Awesome 2016!


Jan 17, 2011
2016 has been a banner year for me! I've never shot two bucks in one season, but this year I had two occasions where I shot a 9 point bigger than any other buck in my life.

A gentleman from another site (hint: see my hat) invited me in 2010 to put in for points in an area he knows well in SD. I finally drew the "any deer" tag I'd coveted for 6 years. My intention was to go after a trophy mule deer, and on the first day I passed up a dozen bucks, mostly mulies. At one point I had 6 mulie bucks feeding in a clearing w/ some does just 300 yds in front of me. That experience alone would have made the whole trip for me! Of those dozen I passed up 3 whitetails, 2 of which were bigger than I'd ever shot.

That's the first day.

The second day my son and I were exhausted. I really leaned a lot on this trip; I have GOT to learn to slow down and pace myself.

Anyway we hunted more level ground that second day. The wind was really strong, and as we returned to the car walking with the wind this buck jumped up at full speed. My internal Michigander kicked in after seeing the G2s (but being short on time, I couldn't assess the outside spread) and I raised my .300 Weatherby to shoot but the sling was under my chest compression strap! I finally got my rifle free, swung through him and missed clean. He kicked it into high gear and I reminded myself "skeet" and swung by his nose as he started up the other side of the dried river bank. He rolled head over hoof, kicking as he slid down into the cottonwood choked riverbed.

He was a friggin LUG!

I came home from that hunt, worked the week of Thanksgiving, and left Saturday morning with a hunting partner to meet up with another individual I met on that other site in Pennsylvania. They have an old school hunting camp on a mountain just north of 80 in the middle of the state.

Opening morning I traversed about a quarter of the way up the mountain to a huge draw that spilled from the bench down into a deep deadfall- & laurel-choked ravine. I arrived late and was rather irritated with myself as there was a great deal of frost on the oak leaf-covered ground, making a huge racket. Fortunately a pileated woodpecker swooped so close to my head that I could hear its feathers. I took this as a good sign and perked up, standing at sharper attention next to my tree.

Thanks to those leaves I could hear deer side hilling toward me up the side of the lower ridge toward the draw. I got ready and confirmed the first two were does, but knew from his gait that the third was a buck. A slight glance through the binos was barely necessary in spite of the three on a side minimum, and I put the Montana sling around my arm, leaning into the tree. He stepped from behind a tree and I fired as he quartered away from me, aiming behind his left shoulder toward the front of his right shoulder. At the shot he did a complete 180 and ran back down the trail he was on, and I fired again quickly hoping to tap into whatever had possessed me in South Dakota. I listened as he crashed down the hill, and then dead silence.

I walked down to where he'd been when I shot him and there was a lot of blood. I followed it around the side of the ridge following a trail formed over many years of deer travel until it just stopped. I sat down to get my bearings, slow myself down, and re access, and as I was glancing up to the blood trail and back down I heard a strange noise and thrashing in the laurel way down at the bottom. I pulled up my binos and couldn't see anything, and then I heard the noises again and caught movement... an antler... he was buried in the laurel and when he'd move I could see him but otherwise he was invisible. I got my rifle up and waited for him to move, followed his antlers down to where his neck should be, then his shoulders, and fired the coup de grace.

When I turned to follow I found the blood trail again; he'd dumped straight down the mountain falling as he went, leaving a ton of blood the whole way.

This is the stuff I found him in

And here he is once I yanked him out

This is the stream bed at the bottom of the ravine

I knew the guys would prefer a whole deer to hang proudly on their buck pole so I chose to drag him. The cabin was less than a half mile away but with that steep ravine it may as well have been a half million so I dragged him for several hours through he laurel and down the creek bed to the road, with two helpers coming and lending a much needed hand after about 2.5 hours and allowing me a pic w/ my trophy.

I can't say enough about the great guys whose hospitality helped me to such an awesome year! The generosity of folks who know so little about me was astounding and I've never had a bad experience meeting up with the many of you who I've had the privilege of getting to know. Pretty awesome!

As a side note... I recovered the bullet from that last shot... a 100 gr NBT, but found out just before I got home that a connection within our fridge popped and flooded our kitchen & dining room spilling into the basement so my scale and everything is buried temporarily.

It went through the front shoulders and was nicely mushroomed against the offside hide, a heavy jacket and tiny little lead core separate.

I'll put up a report in bullet test when I get the numbers.

I hope everyone is having an awesome season!!
Excellent account of a couple of great hunts. Yeah, some of the finest people we can ever meet are fellow hunters/shooters. I've met one or two when travelling down into the lower forty-eight, and several of us Canucks have met up for some great times. There may be exceptions to this rule, but hunters/shooters are among the best people we could ever meet. Congratulations on a couple of great bucks.