Mitchell and admire his first deer before Tom dressed her out and we dragged her back to the truck. The day had ended as perfectly as it began.

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from bamaoutdoorsman93 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

One November, when I was a kid, my grandfather and I decided to go for a stroll in the woods.It was a nice morning for hunting, cool and crisp, with the fog still rising from the dew covered ground. We weren't in search of any particular game, although I was really hoping to get a shot at a good buck. We grabbed our guns, my .22 and his 12 gauge, and headed for the woods. I had seen a few rub marks and scrapes so we decided to head in that direction. On the way we thought we would check a few apple trees near the edge of the property, but no luck, although we did get to get a snack! So we went along our way, slowly weaving through the woods and combing the oaks and hickories for whitetail. I was enjoying the moment more than the actual hunting part, as it was a great way to spend time with my grandfather. We had been looking for deer for about an hour when we saw an old abandoned barn. A few friends of mine had told me there was a huge group of squirrels in the barn. I told my grandfather it would be an awful shame to go home empty-handed, and we were about to head back anyway, and he said squirrel sounded good to him. As we approached the barn, we heard the squirrels rustling around in the trees. We loaded our guns and walked closer to the barn, eyes in the trees, waiting for one of the bushy-tails to make the mistake of bouncing into my dove- tail sights. A squirrel hopped into a fork in a big white oak, and as we stepped closer for a better shot, we kicked it. By 'it' I mean an eight point buck that had been lying beside the barn under a bush. We had been so focused on the squirrel we had failed to noticed the perfect oppertunity laying right in front of us. It was as if God had sent us a deer and plopped it on a platter right before our eyes and we still managed to screw it up. When it happened, the buck lept up and het his antlers an a low tree branch, ran into me, fell over, and took of in the opposite direction. I thought my grandfather was shooting at me, he thought I was shooting at him, and we both hit the ground before we could figure out what was going on. We looked up just in time to see the little white flag bobbing off into the forests. "Was that a deer!?" I exclaimed. "We just stepped on a damned deer! How the hell did we step on a deer!?" said my bewildered grandfather. We dropped down on a fallen pine tree and sat silently for a good three minutes. When we finally got up, the squirrel sat in his hole barking at us. I think he was snickering to himself at our unfortunate antics. We headed back to to the house with our heads hanging to our boots. When we got back to the house, my grandmother asked us had we had any luck. When we told her what happened, she said "So you stepped on a deer? Hmmph. Some hunters ya'll are." To this day, I never go near that barn without checking that bush.

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from WVOtter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Like many hunters, my dad taught me to hunt. He taught me to be a respectful sportsman, and was there to shake my hand when I got my first deer. But over the years, school, girls, and work took away chances for us to get into the woods together, so my dad and I caught up for fewer and fewer outings. However, last Fall we both made it a point to return to our camp for opening week of Fall turkey season. No, “I’ll meet you there on day 3.” or “Let’s drive separate for flexibility.” Opening morning took us to a local hollow with gorgeous views and the sort of isolated peace that makes one close their eyes and savor the birds, river, wind-blown leaves, and all the elements that all too often, we can’t enjoy daily. After the hike in, we separated and planned to meet for lunch and the base of a side hollow. I hunted a ridge that morning with no luck other than practicing my kee kees and stirring a couple deer. But when he arrived for lunch, I saw he had a nice hen over his shoulder. With the sun peaking through the leafless branches, we had our midday meal and shared our morning stories. However, with plenty of daylight to go, I imposed, and he insisted, that I keep hunting while he spent his afternoon wandered the woods he had hunted with his dad years before. I covered the hillside the rest of the afternoon, creeping along, calling occasionally, hoping someone would answer. Suddenly, as I paused on a shelf, I heard scratching on a trail below. Unfortunately, as is usual, the birds saw me as I saw them, and they high tailed it around the bend. I pursued the best I could, kicking myself for not being a little quieter or a little more observant. But as I turned the bend, I saw a cluster of black bodies moving up the hill, and with my great-uncles .22 Hornet, harvested my first turkey. I soon proudly headed for the truck, my bounty over my shoulder. As I came out of the woods, I saw my dad watching me return, slowly becoming aware I was carrying a hen of my own, and I could see his own excitement growing. He grabbed his camera and documenting the moment, but the images he captured do no justice to my memories of the day’s events. In the grand scheme of things, we had a pair of modest hens; we hadn’t broken any records, and we hadn’t tackled America’s roughest and toughest land or beasts. But we were a father and son who got to share a rare day in the woods and both walk out winners, and once again, my dad was there to shake my hand after another hunting first. Because of that, no matter what the future holds, this hunt will continue to be at the top of my list as my favorite hunting story.

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from nateshamp wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The sun was just starting to go behind the canopy of trees. I had worked hard to be able to afford this piece of property. I had worked three jobs and saved for eleven years. It was a dream come true, my own hunting ground. It was not much, only thirty acres, but it was mine, and I had gotten it the hard way. Blood sweat and tears had paid for this land. I could not thank my wife enough for putting up with my desire to have my own land and all the time she allowed me to work and all the ways she cut and saved to help us save the money.
I was enjoying looking out over my crp field. The birds were getting grouped up for the migration. Geese were making a raquette in my wetland. Squirrels were chasing and cutting. All the wonderful sounds of nature seemed more clear this evening than any other I had set in a stand.
It was a spiriual experience to just be sitting in this tree. As I was soaking up every minute, I had snapped out of my thoughts with the sound of rustling leaves. With high anticipation I waited for that monster buck to show himself. As I grabbed my bow and turned for the shot, my buck had somehow transformed into fourteen turkeys. With a chuckle and I smile I settled back into thought.
Right at dark a buck appeared at the far edge of the field. He worked a scrape and started my way. Again, my heart skipped a beat. As the buck drew near, I realized it was a two and a half year old six point. Not what I was looking for. As he fed into the acorn flat I came to relish this experience.
This was the best hunting experience of my twenty eight years of life and one that I will never forget. I now look forward to reliving many of my own hunting and fishing experiences through the eyes of my daughters like my dad did with me while he was teaching me the appreciation for nature and conservation.

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from BerkHunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

This story is about my first deer. I live in Massachusetts and was hunting during the muzzleloader season with a couple of guys who have been hunting for years. Needless to say they were showing me the ropes. So we walked up the mountain maybe a half mile to a mile and the 6 of us split up into 3 groups of 2 to tackle the upcoming ridges. We all went into the separate valleys that way if we bumped some deer and they ran over the ridge to the next valley someone would be there to take the shot. Well about 5 minutes after we split up I walked right into a doe; she was about 70 yards out. So I put my TC Omega to my shoulder and the cross hairs on hers and took the shot. After the smoke cleared I saw her staring at me about 15 feet to the right from where I shot her. I started loading another sabot while she was staring at me. Before I could get another shot off she starting trotting away to the top of the ridge to my right. Well I went to where she was when I took the shot and starting following a light blood trail. I should have sat tight for an hour or so but I didn't, I started tracking her and when I got to the top of the ridge I saw her bed with a good amount of blood in it. I heard a shot, my friend who was on the other side of the ridge took a shot at her and missed, but he thought he hit her because she limped when he shot at her (I’ll tell you about this later). Anyway we start chasing her through a swamp and around the ridges never more than 200 yards away from where I took the first shot. Eventually she starts going downhill and keeps going into a WMA. We had lost her in there until a diehard hunter i was with found her bed. By this time I was soaked, my boots weighed about 20 LBS each and it was freezing out. I meet up with him further in the swamp and we track her to a brook. We said "we lost her she crossed the brook and kept going". Now this brook was 15' wide and 8’-10' deep, not something you want to cross this far into a swamp. But bummed out we look down and on the other side of the brook floating is the doe. I am beyond pumped up right now, my first deer, YEAH!! One thing though, we had to get the deer from the other side of the brook. Well long story short my friend tried to convince me into joining the polar bear club, if I was closer to a truck I may have, I even went as far a putting my foot into the water. We had a rope and tried to hook the deer well after about 4 throws the rope slipped out of my hand and…gone! Unreal, what was I going to do? I had an idea and called a friend we were with and he went and bought a snow tube, that’s right, a snow tube. Well I blew that thing up and floated across the brook, my legs did go in but I wasn’t as wet and cold as if I went swimming. Well we got the deer to the other side and started dragging her out. I ended up so cold I had to leave the deer with a fried and run to a truck for heat. The guys I were with were real helpful and the deer would not have gotten out as fast as it did without them, they were a real big help. They had dragged it the rest of the way for me and really showed what hunting together was all about. Any ways the next night a friend of mine helped me cut up the deer and package it. Remember when another guy shot at the doe and it limped so he thought he hit her, well come to find out she had a .22 in her shoulder! Someone tried to shoot this deer in the heart at night with a spot light. I can guarantee that’s how she got the .22 in her shoulder. There are people around who are known to do this and its nothing but a disgrace to the rest of us ethical hunters. Any way I know if I shoot a deer this year I’ll be taking a seat for a while before chasing down the deer.

