The snow was melting and dropping off the branches and leaves. I had been in the stand for only a few minutes when I heard a deer walking off to my right. It was one deer and too dark to know if it was a doe or buck. Maybe it was the crotch horn. I closed my eyes and listened to the deer walking away from me. At least it didn’t seem spooked; maybe it didn’t know that I was there.
The sky began to get brighter, indicating that the rain predicted was not coming. I dug into my pocket for handwarmers. I tried to keep the crinkling plastic as quiet as I could as I ripped the first side open. I waited before I opened the second warmer to keep my noise at a minimum. When I made the second tear, just the corner came off exposing a hole just big enough to get my pinky into. The second warmer was heating up, but I couldn’t get to it. I wiggled my pinky inside the hole and tried stretching it out. I kept watch from the Sky Condo as I pulled to get the plastic to give.
A brown body emerged and was headed right at me. I put my gloves and handwarmers on the floor in front of me. It was a deer but was it a doe or buck – and how big of a buck. It was on a mission and not out just to nibble on the grass. When I noticed that his right antler swung out beyond his ears, I knew that I needed to shoot him.
In a split second, he lowered his head and I swung the gun onto the railing and got into position for him to turn (hopefully) broadside. He was not stopping and I knew I needed to get a good shot off if I was going to shoot. He started to head towards the woods and the second that I saw him quarter away, I placed my crosshairs and fired.
His back legs kicked out like a bucking bronco and he started running. I had an instant feeling of dread as I watched him run, staggering, between two shooting lanes and then disappearing. I listened but didn’t hear any crashing.
Dad heard my shot and dug his cell phone out to answer my call. I told him that I saw the buck run off but I was pretty sure that I was a good shot. Dad left T3 and headed my way. I climbed down from the Sky Condo and headed over to where I had last seen the buck. I didn’t want to go through the same thing Dad and Hubs had on opening day.
There was blood. A lot of blood. Bright red drops speckled the fresh dirt where he had kicked his legs when I shot. That was a good sign. I was tempted to keep following the blood but wanted to wait for Dad to make sure I didn’t jump a wounded deer.
We decided that I would head away from the Sky Condo and walk up an old skidder trail that would loop me back into the shooting lanes where I had last seen the deer. Dad would track the blood. I got to the top of the little knoll and saw the brown body laying down. His back leg was bend in a position that told me that he was dead. I called over to Dad that I had found my deer; he had dropped exactly where I had last seen him.
I think I got the big crotch horn! I said to Dad and walked over to my buck. I could see the two tines sticking up from his right side. Dad picked up the deer’s head, You got a 6! The brow tines were not big, but they were big enough. I had gotten a 6 pointer – my first one.
He looked as though I had caught him during or right after he checked his rub/scrape line. His antlers were covered with fresh shavings. He was beautiful.
I was thrilled! It seemed like in less than a minute, I went from trying to open my handwarmer to making a great shot on a fantastic 6 pointer. You just never know what’s going to happen when you are in the woods.
Hubs and I both shot 6 pointers, from the same stand, during the same season. We would have plenty of venison in the freezer now. We loaded the deer up, tagged it and brought it home to butcher. He weighed in, dressed, at 144lbs.
It was a great way to end the deer season and I got one deer closer to having even sets of antlers from 2-10 points. Dad still had two more weeks of muzzleloading, if he wanted to hunt, but we had very full freezers now!