a 10 day game of chess ended with a couple big boys on the ground. cashing out my vacation days for the last week of the rut and into gun season proved to be a good move. the first 6 days of the vaca yielded a few close calls, a handful of big buck sightings and big numbers of deer. walking back to my truck one morning, i spotted a nice buck walk down a ravine near a stand i was saving for prime time. i made the decision that morning to exclusively hunt this location as long as the wind cooperated. for 3 days, the wind was perfect and i watched this buck stay bedded down all afternoon, only moving a few yards every couple hours, staying within range of the warm sun. on thursday, the wind changed directions and i moved stands to stay upwind of this buck. with twilight closing in, a doe and a fawn came screaming out of the woods with a big buck hot on their trail. the big 8 point chased the fawn nearly 100 yards past me before the fawn cut back and came hauling ass right for me, the 8 point still tearing up dirt behind her. the fawn made it to the woods but the buck couldnt help but wonder who was yelling MEP! MEP! MEP! from 20 ft above, in an effort to slow him down.
after an intense track & drag (shoutout my hunting partner), the celebration was rich. the beer was cold. the deer i had been stalking for 3 days was hanging on the meat pole. it would be my first time sleeping in through opening morning of shotgun season.
fast forward to the afternoon, i return to the stand of which i watched a buck bed down for 3 days, shotgun in hand. it would only be an hour before out of the corner of my eye, i watch antlers pop up from the bedding area i glued my eyes to for so many days. first thought, my buck i had killed a day before was a rogue freak i had never seen before. great. second thought, tag out.
turns out this deer was spotted by some friends of ours hunting the property a week before. our theory is sometime in the week leading up to the gun season, this buck got his ass whooped and decided to bed down for a long time. a broken tine, a missing eyeball, and a dwindling physique all support our theory. looking back on pictures and age comparisons, we estimate the shotgun buck to be around 10-12 years old. an absolute legend who surely deserves a spot on my wall next to the rest of em.
time to run the bird dog and get on some hardwater!
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gin, smoke, lies