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from Fruguy101 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Several years ago I decided to go squirrel hunting one afternoon. There were always plenty of them in the woods behind my grandmother’s house, so that’s where I went. One of my dogs always went over there with me, her name was Babe, and she was a Doberman and Dalmatian mix. So, I hopped on my ATV and headed the quarter mile or so down the road to my grandmother’s house. Babe followed right behind me, although she lagged a little behind because of the ATV’s speed.
Once we were there, I got off and loaded my .22 Remington. I walked into the woods and started looking up. The squirrels had decided to not come out that afternoon for some reason. I located a few nests high up in some oak trees and found a good spot to sit and watch them for activity. Babe was right there with me sniffing the ground like she couldn’t find something.
I sat down on the ground and leaned back against the log where I had decided to sit and watch the squirrel nests. The sun had come out and warmed the day up a little. Since I had eaten lunch before I decided to go hunting, I started to get sleepy. Getting comfortable in my selected position, I dozed off.
I do not know how long I had dozed before my dog Babe woke me up whining. She was pawing a log about twenty feet from where I was sitting. Jumping from one side to the other, she was making quite a racket trying to get at whatever was in or under that log. I called her to try to get her to be quiet, but to no avail. Seeing no other option than to get up and see what she was after, I harrumphed, and got up to see what was going on.
Reaching the log in a few steps, I did not see anything sticking out from under the log. I put my foot on the log to push it, and doing so, it rolled over easily since it was half rotten. Before I could see what she had been trying to get, she growled fiercely and attacked something gray that was curled up where the log had been. She had it in her jaws in a flash and was shaking it like a favorite toy, but much harder.
I managed to grab her collar and stop her thrashing about with whatever she had in her mouth. Once she let it go, I finally saw what it was that she had been having a fit to get at. It was an opossum that had been sleeping the day away all cozy like under that log. I grabbed it by the tail and had to threaten my dog so she wouldn’t attack it while I was holding it up by the tail.
I hopped on my ATV and rode the short distance back to my house. Once there, I got off and went to the front door. Ringing the doorbell a few times, I finally got my mother to answer the front door. When she opened it, I said “Look what Babe found!!” I know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but my mother jumped what seemed like a couple of feet when I showed it to her, and I couldn’t help but to laugh. I let it go a little bit later, and it went off unharmed, but shaken.
I did not see or kill any squirrels that day, but that opossum was definitely a surprise.

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from charlie aleval wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Like they say if it was not for water it would just be hunting.

So One morning I got an itch to go fishing the sand flats just north of the island. I loaded my gear knowing that I was in for a an hour hike through dunes, flats, and grass. I had one fishing rod, some plastics, No net, 4 whole mullets and my wife by my side. So I departed pack and canteen. We hiked Through our hot Texas sun 45 minutes on land a 30 wading water. It seemed promising I knew The reds had to be schooling the water was warm and the conditions were just right. I was hoping for a fish fry. So I finally got to a sweet spot set up my rig and cast out for what seemed a country mile. I jigged, and made that fish skip and hop and hit the bottom. I paused... And felt something hit, so I set the hook. Right away I felt it was NOT a Red. I knew it... A Sting ray. So I brought it in. Ive Handled stingrays many times and thought nothing of it. When he came up I noticed it looked more like a skate orange with spines down its back. I grabbed my leader with my left hand and tried to unhook it with my right. Well boys, before I knew what hit me that tail swung up and stung me just above my wrist. I knew this because of what seemed to be a stream of blood coming from said "lo-ca-tion." At this point my wife freaked and we head back to land. Initially I knew this is a Bill Heavey storie And its bad. I touched solid ground and lit up a cigarette. Which only led to the following, "Baby... my uh sight is beginning to tunnel. ( This is me going into shock.) " WHAT!" "Yeah, geez uh my hearing is going out now." Trying to stay calm I wrapped my shirt around my forearm and started heading back to my SUV. Remember this was my first cast. So As fast as possible but not too fast to where I would pass out. We trekked it back. My arm felt like it was going to rupture like a frank in the micro. Finally after what felt like a lifetime we made it to the truck. We drove about 80 miles an hour into town, when we got back to civilization I told my wife to find the first cop and wave em down. We spotted one down the street and to our surprise he disappeared. then he came out around a store siren's on. He jumped out of his squad car gun in hand running behind a truck screaming at a man who was at this point out of his vehicle yelling back. So in a panic we flew passes that mess Knowing the clinic was a few blocks down. We got to the clinic jumped out the truck only to find the clinic is closed on Sundays. So At this point I'm ready to pass out from the pain when It comes to mind to call poison control. They said " Get home and dunk both hands in the hottest water you can handle don't ask questions just do it." So my wife stops at the local burger joint! I Tell her "this is no time for a burger get me home!" She was only trying to help of course she really didn't want a burger. So i got home and did as they said and boy my knees went out from the relief. It was amazing that hot water just took all the pain away. My hands had two diagonal red lines for two days from the scolding hot water. An hour later, no pain at all. Just something that looked like someone stuck a straw in my wrist. All for fishing. I love it, and I don't need another hobby. We Called poison control back and Thanked them for the help. The little lady was going to be okay, But I don't wish that pain on anyone.

Charlie

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from charlie aleval wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

By the way Support the 9/12 Project
The 9 Principles
1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

The 12 Values
* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Charlie

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from fisherman14 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

About a year ago my buddy and I went down to a stream with our compound bows to shoot some targets we set up. We were there for about an hour when we got bored and decided to walk the trail a little farther into a field about and acre big. Right as we steped foot out of the woods a male turky in full strut was about 15 yards away and a perfect shot. We stepped back into some coverage behing a pile if brush and 15 minutes later I was pulling the arrow back when my bud's golden retriever came running through the woods and chased away the turkey! It was pretty funny but we were bummed we didn't get the shot pulled off.

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from sayerbefiddlin wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My buddy and I were traveling home after a no-seeum hunting day. He pulls the car over really quickly. "you see that buck?" He jumped out of the car so I followed. As we ran up the street I had no idea what was happening. Go jump that buck! I ran as fast as I could and jumped ON THE BUCK. With the adrenaline pumping so hard I got it in a head lock. One thing for sure, the buck didnt like it. My buddy reached around me and all we had was pocket knives. That was the end of that 9 point. As we got the buck back to the car we wondered if his wife would mind the blood but just then another car and a truck pulled up. The man in the car was yelling something about how he killed that buck with his car earlier and was coming back to pick it up. The man in the truck was not only one of our friends but also the game warden attending the area. Apperently the guy didnt want to be awarded the prize you get when you hunt with your car so we got to take the deer home

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from rudyglove27 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The year was 1980 when I started hunting whitetail deer with my father. A lot of time has passed since then, twenty-nine years exactly, if I only knew then what I know now. My family own 2,500 acres of private land and most of us hunted in the ground or up against the tree. I hunted for five years without bagging a deer. I headed out with my father and soon to be the most memorable hunting day of my life. My father allowed me to hunt alone on that early morning. I walked about one mile away from my father and set up in a blow down facing a well used trail. I was probably hunting for three hours when I spotted a huge doe making its way towards me down this trail. My heart started pumping harder and harder due to the fact that I have never shot or kill a doe. I was trying to figure out how and when I needed to take the shot without the help of my father besides me at that moment of time. This huge doe was getting closer and closer to my vicinity. My father purchased me a .243 Musketeer Bolt action rifle to hunt whitetail deer with it. I became very familiar with the gun by reloading , shooting off the bench with it, and using it for varmints. I started with lighter loads and worked up to the max loads. The more I shot it, the better I became. I had the same comfortable feeling shooting it that I had with my .22 rifles, and I became deadly accurate and confident with it. The .243 cartridge is absolutely deadly on whitetail and I still remember reading an article in Field & Stream which stated that the .243 was the gun of choice used by back-up gunners on lion and tiger safaris. I finally made my shot and this huge doe went flying by me, which seemed to be fifty miles per hour as I recall on that wonderful day. I heard a loud crash and this huge doe was piled up about forty yards away and I started shaking uncontrollably with excitement. I did not know how to field dress this doe and I was by myself which I do not have a cell phone to call my dad to help me on this glorious day. Luckily my dad had been following my trail all along and brought with him a bunch of guys and give me my first lesson in field dressing a deer and I was definitely celebrating that heavenly occasion.

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The Road Kill Trout
jblack

Lightening lit up the sky as I headed out to pick up the girls. It had been a couple of years since Janice and I made opening morning. Fortunately, work schedules allowed us to make it this year and we gained a new fishing partner, Leslie.

As I turned off the main highway it started to rain, “Dang it” I said. As soon as I hit the gravel road leading to Leslie’s house, it quit almost as if God heard my mournful sigh. After scooping up Leslie, I had one more stop at Janice’s and we would be off to the honey holes. Janice knew. There were three spots we were going to fish and we had to drive by the one that I wanted to fish the most. A couple of years ago, I had caught a nice 15 inch trout at this culvert and as we drew closer, I kept hoping this would be our first stop, not our last. We could fish here first if you wanted instead of last came a voice from the back seat. I pulled over to the side of the road and the game was on.

