This story takes place in November of 2008
Our family has had the same deer hunting land north of Greenbush, MN since 1971. My Grandpa and Dad have taken several nice bucks on the land over the years and finally in 2006, I got my first wall hanger in the cabin. Usually, the group is Grandpa, Dad, my two brothers, and myself. We always see plenty of deer and usually one or two really nice bucks on opening weekend of rifle, but in 2008 we hadn’t seen a thing on Saturday or Sunday. Also, this year was different because my brothers were not able to make it and Grandpa decided it was nicer sitting in the cabin than in a stand. So, it was just Dad and I through the weekend as well as Monday and Tuesday. We had decided before that we would plan on leaving Tuesday afternoon.
Our land is about 120 acres and we have 7 stands on the property. My dad usually hunts the East field and I usually hunt the North East field. Also, for the last 3 years, I have used my Dad’s old 30’6, since he bought a new rifle in 2005. This was the same gun I used to take the 8-pointer in 2006.
So, like I said, we haden’t seen a thing on Saturday or Sunday and when Monday rolled around, it was still quiet as quiet could be. That night in the cabin over some beverages, we discussed how we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t even SEEN a deer. We talked about leaving the next morning after cleaning up, but decided that we would hunt until about 1:00 the next day and leave after that. How I wish we would have left right away Tuesday morning.
So, the next morning we cleaned up, had breakfast and went out the stands a little later (about 8:00). We planned on being out there till 1:00 and then go home. It was a nice day, low wind and sunshine and about 20 degrees. The field that I have my stand in (the NE) is about 150 yards long and 50 yards wide. We had an earth mover out to make it about 4 years ago, so there is a burm of dirt about 10 feet high on the North East side of the field and a couple pine trees in the middle. My stand is on the South West side of the field, right in the middle of the tree line and directly across from the pine trees and the burm. I spent the morning watching the ruffed grouse mess around in the field and thinking that we were probably going to get shut out. Then, at around 11:45, I heard a stick crack. I looked up and all I saw was a NICE rack just over the burm, directly across from me. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t see the body, but it was one of the nicest 8 point racks I had seen. Probably just a year away from being a 10. Well, the buck climbed up to the top of the burm and just stood there, looking at me at eye level. The body was BIG. There was some grey around the neck and I thought that he might dress out around 200lbs. I froze and thought about moving slowly for my gun that was leaning up against the railing of the stand, but I decided to just watch for a bit. After about a minute stare down with this guy, he looked down and walked into the field moving just a little more south and west than my stand. As he was going behind the pine trees in the middle, I grabbed the rifle and scoped him up. I couldn’t believe my luck and smiled when I got him in the cross hairs…I mean, all I could see was brown! So, as he stood broadside from me at around 20 yards, I chose my spot behind his right shoulder and pulled the trigger. Well, I had the feeling of complete shock when all I heard was CLICK. I looked down at the chamber and noticed that when I had put the shell in that morning, it hadn’t closed fully. Freaking out now, and with the deer looking right at me wondering what the hell was going on, I tried to eject the shell and load another. Well, the first didn’t eject and the second one went in just fine. By now, I’m in full panic mode. I could have thrown my gun at this buck and instead I saw him slowly scamper to the other side of the field and disappear into the brush. I was so upset by this point and had no idea what to do, so I took off to my Dad’s stand to tell him what happened. When he saw me coming he knew something was wrong and asked me “what happened?” I told him and he said to me blank faced…”Oh, yeah. That gun sticks every now and then. All you had to do was nudge it closed”. Well, after that advice, I went back to my stand and worked myself up so much about missing the biggest deer I had ever seen that I gave my breakfast to the field below my stand. What could’ve been the biggest deer I’ve shot and have it happen right before we left after sitting and seeing nothing for four days, turned into the first shut out in probably ten years. The ride home was hell.
Hopefully, next year I’ll have the story about how I nailed that S.O.B that got away in 08′.
Posted by Guest Poster on June 3, 2009
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