The Buck of a Lifetime
Patience, perseverance and passion. These three attributes are key to being a successful hunter. Grueling through long uneventful hunting outings isn’t an easy task. Nor is staying positive after a missed opportunity at harvesting a deer.
But this is when our passion for hunting and the outdoors comes full circle. We push past these mental barriers in pursuit of a successful outcome to a hunt, no matter what. In doing so we allow the improbable chance of harvesting a mature buck to actually materialize.
In fact, this type of dedication accurately describes the characteristics and hunting season my close friend, Jerry Housand, had this year. Jerry and I go way back. We’ve spent many years hunting our Eastern Shore property together. He knows better than most what it takes to harvest a mature whitetail. This year his patience, perseverance and passion were put to test. In the end his ability to push past these mental thresholds resulted in him harvesting a deer of a lifetime.
Here’s his story…
It was opening week of Maryland’s rifle season. I had hunted through wind, rain and warm weather Sunday-Thursday without any sign of deer. The last two days of my hunting trip had quickly arrived. My hopes of harvesting a mature buck or simply filling the freezer with meat were quickly diminishing.
My Friday morning hunt had concluded as uneventful as the previous days. I was mentally defeated to say the least. But my lust for a successful harvest pushed me to continue. The property owner and close friend, Dean, asked if I’d be interested in hunting his stand that evening. It was nicknamed the Taj Mahal. It’s a custom built stand, one that every hunter dreams of. The name appropriately fit the bill. I accepted his offer and set out Friday evening grateful for a change of scenery.
It was 15 minutes until dusk and I still hadn’t seen any deer. When out of nowhere, a small doe stepped out into the clearing about 50 yards away. I was hunting for meat at this point so I contemplated taking a shot. But my intuition told me to let her walk. About 5 minutes passed and I started to second guess my decision to pass her up. At this point I only had a few minutes left of shooting light. When again, out of nowhere, a mature doe walked out about 75-100 yards into the clearing. I told myself, “this is the one”. I pulled my gun up, took the shot and drilled her. She ran about 25 yards and dropped in the cornfield. As I ejected my shell I noticed movement behind the doe in the brush. I stared harder and realized it was a big set of antlers looking in the direction of where my doe had expired. My heart began to race, this was the biggest buck I’d ever seen while hunting before. He stepped out into the open, I pull my gun up, looked through the scope and all I could make out was his silhouette. I adjusted myself to allow enough light in the scope for me to make a good shot. I pulled the trigger and “Click”. I’ve hunted with this rifle for the past 15 years, and my father before that, and not once had it ever misfired. Panic ensued, I was sure I had missed my opportunity. I ejected the shell as quietly as possible and got myself focused again. I aimed at the sweet spot and pulled the trigger, “BANG”. The shot went off, he started jogging off about 25 yards away from me. With my adrenaline pumping I fired another round, knowing it wasn’t even close. Just as quickly as it happened it was over. He quickly disappeared into the woods. I was doubtful that I had made a good shot. Buck fever set in and I was shaking with excitement. I prayed that I’d finally harvested my trophy buck, after hunting on this property my entire life. After allowing myself to calm down I began packing up my gear. My father called and asked if I had shot. I replied with something like, “I may have just shot the biggest deer of my life”.
I climbed down, located the doe and dragged her to back to the trail. I started looking for any sign that I had hit the buck, but nothing. Panic set in and I was starting to fear that I had missed. Help then arrived and I explained the experience of my hunt. I couldn’t stomach the possibility that I had missed this buck. That’s when I heard, “I got blood”. I was like a kid on Christmas day waiting to unwrap my gifts. I walked over and saw a small pin drop of blood. I now knew I had made contact, but did I make a good shot? I walked about 10 yards and found another little drop of blood. Walked another 10-15 yards and another, and another. I followed those pin drops for about 75 yards. My recovery party was uncertain that I had made a kill shot. But in my mind I wasn’t giving up. I asked my father to shine his spotlight in the direction that the blood was leading. Sure enough, about 30 yards off there he lay. I ran over, poked him with my rifle to ensure he was dead. No movement, I jumped on him and just grabbed his rack like I’d just hit the Powerball. It was a moment I will never forget. Being able to enjoy the moment with my father made it even better. It goes to show you that patience, perseverance and passion will one day prove to make you successful in your hunting endeavors…
Another great hunting story. It’s even better when it’s told by a good friend. Hunting can be compared to our journey in life. It beats us up, test’s our character, and success doesn’t typically come easy. But it’s successful hunts like this that make all the hardships that we endure well worth it.
I hope you enjoyed the story. If you have a compelling hunting experience that you’d like featured on Outdoor Entrepreneurs, I want to hear from you. Itching to read another hunting story? Here’s another good one to satisfy your addiction, Big Buck Story.
Until next time….Hunt Hard!