Within minutes, Leslie had her first catch and only minutes after that she had her second. I fished from the top of the culvert as Janice made her way along the bank and cast her line. I felt a slight tug on my line and it was my turn. I set the hook and reeled in my line to find a nice 13 inch trout at the end. We had only been there about 30 minutes and we already had three trout in the pail. Janice worked her way down the creek and it wasn’t long before she too had a nice trout to add to the catch of the day. Though we laughed and carried on there were many quiet moments as we sat enjoyed the sounds of the world waking up. To me there is nothing better than being in the woods or on the water as the world comes to life. Cardinals flew overhead and then sat in nearby trees singing their beautiful songs. A duck flew overhead and Janice had to duck as it flew that close to her, only to land on the creek just a few feet from where she fished. Soon, another tug on my line brought me back to fishing and I once again started to reel.
Several people had stopped at the culvert to see if we were having any luck. I just told them that we had caught a couple only to be scolded by Janice later. She said “you don’t tell those people that you caught anything, next thing you know they will be fishing our spot”. Oops! So like a typical fisherman, the next person that asked, I told them that we were just drowning worms.

I continued to reel in the trout that was on the end of my line when a car approached on my right. The driver steered the car over to where I was standing and as I looked down towards the water, I could see that I had a nicer trout than my first one and it was at the top of the water. Still reeling, I realized that something had gone wrong with my fishing pole. I was reeling but it was not moving. The car now sat 4 feet from where I fished, panic set in.
Not wanting to lose the fish I reached out and grabbed my pole about half way up with my free hand. In one swift motion I flung the fish and line over my head and it landed with a thud on the pavement in front of the car and driver that had been sitting, watching. His eyes were the size of saucers and mine must have been as well. There in the road lay a 14 inch trout, motionless.looking more like road kill than an addition to the catch of the day.
Making eye contact with the driver I said “Well, now you weren’t suppose to see that!!“ He stuck his head out the window of his car and said, “That was really impressive” and we both just started to laugh. Janice hooted and hollered from the bank as we had another really nice fish to add to our catch.

Distant thunder told us that another storm was brewing. It got darker and the wind picked up, the temperature dropped drastically. The fish had quit biting so we decided to move to another spot. The storm seemed to be in the north, we were headed west and hopefully it would not move in our direction until we hit at least one more creek. Stopping at two other sites and not having any luck we decided to call it a morning. The rain had started and it was threatening to get much worse just shortly. At Janice’s house it rained harder and by the time I got back to Leslie’s it was really raining. Going home it increased to one of those “frog stranglers” that forced me to follow the white line along the way. Reaching home, it looked like it had hardly rained.

I came home mentally refreshed from a morning out in the great outdoors. Whether it is a cardinal’s song, a turkey’s gobble, a coyote’s call or a deer walking under my tree stand, there is nothing that wakes up every sense in our body. From my front porch to a creek bed or deer stand I appreciate every sight and sound, and I pray each night for another day to enjoy each and every one of them.

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from Mark Orlicky wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My best one... Hmmmm.
When I went hunting on a ranch in Montana with a group of six friends. There were several large draws, leading from the wheat fields to the foothills, so we spread out and started working up the draws simultaneously. Thought was, if we spooked a deer out of one draw, it might jump over the ridge and offer a shot to another guy. I was by myself working one draw while everyone else partnered up on the other draws.
About 30 or so minutes in, I had a very urgent "call of nature" hitting me. Hadn't seen anything yet, but thought it prudent to lean my rifle close enough that I could reach it. A moment or two later, a huge volley of shots erupted from the draw to my left. Thinking the old Indian saying, "one shot, one deer... two shots, maybe one deer... three or more shots, no deer" I didn't know what to think. I heard at least 20 shots in a minute or two. Obviously at least two or more hunters were really ventillating the hillsides.
Saw some motion to my left and here's a herd of 6-8 deer running over the ridgeline. Trailing the bunch is a little 3 pointer, but he's bleeding. He pauses after cresting the ridge and gives me a shot at about 100 yards or so. I can shoot, so I put the deer down... while still sitting on the log doing my thing! Crazy. Never done this before or after.
It was the funniest thing I ever saw. Afterwards, here's my partners racing up to the dead deer, talking about how the very last shot must have killed it... and then realizing that the bullet hit the front of the deer. And, then looking down to see me at the bottom of the draw.
Hope you liked it, best I can offer.

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from IsaiahB wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My first hunt had it all blood guts and dad and son bonding. When I was in Jr High my dad use to take me out of school for a week and half no matter what was going on with his job or school. This hunt was a special one we were camping in a draw with my father’s friends who never cared so much about hunting but more about drinking, The actual hunt started on the second day after scouting the high mountains of Western Montana me and my dad were on the middle of the mountain when we heard one rifle shot go off a long ways up the mountain then what we thought were three quick shots, so we knew one of the guys from our party had gotten into some Bull elk. So we gave up on our trail we were on to go see what was killed as we started up the mountain my dad said “keep your rifle ready you never know what we will see on the way up” So we come up to a old skid road and about 75 yards up the road were a small group on Mountain Mule deer all bucks just standing there looking at us my dad being like a kid in a candy store but not having a mule tag whispers to me and says take the shot so I ready up to the side of the hill with my Husqvarna 30-06 and took aim pulled and *BANG noting moved nothing happened so I emptied the round reloaded shot again nothing happened at this time I looked over my dad said let me try he shot missed but at least they moved off the road. Thinking this would be my only chance on my first hunt I started to cry and apologize for not making a shot my dad being my dad said F*** it better luck next time we make it to were our partners had been waiting to find that the guy had killed 2 bull elk which filled his and the other guy he was with tags. I went out to look for my own animal to kill only to come across Cougar tracks and turn around as I came back to where the elk were killed I saw a 6x6 mullie off to the side of the road eating some berries I again picked up my rifle and took aim fired and the deer just stood there I thought o no not again so I reloaded as I was about to shoot again the deer dropped were it was standing but there was no blood anywhere being so excited I approached without thinking with my knife out he was still alive but not moving so I took the knife and slit his throat my dad came over and so did the other people to congratulate me and take some pictures. Still wondering why it went down we started to investigate upon investigation we noticed I had shot the deer in the nose and guessing it had went into the brain paralyzing it or something along those lines. After the day was over and we took it to the taxidermist he found the bullet in the brain pan. I had my first deer and we had a story to tell to relatives and other friends for a life time.

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from Damon619 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

It was opening day of gun season, my first year hunting. I had been scouting during bow season and had seen a few does that i couldn't get a shot off at. The opening day, my uncles put me in their "best stand". I got up very early and just waited in my stand until i could see. I heard some rustling in the brush and out came a smaller doe. I fired off the shot. The doe ran as i thought i missed it. The first thing i thought was to grunt to try and get it to stop. The doe fell over. I was fourteen and had gotten my first deer. I heard some more rustling in the brush and out came a four pointer. I fired off the shot and it dropped. I had also just gotten my first buck. A third doe came out but i was all tagged out. I was the happiest fourteen year old that morning.

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from Fisher Boy wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Up in deer comp, Southern Comfort is banned due to the fact that “it’s just too darn good” and you scratch where it itches. This year was my second time deer hunting, this time up in Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. We arrived up there late Friday night, leaving just after school and spent an forty-five minutes in a Wal-Mart getting a tag. Finally we made it down the back-roads to the Grass Lake Hunt Club. Hitting the sack after about 7 hours in the car felt as good as it gets.
The next morning, getting up was the complete opposite of going to bed, but once I adorned my jeans shirt and knife, I was roaring and ready to go. Before going, one needs to fill up for the day on a good an’ scrumptious meal of egg “samwiches” as our good buddy calls them. While eating, our friend who is a member of the club tells us that during regular deer season, not “yout’” deer season, there are about seventy guys that come in and eat in this little cabin, which completely blows my mind of how so many grown men cram themselves in to such a small room. I scarf down the sandwich and a tall glass of o.j. and began to pace the room, anxious to get out and get my first deer.
Picking up the small youth gun Phil, our friend, showed me how the safety worked on it which was one that I had never seen. He handed me the .308, a thank you was exchanged, and I was seated at the range that is right outside the main lodge. I put the safety in the middle, so it could not be fired, but the chamber could be opened, took the first round and inserted it and pushed the bolt forward and down. Flicking the safety off, I fired the round into the piece of cardboard that was on the farthest target. This was repeated once more, then I had to shoot a large tin can off the top and we would leave.
Walking down the two rut road, having already scared two deer that saw us long before we saw them, and waited for the last minute to run scampered the fifty yards to the corn field. We stopped and Phil told me over the top of this hill and around the bend there will be a rye field, so be ready.” Slowly and silently, we walked up the small hill, and were just at the base of the right-hand turn in the road when we spotted two deer, just a little ways down a steep hill. One of them decided not to stick around and see what was going down, where as the other stood and starred. I could only see enough of his head to tell that it was legal for my antlerless tag. I stepped out of the rut and onto a little dirt pile, just enough so I could see down to the legs. I brought the rifle up, flicked the safety off, “took a deep breath to steady my nerves”, and slowly squeezed the trigger. “Bang!!” the deer ran up the hill then back down. With the way he kicked his legs and ran, we all knew that it was a good hit. I followed the blood trail and found him lying in the little crick in the bottom of the valley. We got him out, dragged him halfway up the hill, and Phil taught me how to filed dress him. Then we dragged him to the top and took him to the butcher.
That nub buck was my first deer, a memory I will never forget, the shell now contains a feather that I found up there on our way back to camp, will also never be forgotten.

