Nate Dean: My First Buck!
The weekend of gun season for whitetails had finally arrived here in Wisconsin, which sent 640,000-plus hunters dressed in their … Continued
The weekend of gun season for whitetails had finally arrived here in Wisconsin, which sent 640,000-plus hunters dressed in their blaze orange, rifles slung over there shoulders, to there favorite spots to see if they could shoot that trophy buck or a big doe to fill the freezer. It was my first time ever going gun hunting for deer, so I was looking for either a nice buck or doe. The alarm went off at 4:30 am. I jumped right out of bed, grabbed a big bowl of Life cereal—my favorite—then headed outside to grab my blaze orange hunting clothes that have been hanging out on the line the whole week to air out. I threw on my jeans, then my bibs, then my jacket. I was ready to go. My girlfriend’s family was here right at 5:30 am, and we were off to where we were hunting in Eleva, Wis., on Jerry Deetz’s land. My “guide” for this hunt was my girlfriend’s dad, Terry Deetz. He showed me and my girlfriend, Courtney, where to sit every morning and throughout the afternoon and always explained very well where the deer were moving and whenever I had a question he knew the answer. Opening morning, of the nine day gun deer season, was certainly not the best. There was very dense fog and you couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of you. Courtney and I were set up in a hardwood ridge with a valley running in the middle of it where deer like to travel from feeding to their bedding site. We sat there for four and a half hours and hadn’t seen a deer. We got kind of cold from the very damp air and water falling off the trees, so we headed into Jerry’s house where he had hot chili, hot dogs, cookies, chips, and soda. It all was very delicious and had filled us up to last out the rest of the evening. In the evening, Terry put us up in a hay field on top of a hill where deer travel to get to their evening bedding areas. We sat there for two more hours until dark without success, but I was not mad at all because there was still eight more days to hunt. We headed into town to see if there were any big bucks being registered at the stations but only saw a few. The second morning came very fast. My alarm sounded at 4:30 am and with Courtney’s family sleeping in a little the second morning, I had plenty of time to get ready. I was anxious this morning because there was no fog and the weather was perfect. I knew we were going to see deer because we were located in “big buck country. That morning Terry put me and Courtney on top of a tall ridge with a valley running between us and another large ridge, to our left there was a small very thick patch of woods where deer bed and run all the time. Where we were sitting it is all CRP—you could see all the deer trails in the tall grass. Courtney and I sat there for probably around three hours without seeing anything. Later on, Courtney fell asleep while I sat and looked for deer. I spotted some blaze orange on the other side of those trees and after looking hard. It’s Courtney’s dad. He had decided to drive the little patch of woods to see if any deer were bedded in it. As I look I see that there is a deer crashing threw the trees and out right in front of me. I couldn’t tell how big the deer was, but I could tell he had antlers. I shot him at about 250 yards, but missed. He was running then at about 275-300 yards broadside. I took my time and sighted in on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Next, I met up with Terry and we searched for blood. John Deetz and Bob Hutchison heard my shots and came see if we had got one. We were all searching for blood and we had no luck finding any. I kept walking to where I last shot him. I looked in the edge of the woods and I thought I was dreaming. There he was—two feet from where I shot him. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how big he was. My first buck ever, and he was a dandy. John and Terry helped me and showed me how to gut him. After we got pictures, I tried to stop shaking. Then we loaded him into the truck and went into town to show him off. This is a hunt that I will always remember. I had some of the best hunters and best people with me those two days. The buck had ten points with a 17 1/2-inch inside spread and weighed 155 pounds field-dressed. —Nate Dean