A Big Buck Story
As hunters, we often reminisce about memorable times spent in the woods. These thoughts sometimes impact us on a spiritual level, and leave us yearning for more at the end of each deer season. On October 24th, 2011 I had the privilege of experiencing such a memory.
Here is my story:
It was a chilly October morning on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was early season muzzleloader, and my father and I had made the annual journey down to our hunting trailer in Pocomoke City. The clock read 5:00 am when we quietly parked the Dodge Ram pickup truck at the edge of our hunting path. We both maneuvered our weapons from the back seat. Mine, a bear charge compound bow. My father’s an 80’s style winchester muzzleloader. As we both accounted for our gear I took a moment to gaze up at the boundless ceiling of stars floating in the sky. There was something special about this moment. Perhaps an indication of the events to come.
We took off down the trail which would lead us both to our respective hunting areas. As we approached my father’s location we quietly exchanged words of encouragement and I watched him disappear into the darkness. I had about 500 meters left to travel before sunrise so I continued down the trail racing the morning light. A pink ribbon dangling from a tree indicated my exit from the trail. I followed the sequence of ribbons through the woods until I reached the entrance of my hunting blind. I quickly settled in and sat down to watch the woods slowly come alive with the rising sun.
It was about 7:45 am and I had yet to see any sign of deer movement. The air was crisp and the sunlight was beginning to creep through the canopy of trees around me. It was a calm and peaceful moment.
A hyper alert state immediately took over my peace of mind. The shot clearly came from the direction of my father’s location. I anxiously waited for his call to acknowledge that he’d taken the shot. Minutes flew by, and nothing. Finally – Ring. I promptly answered the call. His unsure words murmured “I just took a shot at a BIG buck, but I think I missed”. I didn’t believe it. I grabbed my gear and hustled to get to his location. When I arrived I saw him scanning the ground feverishly for any sign of blood. But nothing.
Then, almost simultaneously we both noticed a small speck of blood on an overturned leaf. It wasn’t a promising sign, but revealed that he had indeed made contact. One speck at a time we followed the blood into a thick condensed deer trail. We both crept through the narrow pathway with our eyes peeled to the ground. We soon came to a ‘T’ on the trail. I peered to my right and caught a glimpse of a massive rack engulfing the entire width of the path. We both were ecstatic, and stood there in disbelief. It was the biggest deer we both had ever seen before. It’s body was massive, neck thick, and antler mass was impressive. I took a moment to congratulate my father and take some pictures before calling for assistance to help drag this monster out.
The big buck was a symmetric ten point and weighed in at about 220 lbs. I felt the name ‘Bruiser’ was appropriate, “A big, old, heavy, fighter of a buck”. It was a hunt that I’ll never forget, and a memory that I hold dear to my heart. Until next time…..Hunt Hard!