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from matson123 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My name is Adam Matson and I have been hunting since I was 13 in Wisconsin I was introduced to this sport by my dad, the unluckiest hunter around. Our family hasn't harvested a buck since 1990. I call it the curse of the Matson's. The bucks just seem to play tricks on me. That is until I arrowed this one.
To start off my dad is an opening weekend hunter, rifle only. He has never bow hunted so I had to teach myself this fine art with only encouragement from my parents. This was my first year bow hunting and I have learned that I enjoy it more than anything else. If a gun season didn't exist I would be fine with it. I am now primarily a bow hunter. I bought the bow myself and found the camouflage at a garage sale. I spend months scouting out the land I hunt in Deerfield. I hunt this land in trade for the farm work I do for the owners, since my family lives in town. They have a pretty large farm which requires a lot of haying and tobacco, but I also love to work outdoors.
The night before the hunt I went with my dad to Gander Mountain and helped him pick out a brand new Deerfield Ruger. Beautiful Gun. While we were there he asked if there was anything I needed for hunting. I said some rattling sticks would be awesome.. he threw them into the cart for me, along with some hand warmers.
Anyways, on that particular morning I woke up at four and was climbing my tree by 4:30. I'm a poor college student so I really don't have money for a tree stand so I climb a tree and sit in a crook aching for hours during the wait for a buck. By six I saw two little does walk under my stand, not having a clue that I was spying on them for the last fifteen minutes. They could have been meat, but something felt good about today. I knew I had a chance for a buck. Around 8 I heard a tiny commotion behind me and instantly tensed up. I didn't want to move in fear of spooking whatever it was. I slowly grabbed my bow and turned around.
Twenty yards away a small spike and a doe had come to my rattling and grunting. My body relaxed. These deer could live another day. They then slowly walked under me and followed the creek for a ways. About 45 minutes I hear a crunching behind me. I turned around in time to see the does coming back my way on a dead sprint. A minute later I saw the spike slowly run past, injured. I start hearing hollowing and crunching. Two hunters were trying to trail the buck, just being as loud as possible. I didn't think that was a very good way to trail a spooked buck, but who am I to say what works. When they saw me I told them which way he went and decided that after all that ruckus my hunt was over for the morning. I was severely disappointed.
I walked out of the woods and started driving down the long driveway when the old farmer's wife flagged me down, running after me. (She ran pretty well for 75!) She said that she needed help programming her new van and garage door opener. I said since my hunt was done I would love to help her. I spent about an hour fixing everything that she wanted done and was about to head home. She asked if I was going back to the woods, I sadly said no, too much commotion already. She told me to go onto the hill. She just has a feeling.
"Why waste my day watching TV when I can be out in the woods?" I thought to myself. I took her advice and headed up to the giant hill. I started up the cattle trail to get to my giant oak I picked out (this tree I stand on a branch). I started to walk through some thorns and torn my skin raw. Oh well, I've had worse. Then I grabbed a hold of the barb wire fence. Smart move.
Once I got settled I pulled out my brand new rattling bag and just started tickling. I added a few grunts and weezes to it. Once again my adrenaline started to rush. I smelt something funny in the air, something musty. All of the sudden I saw a brown body jump out of the thickets, just standing tall and proud looking all around for a fight. I was in complete awe. I didn't even think of grabbing my bow even though he was broadside at 30 yards. I just saw a buck, an anxious buck, pawing the ground, sniffing the air, running on adrenaline. He turned back to the thicket and then I got my nerves back. I grunted twice and OFF HE SPRINTED to the left.. He just high tailed it outta there. I lost all emotion. I just scared him away.
I stood still for a couple seconds thinking what I did wrong. I slowly looked left and I saw the buck come charging in, sniffing the ground and shaking his head in a terrible fury. He wanted to FIGHT! He just couldn't find the other buck. I slowly pulled back my new PSE Nova and aligned the sight on his side. He made his way 5 yards under my tree and let out a grunt. I pulled the trigger on my release and let it fly. The buck stood there for a second and tore off back through the thicket he originally came through. NOOOOO..I saw my arrow sticking in the ground, the red and white fletching staring back at me, mocking me.. I missed.
I looked up and saw the buck come out running from behind a growth of trees and shrubs 50 yards away. One more step and he did a nose dive right into the dirt. His paw was between his horns. He was down. I was so excited I hoped straight down from my tree and looked at the arrow. It was soaked with blood. It had sailed right through the lungs. I was in such joy that I jumped out of my tree and tore off down the trail and grabbed the old farmer in his tractor. "I just shot a big one! I just shot a big one! Now what??? He just laughed at me and told me to calm down; the deer's not going anywhere. He came up and helped me get the deer out of the woods with the four wheeler and then I called my dad to come with the truck.
So many things lead to the harvest of that buck. The rattling horns my dad bought for me the night before, the other hunters wounding a buck, and helping a nice old lady. By helping someone else I have learned that you help yourself.
My dad has never been a man of many words but when he shook my hand after that deer I knew how badly he had wanted me to get a deer throughout all these past years and getting it like this was everything to him and me. The curse of the Matson's has been broken!
Note: I was so excited about that deer, when I got home I realized that I had left my quiver, release, rattling bad, and binoculars all in the tree and had to run back to get them.
Adam Matson

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EDITORS NOTE: This is the last entry for WEEK ONE. All entries after this point (until Midnight on October 12) will be considered entries into week 2 of this contest.

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from woodturner wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My Son’s best hunting trip.

My son Nathan told me a story from his hunting trip opening day 2009.
He and two friends started to hike in the YOLO BOLIES wilderness. His friend Brian
Who the week before had had a cold, and who should have stayed home, got real sick
only after a mile into there hike and realized that he could not go any further. They had
Walked down from the road about a thousand feet to the creek. So Brian And Jezreel made
camp there and Nathan continued on to the hunting area.

Nathan continued about three miles in when he came to A group of other hunters
already camping. He didn’t think he was going to see anyone else this far in. We’ll he
decided to drop his pack behind some tree’s and continue on. Getting a ways past that camp
he saw a hunter. I guess it was first light. He was about a hundred
Yards from the man when he first saw him. The hunter didn’t see or hear Nathan as he got
Closer. Nathan said he was about ten feet off to one side of the man when he finally noticed
Nathan. According to Nathan the man just about jumped out of his skin. He then turned up
his hearing aids. Nathan apologized for scarring him and introduced himself. They shook
hands and the man said his name was Gary Ford from Willits, Ca. and that he had been
Hunting in the same area for over thirty years and that he had never taken a deer out.

After that, Nathan continued on the trail and came to a spot where he could glass
An area. He thought he was by himself when he heard some above him cough. Nathan said,
Dad I looked up the hill and here was this guy and he was buck naked. He said I didn’t know
What to do. The guy was next to the trail so it was real awkward. After a bit the guy put his
Shorts on. Nathan decided to get going and went up to the guy. The guy said that he had some
Friends. Two above and one below where they were. So Nathan said that he was going to go
On to the ridge off in the distance. The guy agreed that would be a good area and Nathan left.
Nathan said that after he had walked for a while he noticed a couple guys following him. If
He walked they would walk. If he stopped they stopped. So he turned toward then and gestured
“what are you doing”? Well then they stopped following him.

He then got to this area that looked real good. And started glassing the area. He saw a doe
About a hundred yards away. He watched her for a while and then spotted a nice three by three.
He didn’t think the Buck saw or heard him but it started walking, then running up the hill. Nathan
Said that when it started running, he ran over to a rock and waited for the deer to come into the open.
It started running into some timber and Nathan picked a spot where he thought the deer would go and
Set his sights there. And that’s where the deer went. He said the deer stopped right there and looked at
Him. He said “I pulled the trigger and the deer just stood there“. He said, “I chambered another round
And waited what seemed like 8 seconds”. He said the deer just fell over and didn’t even twitch.

After field dressing the buck, he got to an area where he could call his friends on the radio.
He said he would be unable to carry the deer by himself and would need help. They agreed to leave the Buck hanging in a tree for the night and Nathan started back. When Nathan got back to that first camp he saw in the morning, he saw that Gary Ford was there. Gary said to Nathan “ what do you have those antlers for, are you rattling for deer? Nathan said no, but that he had got his buck and showed him the head. Gary asked where the deer was and Nathan told him his plan to come back the next morning to get the deer with help from his friend. We’ll it just so happened that Gary had five mules with him and his group. He had a Grandson and nephew with him. But not the guy who was naked.
We’ll to Nathans surprise Gary asked if he could go back with the mules and get Nathans deer. Nathan said that was very nice but that he didn’t want to impose. Gary said that he had never been able To pack a deer out with the mules before and would really like to do that. So they went back and got Nathans buck. Gary said he would like to take it all the way to Nathans truck. About three miles away. Nathan said that was nice but that he had a sick friend back at camp and would he mind helping him get back to the truck. Gary agreed.

When Nathan got back to camp he found Brian resting between two rocks like a lounge chair.
When Brian saw Nathan on the mule he asked what was going on. He said that he had a ride out for him. Nathan introduced Gary to Brian. Here is where the story gets real interesting. Brian told Gary that he had a great grandfather with the last name Ford. George asked what his first name was.
Brian said “Vernon”. Gary then said “ my name is Gary Vernon Ford, your Great Grandfather
Was my dads brother”. Well I can imagine they exchanged memories. Gary knew Brian’s dad but had never met Brian.

