11/21/2015, 0600 hours, I made it to the blind. The wind had been brutal on the drive in from Johnson County and I didn't have high hopes. I kept reminding myself I had seen STRONG pre-rut activities last weekend from some young bucks and I was making the right decision.
That morning, when my alarm had gone off at 0400 I almost went back to sleep but my gut told me to get up, so I discarded the covers and abandon the warmth of bed. Eight years of law enforcement has taught me to ALWAYS listen to my gut. I proceeded with my hunting ritual and navigated the back roads to Jack in the Box for a sandwich and coffee. I had cut my hand the night before pretty bad opening a plastic package and I asked the kid working the window if they had any latex gloves, my gut told me I was going to need them. He gave me the most strange look, left the window, returned with a pair, and handed them over. You could tell he wanted to ask, but I just smiled and thanked him. A little mystery in life never hurt anything and I bet he's told that story 50 times since then.
So there I sat in the blind. The place has been in the family forty years and we intimately know the property. I chose to sit in what we call the, "bottom", because it sits lower than the rest of the place and offers some protection from the wind. At 0630 I saw a black form moving out from the woods toward the feeder. I threw up the glass and could see it was a big body deer and it had horns, but that's all I could tell. The shadow buck was nose down and on a mission as he passed through the clearing. At 0642, a lone mature doe came in from the same path as the shadow buck. She was VERY alert of her surroundings and LOOKED like she was being hunted. She did not stop at the feeder to see if anything was left from the prior evening and just trucked through.
At 06:56 I spotted a deer briskly walking through the wooded area 40 yards behind and slightly right of the feeder. By body size I knew he was a buck so I threw up the glass. Nose down and on a mission he was MOVING. Once out of the woods he put his head up. Luckily the glass was still to my eyes and I made the decision instantly. Last weekend I had discovered my go-to rifle, Remmy VTR .308, had acquired a loose rail, so I had lugged 'Maximus' through the woods that morning. 'Maximus' is what I have affectingly dubbed my Remmy 700LR 300 Win Mag.
In hindsight I realized I should have grunted, but I honestly don't know if it would have stopped him. This all happened so fast, from glass to gun in about 5 seconds. I put the cross hairs on the vitals and squeezed. The buck buckled and the bolted. I knew right off the bat the shot could have been better. By the way he ran I thought he was gut shot, but we will re-visit that. The buck ran about 40 yards and then something happened I've never seen before. The buck tripped over something, and went butt over head. It looked like the deer did a flip'n cartwheel, both sets of legs fully extended. My gun was still up and I had already put another round in the chamber. The buck had landed on his side and when he stood up, I was able to put a second round center of shoulder and he dropped.
I walked up on him and instantly had respect for the old scrapper. One of his brow's was broken, he had broken about 3" off his right main beam, and he had scars all over his neck. This isn't the biggest deer I've taken, but it is the biggest ever taken from the place and most definitely the deer with the most character. When I dressed him out I saw that my first shot was a little back but clipped both lungs. I looked around to see what he tripped over but didn't see anything but VERY thankful I was able to put the second shot on him. Every good hunt has a story to be told. This one is mine. Hope you enjoyed the read.