Best Hunting Story Ever Told
As the 2015 deer hunting season comes to an end. I’m thankful for another year of successful hunts and new memories made. I had the privilege of harvesting two bucks this season. One with my compound bow and the second on opening day of Maryland’s rifle season.
I’ve already shared the details of the hunt for my archery buck in a previous blog post. If you didn’t get a chance to read it you can check it out HERE. With all the madness of the holiday season, I didn’t have the opportunity to share the story behind my rifle buck, until now. It turned out to be one of my most memorable hunts, and not for obvious reasons. It was the circumstances surrounding the harvest that made this hunt so special. Additionally, a chance encounter that happened hours later helped seal the deal. For these reasons it may be the Best Hunting Story Ever Told.
Here’s the Best Hunting Story Ever Told, for the buck dubbed “Wanted”…
With full stomachs and warm hearts the family and I wrapped up another successful Thanksgiving feast. My favorite weekend of the year had arrived. It was time for me and my father to embark on our much anticipated annual hunting trip to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We packed up the truck and hit the road with high hopes of having a successful trip, enjoying time with old friends and putting some meat in the freezer.
Three hours later we arrived at our hunting camp in Pocomoke City, MD. The welcoming site of “Old Faithful” as we parked the truck was priceless. That’s our hunting trailer with over 50+ years of hunting memories, enjoyed by a combination of friends and family. We got settled in, welcomed the arriving members of the club, watched some old timers try to fix a flat tire, and braced ourselves for a weekend of redneck comedy. Nothing compares!
My eyes opened the next morning to the obnoxious melody of my alarm. It was game time. Opening day of rifle season had arrived and I was ready to once again visit my old hunting grounds. The pops and I suited up and headed back to our respective hunting locations on the property. As I walked down the trail I passed my Grandfather’s old wooden deer stand. It’s managed to somehow stay erect for decades now. I stopped for a second to say a quick prayer and patted the wooden rail as I do every hunting season.
Soon after, I arrived at my hunting spot, located my trusty fallen tree and settled in for the morning hunt. My favorite part of the morning was quickly approaching. The moment when the sun peaks the eastern horizon and the woods come to life. It’s a humbling and warm feeling that I’ll always cherish.
It was unusually warm for this time of year. I shredded some layers and kept my eyes peeled for any sign of movement. The clock hit about 9:45am and I hadn’t seen any deer. I stood up to stretch my legs and let the blood flow to my lower extremities. At about the same time I felt a hunter’s worst fear brewing in my nasal cavity, A SNEEZE. It’s imperative to be quite in the woods, and I typically do a fairly good job at doing so. But my luck this morning had run clear out. HAAAA CHOOO! I did everything possible to dimenish the sound. But if I hadn’t seen a deer all morning, I was sure I wouldn’t see any now. I positioned myself to sit back down, disgusted with my inability to be quite. As I motioned to the left I caught a glimpse of antlers. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I quickly maneuvered my rifle to my shoulder. As I did I made eye contact with a buck. He couldn’t exactly make out what I was but I was sure he wasn’t going to stick around to find out. I took aim right behind his front shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. It happened so quickly I wasn’t sure if I had made a clean shot. So I listened as he ran for any sign of him falling to the ground. SNAP! It was the relieving sound of my buck taking his last steps. I waited a few minutes and walked over to look for any sign of blood, but nothing. I decided the best option was to walk in the direction I heard the sound. Sure enough, there he lay. A non-typical 6×2 eight pointer.
I called my dad to join me and walk him through my awkward hunt. It was another delightful field experience to add to the memory list. But there was one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around. How did this deer not hear me sneeze! Afterwards I developed the only theory that seemed somewhat plausible. Maybe he thought it was a snort wheeze from another buck?! I guess I’ll never really know. But it’s possible that if I had never sneezed I may have never seen that buck. What a freaking memory!
The Best Part…
Here’s the part of my story that get’s very interesting! Later that evening I was uploading some pictures of my buck to a popular Facebook hunting page called Maryland Bowhunters. It’s important to note that this page has over 3,000 members from throughout the entire state of Maryland. A few minutes after posting them on the page I received a very interesting notification.
It was a trail camera picture of my deer. I was baffled. Living in a time of advanced technology we tend to underestimate the reach of the content we share. The hunter that commented on my post happens to be hunting the property adjacent to ours. What are the chances of that, small world! He proceeded to tell me that my buck was on the top of his hit list this season. He had just captured some nice trail camera photos of him the Monday prior. If this hunt hadn’t been exciting enough this was certainly the icing on the cake. He kindly sent me some great trail camera pictures of my buck. After this interaction I appropriately named this buck “Wanted”. He had quite a few people after him this season. Fortunately, I was the lucky guy who had the opportunity of harvesting this unique deer.
I hope you enjoyed your read. There’s an important take away message embedded in this hunting story. It’s proof that it isn’t the size of the deer or how many antlers it has that matters. It’s the circumstances surrounding the hunt and the memories made that do! I hope you had a memorable hunting season. The off season preparation begins…
Until Next Time…Hunt Hard!