I think this has to be one of my sons greatest adventures. I hope you enjoyed this story.

BRENT COOK REDWAY, CA

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from Judy Black wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

SADIE’S FIRST BUCK

It is hard to find an outdoor sports channel that doesn't end with the message to get a young person out and teach them to hunt. They are our future. This story is about a "first timer" and I think she is now hooked.
In 2001 Scott and I purchased almost 200 acres that was once part of his grandparent’s farm. The property had been owned by 5 guys, some from downstate and they kept the gate closed. Situated on the land was a 1973 mobile home. No running water, an outhouse, but there was electricity...it was perfect. The ink wasn't even dry on the paper work, we opened the gate and called it camp.
The neat part of this is that Scott's brother Jim owned 300 acres adjacent to our property. His land was also part of the section that the grandparents had owned many years ago. It had some of the best hunting and farm land in the area and Jim was an avid hunter as well. By fall the food plots were planted and the blinds in place, we were all ready to hunt.
Jim has a son Jason, now 21 he too loves to hunt. He spends countless hours walking or driving their property taking note of the bucks and by October I swear he has them named. If you tell him you saw an 8 point buck, you best know if it had a broken G2 or real white horns. It is not very often that a buck shows up that Jason hasn't already seen. He puts a lot of time into scouting and it normally pays off for him.
Jason's youngest sister Sadie has sat with her dad and Jason many times for many years. She has never hunted and is not 16 and has the normal interests of a 16 year old young lady. But this year Jason "begged" her to get up opening morning to hunt in his stand with him. She went and they didn't see anything that morning. Sadie went again for the afternoon hunt and this is where the real story starts.
Around 4:30 Jason told her there was a buck coming out. He didn't know how big it was, just that it was a buck and he had promised her that he would let her shoot "something". Sadie would later tell me that he was "bouncing off the walls" telling her to take the gun and shoot. She was totally unprepared and took a little longer than Jason was comfortable with getting ready to shoot. He was "having a fit" as the buck walked off into the woods....Sadie was like "what the heck"!!!
The buck turned and came back out to the edge of the field and now Sadie was ready. She took aim and fired the shot, both of them watched as the buck disappeared into the woods. Both Jason and Sadie knew it was a good hit so they started burning up the cell phone lines. A call to mom (Sandy) brought a "yeah right" and then to Uncle Scott who couldn't understand what she was saying.
Back at camp I was patiently waiting for them to bring her trophy as Scott told me Sadie had shot a 10. I was so dang excited for her and could not wait to see it. They backed the pickup up to the porch of camp where the light was good and we could all see. I was barely out the door when the passenger door flew open and I was greeted by the biggest smile you can imagine. I hugged Sadie and told her over and over how very proud I was of her. She chatted a mile a minute recanting the story of Jason "bouncing off the walls" and then her shot. She just kept pointing from herself to the buck saying "I did this....I got a 10 point buck". Once again I told her how proud I was and Sadie's reply was "I just kept thinking, who, who, who will be proud and I said..Judy will. She will be so proud of me because she hunts and knows".
I was about in tears as it made me realize that all those years of watching all of us hunt and celebrate the harvest, this young lady got it. It isn't just the hunt, it is the comradery, the thrill, the sharing of the stories. It is about family and friends doing what they love to do and then taking it all back to "camp" and sharing. Sadie now had her own story to share and she will have that memory for the rest of her life.
My sister has always told me that "I never look happier than when I have a dead animal in the picture with me". Well, it is not only my harvests that make me smile. We took pictures of Sadie that night and I asked that one be taken with her and I. She brought the pictures over to me the following night and I have to say there was no wiping that smile off her face the night she killed that buck, she was one proud, happy young lady. But the picture of Sadie and I together shows that I was just as happy and proud as she was.
Her first deer, a 10 point buck to boot and I got to share in the celebration. If I don't harvest this season it will be just fine with me. It meant more to me to have Sadie get her first deer than if I shot a 12 point myself. I remember my first fish and I remember my first deer. I too remember my kids first deer. Now I can say that I remember Sadie's first buck, an awesome 10 point. What a treasured memory.

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from pigs1040 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

In the not so distant past my father took me fishing. I was so excited that I grabbed my fishing pole and told my dad to load up and head for the lakes. I had my pole, worms and salmon eggs. What else could be better than fishing with my old man. As we head out on our adventure we swing by our local donut shop and grab an apple fritter and milk. When we finally reach our destination we take out the raft and get set up. Geez, I cant believe how excited I am!!! We paddle out onto the lake and sit there talking about everything under the sun, enjoying the nice morning breeze. My dad can see the frustration starting to set upon me and says, "here son, try out this lure". So getting my lure tied on, we sit back to back in our small raft. I grab onto my rod and chuck that lure with all my force to get the longest cast ever, but as I swing forward my rod stops suddenly and a scream can be heard out on the lake. My fathers head had gotten in the way of my cast and my lure had burried it self in his scalp. My father wants to scream at me, but realizes that a 10 year old doesnt usually remember to look over his shoulder. Yes that was a great fishing trip. I dont remember catching any fish, but my dad was certainly hooked!

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Granddad, dad, and I had been hunting for a few years. I was about 12 years old, Granddad and dad were trying to show me how to track animals. This year we were hunting mule deer in Colorado just outside a small town called DeBeque. Its mostly a desert area, sage brush, and shrubs.

I knew what deer tracks looked like, but I had not tracked anything yet. Granddad and I went over a small draw. Granddad had been fallowing a buck most of the morning. Granddad got the buck in sight. To me it seemed like a mile long shot, but in truth it was probably a few hundred yards. Granddad swore by his old .270, and this was not much of a shot for him.

The deer hunched over as they do, and Granddad knew he made a good shot. We waited for about fifteen minutes when Granddad decided to go after the buck. Granddad showed me where he had hit the deer and the blood trail. Then he told me to track it down.

I wondered around finding some blood, then losing the tail more then once. Granddad told me after I lost the trail to walk in a circle around the last place I saw the trail, and find it again. It took me a wile to find the deer, but when I did, I was so proud that I did it on my own. Now I realize that I wasn’t alone, and that Granddad knew where the deer was the entire time. But that feeling of accomplishment when I did it is something that I will never forget.

Thank you Granddad.

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from markseay1 wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Best Opening Day Ever!

Last Saturday was the opening of archery season for deer here in Virginia. This is only my third hunting season with a bow. Last year I got skunked, and the year before that I put an arrow through my first deer, a respectable 4-pointer.
After getting skunked last year I really put some effort into scouting this summer on the small 100-acre farm that I have permission to hunt on. I have never seen any big mature deer on this property, mostly I would see a lot of does and some small bodied bucks. But this season was going to be a little different.
I set out an hour and a half before sun-up to my pre-selected tree on the edge of a small grove of oaks that have been dropping acorns. As dawn began to break, I was trying to make some distance measurements with an old range finder I have. The type where you look through an eyepiece while turning a knob until an object comes into focus (usually a tree I use as a distance marker) then looking at the wheel with yardage markings on it. But there was not enough light to see through it clearly under the early October tree canopy.
Just then, I see movement to the left side of my stand and the nicest buck I have seen while hunting emerges from cover. An 8-point beauty. I quickly estimate the buck to be 30 yards, draw as it turns broadside and let the arrow fly. I hear the arrow pass through some leaves that I hadn’t noticed and the buck startles and walks slowly 10 yards away behind some thick cover. I can’t believe my poor luck for not noticing the small branch above my pin, directly in my arrows arcing path to it’s target.
In 15 minutes it has gotten light enough for me to use the range finder and I find out that the buck was actually at 20 yards, not thirty. So, I realize that I surely must have shot over the animals back. As I am putting the range finder back in my pack I catch more movement. Another buck, larger than the first, a 9-pointer, is 20 yards away and walking straight towards my tree stand. The deer is facing me so I do not have a clean shot. As the buck walks behind a tree, I draw my bow and follow him until he is 5 yards in front of me, and broadside. I lean down and let the arrow fly. This time I can see the tuft of hair open up where my arrow has entered, a great shot. I can hear the deer run up the hill through the leaves and then go down. My luck has changed for the better on this opening day.
I descend from my tree stand to retrieve my arrows and am shocked to find them both coated with blood. I walk around to the edge of the thick cover where I last saw the first buck and there he is, not more than 15 yards from where I shot him. I stand there for a minute to let this all soak in as a big grin spreads over my face. It is 7:30am on opening day and I already have two beautiful bucks down. This is the best opening day ever!

Note: Photographs upon request

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from kadabujack wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

The Great Boar Hunt

I think it would be very difficult for me to convey to you just how upset I was. It was an outrage! There are some things a man just cannot tolerate, and having his favorite tale of skill and daring degraded with such malicious intent is just the last straw.

It all started fairly innocently at a recent cookout with several of our hunting friends. After a fine fare of wild boar, recently taken, the talk soon turned, naturally, to hunting. All was fine until my brother, obviously influenced by the bottle, started telling the story of the day’s adventure in a very malevolent manner. (I only add the fact that he’d been drinking, not to imply that he is a drunken slob that can not be believed, but to show that alcohol can affect one’s memory).

