After seeing several deer during archery season with no shot opportunities, I decided to give it a go on Saturday morning with the boomstick at my favorite public land spot.
On my way in, I notice a solid rub on a mesquite and two scrapes about 75 yards from my stand. Had not seen any such sign in the area during archery season. Promising start to the morning
All was quiet until about 8:45, when I looked to my left and saw this buck walking down the same trail, only 30 yards away. Never heard him coming! No kidding, I was so surprised that I said "holy cr@p" out loud. I quickly notice his inside spread is past the ears so it's on.
He takes a good look at me, so I avert my eyes and turn into stone. Anyone else do that? I swear they can "feel" the eye contact. Eventually he decided that blob in the tree was harmless and continued down the hill a few steps and turned off the trail.
He was behind some cover now so I went into go mode and got my shotgun up. As he cleared the cover he was quartering to me so I put the crosshairs in front of his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. He drops on the spot, kicks a little, and is done. Wahoo! Got both lungs and some collateral damage. Took me a minute to process it because everything happened so fast! That, and I have never shot a "real" buck before - best was a small-racked 5 pointer - despite hunting since I was a kid in the northeast.
This is my first buck on public land, and easily my best overall. Not a bruiser to most folks, but an absolute dandy to me. His right antler is pretty funky, with a decent-sized kicker sticking out of the rear of the base, a G2 that sprouts behind[i][/i] the brow tine and only an inch away, and another kicker off the back of the antler about halfway up. Lots of character to study and enjoy.