My Memorable Hunt
By Dave Douglas

.As with every fall, I reread Boyd Iverson's book, "Blacktail Trophy Tactics II". On the morning of October 28th, I was heading out for work and noticed the beginning of a good rainy day. I contemplated on whether to go to work or go hunting. It was a tough decision. The rain was a day early, but easily the best hunting day thus far. To make matters worse, upon arriving at work, the only people that showed up were the hunters. I made my mind up that no matter what the weather, I was going hunting the next day.

That night, I took a quick glance through Boyd's book again to reiterate what he advised. I awoke a half hour late the next day. I hurried to ready my pack and get going. Upon arriving at my "secret spot", I threw on my gear and began biking into the area. Right then I felt the undeniable twinge of an upset stomach. I really did not want to stop; I was already late but I soon realized I had no choice.

I eventually made it to the clearing as the clouds began to part. It was SUPPOSED to rain that day, but the sun refused to cooperate. I made my way through the clearing and up into the timber patch I had been scouting all year. I started removing gear to accommodate the now sunny weather. I didn't get more than a 100 yards when the sky opened up. I quickly took refuge under a big fir tree and listened as a pack of coyotes screamed out from the lower timber patch. They weren't far away and I hoped it would send the deer my way.

After 20 minutes, I started making my way through again. I was traveling on an old logging road, so I quickly covered a couple miles to get the wind in my favor. I had found a good travel route in the timber a few days earlier. It made it very easy to sneak up into the timber. I was reaching the spot I thought the deer might be traveling through, so I stopped and began to glass. To my surprise, there was a doe bedded about 30 yards in front of me, and she had no idea I was there. She kept looking up as if she was waiting for something and within seconds, a buck came running up. I was not prepared for this. The deer weren't supposed to be this close to the timbers edge. I was expecting them to be further in, so I was totally exposed. I quickly scooted up to a stump and laid my gun on top. The doe was still oblivious to my presence, but the buck picked me up right away. He walked up to within 20 yards to get a better look. At first, I thought it was just a spike. I had seen several spikes that week that were extremely tall. He began to bob his head in an attempt to assure his assumption. I could now see he was branched and decisions had to be made.

Dave took this large bodied buck in the think timber

It wasn't the buck I had been hunting, or the larger buck he had been seen with. However, he appeared very heavy. Unfortunately, all I could see was his head, and I didn't want to take a head shot. He wasn't moving though; and I wasn't about to move with him only 20 yards away. I decided if I was going to get this deer, I would have to take the shot. There was only 2 days left of the season, but I would be unable to hunt either of those days. I rotated my sights until we were looking eye to eye. BOOM. I couldn't see him.

He wasn't running away. Maybe I got him. I stood up and moved around the stump only to see him waving his flag as he trotted away. Disgusted, I sank to my knees. I couldn't believe I missed such a close shot. I let out a grunt or two, hoping he would stop. I was now kneeling on the spot where he was standing at the shot. He apparently was standing with his front hooves on the stump, because it was easily 2 feet lower on his side of the stump. Right then I looked up to see him slowly walking back for a second look. I grunted again. Now he was standing about 40 yards away next to a maple tree. His vision was obscured by a branch, but I could see him. I wasn't sure if it was the same buck though. He looked bigger. My only shot would be to place it between two branches. I wasn't feeling very confident after my first shot, but I had faith and steadied the crosshairs onto his neck. The second shot rang out and he fell right over. Wow! I wasn't expecting to see him drop right there. I walked over and saw the most beautiful buck I had ever taken. I said a prayer of thanks and sat there as he took his final breaths. He was gorgeous. Not the largest deer I have ever taken by any means; but this was the first deer that I had not just blindly stumbled upon. This was the first time I had successfully still hunted and harvested a deer. He was also the first deer I had taken that had a double throat patch.

He was very fat. Probably average for a timber buck; about 180 lb. and very stout. Then began the daunting task of getting him out. Due to the gate closures in the area, I had biked in approximately 2 miles and was now another 3/4 mile into the timber. It took me about 2 1/2 hours just to get him out of the timber and onto the old logging road. I still had about 2 miles to go and most of that was uphill. I knew I wasn't going to be able to drag him out without ruining the hide. This was such a great hunt, and he had such a great hide, I thought about having him mounted.

I decided to leave him and return with a wheelbarrow. When I returned, I realized this wasn't going to be easy either. I was so exhausted, I couldn't even lift him into the wheelbarrow. After a short break, I managed to wrestle him in. I began making my way back to the truck, taking several breaks along the way. In total, I spent nearly 5 hours getting this deer out. Boy was it worth it! I had a great hunt; and that's what it's all about.

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