It was not long before Uncle Bill and my dad started in, too, saying how it was a shame for me to call up my uncle’s poor, tame pig, which had escaped some months earlier, and shoot it like a fish in a barrel. (Obviously, they had no idea that domesticated hogs on the loose soon revert to their primal ways and, in fact, become more ferocious than wild raised boars). To give them credit, however, they did have the part right about my calmness under pressure (although they, of course, called it shock). To give the story more credibility, what follows is the factual account.

My brother, Steve, and I were hunting squirrels on my uncle’s land that morning. Since we planned on a deer hunt in the afternoon, I had brought my rifle along in the truck and Steve had brought along some buckshot for his shotgun. After a totally unproductive morning hunt (Steve lucked into his limit), I decided it was time to show Steve some of my hunting expertise. We would go deer hunting.

As we were driving to the deer stand, the most ferocious wild boar I had ever seen in my life crossed the road. We gave chase and, despite the great damage inflicted to Uncle Bill’s vehicle, finally cornered the beast in a patch of woods next to a cornfield. We got out of the truck and I jumped into the bed of the truck so as to see from a higher elevation. I spotted the animal in the woods beside a large patch of thick underbrush. I stayed in the back of the truck so that I could track the movement of the game and told my brother to take the right side, quickly explaining that wild boar naturally preferred thickly wooded areas where they could not be disturbed. He looked doubtful but, deferring to my superior knowledge in such matters, took my advice, though he still showed some signs of reluctance. As soon as Steve had disappeared into the undergrowth, our wary quarry ventured out into the open field. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to show some fine marksmanship, I immediately fired.

Bang! Dirt showered behind the boar. Bang! Bang! Dirt plumes flew to the left over the beast. Peals of laughter resounded from the woods where Steve had gone and I naturally attributed this to his nervousness upon seeing that my tactic was working.
Bang! Another shot to the left and I had the beast heading in Steve’s direction. (Very few people realize the extreme difficulty of herding game with a rifle from the bed of a pickup).

Immensely pleased with myself for being able to direct such a fine game animal as this towards a novice hunter such as my brother, I waited patiently for the taking of the trophy. Upon hearing two reports from his shotgun, I started walking over to congratulate Steve when I heard the most ungodly sound before me in the brush. (I later found out that Steve had forgotten to replace his birdshot with the more lethal buckshot). Immediately, I began deep-breathing exercises, as recommended by most famous outfitters, to assure a steady shot. I suppose that, to the thoroughly uninitiated, this might possibly look like a man deep in the throes of fear.

The beast charged out of the woods and, upon seeing the enraged animal, I instinctively fell to my knees in preparation for a shot. Steve later described this as looking like a man involved in a deep and earnest conversation with his maker. (Most novices do not recognize the importance of a steady, kneeling position when firing at enraged animals). The maddened beast stopped and stared at this experienced hunter, obviously in paralyzing fear. With steady hand, I fired.
The trophy boar fell without a fuss. A perfect shot due to the stealth and savvy of a seasoned pro. (Okay, I know something was said about distance, but only an experienced stalker in the best of mental conditioning could kneel steadily and fire calmly at an enraged animal at a distance of less than 25 feet!).

Now, after hearing the true and accurate account of how this dangerous, worse-than-wild boar was taken, you can surely understand how terribly upset I was at such an outrageous distortion of the facts. It was an obvious attempt, initiated by jealousy, to discredit my true hunting ability. Mistruths of this sort can not be tolerated. We must work together, as sportsmen, to bring an end to these sorts of malicious lies and tall tales.

Say, did I tell you about the time Steve got buck fever and . . . ?

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from 007 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Spring turkey season was memorable, as we heard more gobbling this spring than we have for several springs. The first day was not for the faint of heart. I put a gobbler to bed the evening before, and was waiting for him the next morning. I worked back and forth with the old boy for probably 30-45 minutes, not making much progress, when I heard wing beats behind me. I sat and watched a flock of black headed vultures wake up and fly out for the day. For those of you unfamiliar, this is not the old turkey vulture or buzzard that is commonly found, this is a slightly smaller, stockier bird built more like a raven or a raptor. I am told that they can be a serious threat to livestock, according to agricultural and biologist sources.
The gobbler at hand put on quite a show for me and the apparent bevy of hens in his company, then took his harem, circled below me, and faded into the next hollow, gobbling insults the whole time. While I was scratching my head and wondering what had just happened, it dawned on me that there was another gobbler just across the road, raising just as much ruckus if nothing more. I hustled across the hollow and the road and set up around the point from this old bird, and began giving him some quiet and subtle yelps. In short order, he was looking at me, a picture I will not soon forget. Instead of coming around the ridge to me as anticipated, he came straight out over the top and stood at the brow of the hill in full strut, the morning sun shining brightly on his fan. I would very much like to have captured that image on film. He was facing dead on at me so I was reluctant to shoot him with the rifle barrel of my over and under so I switched to the shotgun barrel, held a bit high to compensate for the distance, pulled the trigger, and then watched as a feathered rocket took off for the next ridge. Have you ever seen a wild turkey duck and put his wings over his head as 2 ounces of copper-coated #6 shot skims his scalp? I can now say that I have. He gobbled again several days later but would not come to any call. I thoroughly educated that old boy, a lesson he will not soon forget, nor will I. I have learned that success is not always measured by trigger pulls or fish landed and the spring turkey season bears this out. One morning while hunting with my son, we happened upon a den of small red fox pups, about the size of a small house cat. One in particular was photogenic enough to sit on the lip of the groundhog hole they had set up housekeeping in and pose for several pictures. A week or so later, my wife and I saw another den of fox pups just after dawn on the way to work, down the road below home, seeing them several times over the course of a couple of weeks.
I continued to hunt solo for the rest of the season’s Saturdays as my son was tied up with work. The one day that we did share though was golden, spent sitting in the morning sun, talking about anything and everything, making memories, and enjoying my son. Several weeks later, I did finally find a jake gobbler that either had a death wish or was not too bright, as I called him downhill, likely off posted land, where he popped up over a bank and stood and looked at me. It’s not always about the size of the fish or game taken, but sometimes about the experiences leading up to that fish or game that count. The spring gobbler season of 2009 will be considered as a trophy.

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from Shellcracker wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

North Florida, December, 40 degrees after an overnight rain. Me and my buddies are on a late season hog hunt in a wildlife refuge that is every part of "Old Florida" as you can get filled with cane breaks, pine, live oaks hanging with spanish moss and plenty of palmetto. We see huge areas of wallows and hog sign everywhere, yet, where are the hogs? We follow fresh tracks out to the edge of a marsh on the Gulf of Mexico and see a bulldozed section of sawgrass but then it goes back into the swamp. No hogs. The side of a palm tree has a few large claw marks from a black bear about 6 feet up. We pause and look. Walking on, we kick up an 8 point buck that jumps about 25 yards away. We sit motionless and he does too, looking at us out of the side of his vision. He is breathing heavey as are we. We all wait, frozen for several seconds. Then he bolts. We exchange conversation then continue on, following a clear stream and find a limestone spring river with sheepshead in it that must have washed in during the last tropical storm. My friend tells the story of a spearpoint he found here last spring on a turkey hunt. We continue following the trail, passing some rabbit hunters who exchange some conversation and eventually find spots to put up evening stands. I get in a pine with tusk marks on it and one of my buddies climbs up a fallen oak not far away. We sit and wait. A doe charges through, 40 yards away, my heart beats. I wait for a group of hogs to charge through at any second. Then I see it. A blaze orange shirt and a yahoo stalking through the woods, right under our stands. Its one of our buddies. He had been stand hunting earlier elsewhere in the county and had a bear try to get in his tree so he left and happened to drive to our area for a late afternoon "swamp stomp". We all get out of the stands, share a laugh or two then head down the road in the trucks for some beers and barbecue. No trophy hog or other crazy story. Just a great day hunting with friends in a beautiful place.

(grammar correction from above. I replaced "what" with "that")

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from gmai78 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Each spring hunters take to the woods in search of the ever elusive TOM turkey. As opening day approaches, each of us check our gear, catch up on the latest turkey video’s and pick up our annual Turkey hunters addition of Field and Stream; in hopes of gaining an edge to outsmart Mr. Tom.
The 2007 Ohio Spring turkey season was no different for me with one exception: I would be going solo. During the previous seven turkey season’s I had the pleasure of learning a great deal of expertise from a pioneer in the Ohio sport. William “Bill” Bogart, a former pro staff member for Woods Wise game calls, bestowed upon me the vast knowledge he had gained during his years in the woods.
Bill is the farther of a dear friend of mine, Brad. Over the years I have had the pleasure of watching their home made hunting video’s, eating dinner with Jere Peak of the NWTF, and not to mention the many trips to the woods scouting and hunting Turkey. You see, Bill’s passion for the sport had allowed him the opportunity to hunt with Mr. Peak each spring, and being a close family friend allowed me to pick the brain of, what I consider, two of the greatest Turkey conservationist.
The lessons I learned were going to be put to the test for the first time; alone!
I had already packed all of my gear the day prior and simply slipped out of the house long before sunrise. As I arrived at the farm I could feel my nerves beginning to get the best of me. There is something about the anticipation of hearing the first gobble of the year.
I pulled myself together, put my gear on and headed for the Pines. The Pines is a small five acre stretch of trees on top of one of the hills in the cow pasture. I have scouted the spot for the past three weeks and knew there was heavy turkey traffic in that area. I knew exactly where I needed to be, picking out my spot two weeks prior. As I hiked up the hillside, barely able to see my feet below me, I was extremely careful not to disturb the silence of the morning. As I approached the pines the path split and I dropped over the hill about 30 yards to my right.
The spot I had chosen was an old logging road; grown up over the years the spring vegetation was beginning to take over the road. I found a small flat about 30 yards from the pines. This was to be my ambush spot. I set up my foam hen decoy, and then snuck back into the tree tops about 20 yards.
Let the waiting begin.
As I sat in the dark, I could see the sunlight starting to burn a hole in the forest openings. The dew melting away under the day’s new found light, I heard the first few hens fly down out of the trees. My heart was pounding! It was only a matter of time until the gobblers would be on the ground. As I waited a bit longer, I could hear the tractor fire up at the farm as my father-in law was getting the morning hay out for the cows.
Then, I heard him.
Mr. Tom’s gobble echoed through the valley. It was so loud; I thought he was right on top of me! My years of training had taught me one thing about this moment. It is the one mistake that most turkey hunters make.
DON’T START CALLING!
You see, Bill had taught me that turkey hunting took a great deal of patience. It is something which a lot of hunters fail to realize. It is in those moments, when your heart is pounding, your nerves racing, and everything in you is telling you to make a call to him that you need to wait. Let the bird fly down out of his tree and begin his morning routine.
Several minutes passed, although it seemed as if an eternity, before I heard him fly down. Mr. Tom was finally on the ground. My patience was growing thin. I waited a few minutes longer.
I had already place my slate call on my leg and was waiting; striker in hand. My nerves finally bested me and I made the first call of the morning.
Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, purr
He sounded of with such force that my hat was nearly blown off. He was only about 25 yards away, just up on top of the hill in the Pines. My scouting was beginning to pay off. I waited a few minutes and called again.
Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, purr
Again, he sounded off. Now I could see him out of the right corner of my eye, just below the brim of my hat. The wind was blowing just slightly, causing my hen do dance in the morning sun. Mr. Tom was on the move.
I slowly raised my Stoeger Model 2000 12ga to my shoulder, paying close attention to make as little movement as possible. He was working down the logging road in full strut, drumming his way to his ultimate doom. As he came into my sights I made one last call with my mouth.
Chuck.
BOOOOMMMM!!!!!
As the smoke cleared in the morning air, my prize lay motionless in the middle of the logging road. My emotions ran wildly through me. I ran to my bird ecstatic that my patience had prevailed.
As I drove to the checking station I made several calls to Bill and my buddy Brad. Neither was home, for they too were out practicing the patience of a turkey hunter.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

During my 4-year tour (1986-90) at Eielson Air Force Base Alaska, I've been asked how many bears have I taken. I had hundreds of chances. I had my crosshairs on many with a round in the chamber of my 338 Win Mag with Nosler 250 grain partitions loaded at 2800 fps and a harvest ticket in my backpack. An easy one shot clean kill everyone. I never pulled the trigger though.

Why you ask?

The beauty and respect of one a Hunter to the other (the bear) perhaps? Most of all the cost of having it mounted I couldn't afford and I knew in the back of my mind that if I did pull the trigger, the hunt was over. I wasn't ready for the hunt to end, never. I wanted more days to hunt, just to be out there. Even if I came home empty handed, it didn't matter. The awesome power, to watch a Grizzly role rocks the size of my ATV like a basketball, hunting for rodents. I never have taken a bear until I moved back to Arkansas.
Most of all, being alone on a mountain ridge, setting on a giant rock overlooking the endless landscape where perhaps no man ever walked.

To watch a snow flurry on a far mountain ridge and feel the Lord setting next to me enjoying what God has made.
I may have come home empty handed,
but my mind is full of awesome memories
it is a experience, I'll never forget!

But the most memorable days of hunting was with my Father

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from horseman308 wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Anybody else having trouble posting? I've edited by submission 5 or 6 times. It's under the word limit and has no obscenities but the site is convinced that I'm using obscene words somewhere. Suggestions?

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from huntermike wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

My father called from Florida and told me that he and my mother were coming up for Thanksgiving, and he wanted to go hunting. He had never killed a whitetail before. I told him that was fine and I would look forward to having a visit with my parents. He also told me he was bringing his shotgun. That brought back memories of my grandfather. My dad had inherited the shotgun after my grandfather had passed away. Grandpa had been an avid hunter and fisherman his entire life, but especially after he retired. He lived in Okeechobee, Florida. I have many memories of spending weekends fishing for bass or crappies. We lived in Winter Haven, which was a couple of hours away. He also had a hunting lease with one of my uncles. My dad and I spent several weekends at our deer camp. We never killed anything, but we always had a great time. My father arrived a few days before Thanksgiving and we purchased his out of state license. South Carolina, where I currently live, is an inexpensive place to hunt. We have one of the longest gun seasons in the nation. My dad was excited and so was I. I hunt a small place about 40 acres, but it is full of deer. I set my father up in a ground blind where several game trails run together. I was in a tripod several hundred yards away. It was a beautiful fall morning, the air very crisp and cold. About two hours after sunrise, I heard a shot ring out. I could tell it was my father. Then another shot rang out. I waited a few minutes and then started down the trail. My dad met me halfway and he was smiling ear to ear. He had missed with the first shot, but connected with the second. It wasn't a trophy by any means, but it was his first. The next day my fifteen year old son took his first deer from the same stand with the same shotgun. It was like my grandfather was looking down and smiling. Every time I am hunting, I can't help but think of my grandfather and the legacy he has passed on to me.

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from -Bob wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Alright, not quite a hunting story, although firearms were involved. Here goes:

Ten years ago, my in-laws bought a farm in northeastern PA. Having spent the majority of their adult lives in a suburban setting, the whole farming "thing" was a bit new to them. We drove up for a visit one weekend, and were greeted at the door by my mother-in-law. Poking a finger into my chest, she announced, “You have to kill the rooster.”

I was a bit taken aback by this greeting, so I asked why. The response – “The rooster does not play nicely with the other chickens. The rooster chases the children. The rooster chases the dogs and cats. The rooster crows at all hours of the damned night. We hate the rooster. You HAVE TO KILL THE ROOSTER.”

Deciding she indeed had a valid grievance, I agreed to whack the offending rooster and asked her what she planned to do with the corpse. “Toss it in the dump?” was the reply. Upon hearing this, I rescinded my offer. So she asked me, “So what do you do with a rooster?”

“You eat it.”

It was her turn to be taken aback; “You can eat rooster?”

“Sure, you can eat rooster!”

This was obviously a new concept. She rolled the thought around for a moment or two, and came back with, “What’s it gonna taste like?”

“Like…chicken?”

More mulling. “So, how do you cook it?”

“Like…chicken?”

I believe she wasn’t fully satisfied with my responses, as she concluded with, “Fine. YOU cook it.”

I’ll save you the details of the actual showdown. Suffice it to say that the scene resembled one of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classics, and I did Clint Eastwood proud. The loser was quickly converted into a batch of deep-fried rooster. As the family followed the scent trail into the kitchen, I was greeted with a chorus of, “Hey, that smells really good! It smells like…”

Chicken.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

To Mr. Mathews- Sorry not an entry this week. To the winner of weeks 1/2 CONGRATS !
The Super tool JUST beat out the SOG by price(in my vote).
Look out for me in in weeks 3/4 though !

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I had been hunting with my granddad and dad for several years. My first memory of hunting with granddad was a winter day, I was about 8 years old, I had gotten my first B.B. gun. It was a Daisy B.B. gun, lever action, and the gun a slot on the barrel where the B.B’s would be put in. It would rattle every time I would tip the gun one way or the other.

Both my Granddad and my dad wanted to do some serious hunting that day. I think they picked straws to see who would take me for the day. My dad lost. So dad and I went off into the woods. I could see dad getting upset because about ever 5 minutes or so I would get board and shift how I was setting. Every time I shifted my position the B.B. would rattle down the barrel of the gun like an Indian rain stick.

After doing this most of the morning, my dad finally told me to set still. This is no easy task for a young boy with his new B.B. gun, but I tried.

It took about a half hour and a big doe came up to us. It seemed like she was only a few yards away. We did not have doe tags but it was quit a sight, and it showed a lot of patients on dad’s part.

My little girls are still a little to young for serous hunting, 5 years old and 7 years old, but I take them fishing and antler hunting. When they get on my very limited patients I remember this story, and the patients shown to me.

Thanks dad.

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from Christian Emter wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

My dad and I decided to go up to Mystic Lake. We got all of our gear ready and on Friday afternoon we headed to the lake. When we reached the trail head we started our 2 hour hike to the lake. It was a great climb knowing that when we get to camp we will be able to eat dinner. Once we reached the lake it was another hour hike to the camp spot. By this time I was getting tired from carrying a 30 pound load on my back. When we reached the spot we set up my tent, I grabbed my backpacking stove and made a delicious dinner. For desert we had hot cocoa and snickers bars. The next day we hiked up to Huckleberry Lake only to find that it wasn't deep enough to fish. So we headed back down to Mystic Lake. On the way down I fished in Huckleberry Creek and caught a 5 inch rainbow. I had to throw it back. When we got back down to our camp we fished at mystic the whole day only to catch two 13and1/2 inch rainbow trout. They made a delicious dinner. The next day we packed up and headed back down to the truck. We fished some hole on the way down but caught nothing. When we got back down to the truck we had hot dogs and raspberries for lunch. After lunch I put my fly rod together and fished the lower creek. I was hoping just to catch a 12 inch rainbow, but instead I caught a huge 16 inch brown trout. I caught him, got him to the bank and he got off the hook. I couldn't process the ordeal. I was so close to landing the biggest fish of my life. After he got off the hook my legs were literally shaking. That was the only fish I caught that day. Instead of eating it I am now talking about it. That was one of the coolest fishing moments of my life.

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from BioGuy wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

"How much farther is it?" my girlfriend, Amanda, inquired, referring to the distance we needed to sneak before we would reach our evening hunting destination.

"About 100 yards and we'll be there," I responded. It was the first time I had taken her hunting, and my biggest concern was that she would be comfortable enough to sit still for the three remaining hours of daylight. We had camp chairs, extra clothes, snacks, drinks, and a 20 minute very slow hike to our evening sitting location and I was carrying everything! I could tell she was getting impatient and excited. "Just be patient, walk slow, and mind your footing. I've jumped a lot of deer walking into this spot in the past, so we need to walk in real slow."

Our destination was a large glacial erratic, in the Adirondacks, that overlooked a swampy bowl where deer funneled down an old logging road off the opposite ridge. It was mid-November and the rut was in full swing. On the way in, we had found several fresh scrapes. The wind was blowing out of the northwest, which was perfect for that spot. The sign was good, the wind was good, and the company was good. My only hope was that the hunting would be good also.

After a long, and nearly silent sneak, we finally reached our spot. We set up the camp chairs and settled in for a long and cold 3 hour sit.

"Now don't get disappointed if we don't see anything," I told her. "I learned young to keep expectations low. It makes seeing animals all the more worth while."

"OK," she replied, "but I really hope we do see something."

Ten minutes passed and there was a loud snap in the distance. "Did you hear that," she exclaimed!

"I sure did. Just stay quiet and keep your eyes open."

A minute later two does can barreling off the adjacent hillside, down the old logging road, and into the bowl. They ran right up to us and stopped two yards away looking back in the direction they came from. Amanda was in awe. She had never been so close to live wild deer. I, however, was more concerned with their behavior.

In the distance I could see another deer. I did not dare to move because I didn't want to scare the does. The deer in the distance had his nose on the ground, just like a hound dog tracking coons. It was a buck, I was sure of it. The deer stepped into a clearing and I confirmed it had antlers. All the time, the two does at two yards had Amanda's full attention. She didn't even know there was another deer coming.

The buck disappeared behind some saplings and I took that opportunity to raise my gun. The does remained in place. The buck stepped into the next clearing a mere 15 yards away. BOOM! The 140 grain .260 Remington soft point bullet found its mark right behind the shoulder. The shot made Amanda jump out of her seat, the does bolted, and the next thing she saw was a buck running past us at two yards. After running another ten yards the deer went down.

"Oh my god, did you just shoot a deer? I can't believe it, we were only here like 15 minutes!" Amanda was excited.

"Yes, but don't run up to it yet. Give it a couple of minutes. Also, don't start thinking that hunting is this quick and easy! Luck was on our side tonight. Now the real work begins!"

A few minutes passed and we went to look at our deer. It was a 1.5 year old 4 point buck, and most would not consider it a trophy. The real reward was getting to spend time in the woods with the woman I love most and to see her enjoy every minute of it. It was also an opportunity to try out the new buck knife that she got me for Christmas the previous year.

"So next year, after I take my hunter safety course, are you going to bring me back here," Amanda asked?

"Yeah," I replied, "but only if you carry in all of the gear!"

Oh allright, I supposed I could carry in SOME of the gear, but if I get one, you got to drag it out." I laughed. She was hooked. Of course, who wouldn't be hooked on hunting after an experience like that? Mission accomplished!

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from Dustin321BANG wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

First Hunt
It’s a hot summer day in the Kern River desert. The suns about to go down in an hour or so and it’s getting below 100 degrees. It’s a special day because my father has brought me here so we can spend some time together; just the two of us on my first hunt. We park the car, grab our rifles, and start heading out. With the hot humid air blowing at our faces, our hats blocking the suns glare, and the sun block protecting our skin from the damaging rays, we march on through the valley. Maneuvering around the cactus and the razor sharp plants, I feel a sense of adventure and excitement. A new experience. Looking out for small bushy tails, and listening for the soft pidder padder of feet, I have to be watchful for coyotes and lethal rattlers. Dark clouds pass overhead as I walk around dreading the possibility of rain, which if gets heavy enough could end the trip. A moment later and I spot a cottontail, no more than thirty yards out. Feeling the adrenalin coursing through me, I struggle to retain control. I put the rabbit in my crosshairs, focus on keeping steady, and bang. The bullet soars through the air and hits the rabbit solid in the chest. It flips backwards from the impact and dies a few seconds later. I walk over to it and feel an exhilaration and accomplishment as I get closer. I grab it by the hind legs and show my dad. Seeing the pride in his eyes, I feel proud of myself. This day marks a special event for this is my first cottontail rabbit, and my first hunt.

That day changed me and made me realize what kind of person I am. It showed me that I am a hunter and always will be.

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from briarfire007 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

During my 1st year of graduate school, I hunted as much as possible. I had begun commuting into the city 5 days a week for class and work. 1 ½ hours of traffic a day had me dying to get out into the woods every chance I could. I had been lucky enough to take a buck the 2 previous seasons, but I had not seen any deer this year, and it was 3 weeks into November. I was getting a little discouraged.

There is a little patch of woods behind my dad’s house right next to a bean field. He had sat back there under a tree a week earlier and seen a really “wild buck” chasing some does around. I had always hunted in stands before, but decided to go sit under the same tree on the edge of those woods to see if I could spot some deer.

I hiked back to the far side of the woods and made myself a little nest under some very low hanging branches on the wood’s edge. I settled in around 2:30 in the afternoon. The woods behind me were so thick and grown up that I could hardly see into them. So I watched the edges of the tree line and the field in front of me.

About 3:00 I heard some rustling not far to my left. Twenty yards away the bushes wiggled, and a little buck walked halfway out of the woods. It was a 3 pointer, a fork on one side with a spike on the other. Our state has a 3-point rule, so this guy was off limits. I think he caught wind of me, because it wasn’t long before he vanished back into the woods.

About 4:30 two does walked out of the woods about 70 yards to my left. They were feeding in the field and went round and round in circles with their noses on the ground. I watched them for probably a half hour hoping a buck would come out with them. No such luck.

With only a weekend or two left in modern gun season, I wondered if this might be the only chance I would have to take a deer that year. With classes and exams, I couldn’t count on having the opportunity to make it out to hunt as often as I wanted. My plan had been to hold out for a buck until the end of the season. As much as I wanted to do that, I also wanted to make sure we had some deer meat in the freezer back home. Finally, I decided to take a shot at one of these does. I raised my rifle, took aim and fired.

And missed! Both does looked up as if to say “What just happened?” Then they casually strolled back into the woods. I couldn’t believe it. Not only had I missed, but I was certain I had blown any chance of seeing another deer at this spot for the day. I was disgusted. I sat there for about 15 more minutes, and then I decided to go check the spot where the does had stood to make sure that I had not hit her.

No hair, no blood. Missed. There I was with about 15 minutes of daylight left. I knew I might as well walk back to my dad’s house while there was still some light. I started back toward my hiding place to gather up my gear when suddenly across the field about 200 yards away some deer bounced out of another patch of woods.

I dropped to one knee and stared across the way thru my scope. 1,2,3,4….5, 6 does were suddenly milling about across the field. I continued to watch, and then he stepped out. A buck with a decent spread appeared watching over the batch of ladies. I pulled my grunt call out of my pocket and grunted as loud as I could to see if I could get him to come a little closer. I grunted a second time and stared thru the scope. The buck seemed to look across the field right at me. He took two steps, dropped his head and charged!

He dropped his head just like a bull and came tearing across the field. I can still remember little dust clouds kicking up at his hooves. I was a little shocked. I wondered several things all at once. How close would he come? Was he going to stop? I wanted to let him get as close as possible, but if I let him get too close I was afraid he might maul me. We’ve all heard about whitetails going crazy during the rut.

When he got within 50 yards I fired. He did not stop coming, but quickly altered his course. He ran an arc off to my left, circled behind me and into the woods. I managed to fire off 1 more shot as he went.

He was gone, and I was still there, on one knee trying to figure out what had just happened. It had all happened so fast. I quickly got up, ran over to the woods, already my heart sinking thinking I had missed again. As I made it to the tree line however, I could hear that familiar sound of a deer trashing in the leaves. I stepped inside the trees and saw him there on the ground. When I made it to him, he was finished.

He was an 8-point. His rack might have been pretty decent at some point that year, but by now he had broken off nearly half of every point except his main beams. He had obviously been doing a LOT of fighting. I’ve since taken deer with finer racks, and each hunting experience is always special. But so far no deer stands out to me as much as that brawler that came after me one beautiful fall afternoon.

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