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Just wanted to share one of my most memorable rifle hunts.

Some of the best hunting memories of mine resulted in days I didn’t fill a tag. I wanted to share one of those memories today with the HPA community. If you are anything like me, I love spending time outdoors, and find every hunt successful whether or not a tag was filled.

This particular memory was early on in my hunting career, on the first day of rifle. I was in 8th grade this particular hunting season. I already tasted success as I harvested a doe with a slug gun in 6th grade, a doe with a bow in 7th grade, and another doe with the bow earlier in archery season this year of which I’m writing. I did not shoot a buck yet, so I was getting excited to tag one. Also, this was my brother’s first time ever hunting.

My father had purchased me a 20 gauge single shot for small game when I turned 12. I felt comfortable with this gun as I had experience in operating it many times while small game hunting and shooting clay birds. However, my father wanted me to take his 16 gauge instead because it could hold 5 slugs in comparison to the one slug my 20 guage could hold. His gun wasn’t necessarily new to me, but I wasn’t as comfortable with it as my 20 gauge, but regardless, I took the 16 gauge instead. I pleaded my case that I really liked my 20 gauge better, but he still said the 16 gauge would be better suited for deer.

Early in the morning, we headed out to breakfast. We ate, and got to the base of the mountain to begin our uphill journey to the treestand. I absolutely love walking through the woods in the early morning with a flashlight. It’s so peaceful and quiet. The smell of fresh leaves and dirt filled the mountain air.

Finally, we arrived at the treestand my father had built. He and my brother were going to hunt out of it while I hunted about 150 yards or so to their west, still within sight distance. 2 way radios were a new thing for us, so we had them for communication purposes this year.

It was time to load the slugs. I had slippery wool gloves my grandfather had given me for today’s hunt. It was dead quiet out, so I attempted to load the gun as quietly as possible. I put the slug in the barrel, and very, very slowly and quietly pushed the slide forward. 4 more slugs were placed in the gun. As the sun neared the horizon, I could begin to see gray trees. Anticipation was building for sunrise in 20 minutes or so when it would get light enough to shoot.

I believe the time was just after 7:00 AM or so. It was getting light, but the sun was hidden because we were on the north face of the mountain. I glanced directly to my west and I thought I saw a rack headed straight towards me. At about 60 yards, I confirmed it was a beautiful white racked 8 point and a spike which were walking straight towards my tree! This buck had almost a 20 inch spread with tall tines. I remembered my grandfather gave me a coupon the night before for 20% off of a taxidermy bill. I thought I’d never need it, but then I thought for sure it would be put to good use with this buck as he was walking in towards me.

My heart was pounding. At 50 yards or so, I slowly raised the gun. The 2 buck were walking on a course to bring them right under my tree. I was waited until they were closer for a slam dunk shot. It was amazing how patient I was to allow them to get even closer. At about 30 yards, the buck was facing me. I put the bead right on the front of his chest. The buck looked right at me. I pushed the safety off. I slowly pulled the trigger. CLICK. The gun did not shoot!! I was so disappointed. I didn’t know what was wrong. Since the buck were walking straight towards me, and if they proceeded in the same direction, they would walk straight towards my brother and father. So, I kept the gun up and didn’t move a muscle.

However, the buck had enough. He didn’t like my shape in the tree. So he walked off to the north and then to the west from the direction he came. I picked up my radio and started talking to my dad. I explained to him that the gun didn’t go off and that I saw a beautiful trophy buck and a spike. I was telling him I should’ve brought the 20 gauge because I would’ve killed the buck very easily. He calmed me down and talked me through the process of loading the gun again. The slippery wool gloves and my attempt at being quiet while loading the gun resulted in the mistake I made. I didn’t push the slide up far enough. I was so upset at myself.

It was still early, and the gun was now loaded properly. I overhead some talk on the radio regarding the 2 buck I just encountered. The guy said there was a spike and a big racked buck he jumped at the top of the mountain. I often think that buck was shot by one of the people in their hunting party later on that day, but I’ll never know.

Right around lunchtime shots shattered the silence. I loved the sound. Sounded like 3 cannons being fired behind me. I knew it was from my brother and father before I even turned around. Before I turned around to look in their direction, I remember wishing it was my father shooting because he’d only shoot at a buck. Sure enough, I turned around. There was my father standing up with the rifle on his shoulder shooting to the south. He fired 2 more shots. A big buck with a deformed rack proceeded to run towards me. I shouldered the slug gun. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The buck finally fell. He got back up! BOOM! I radioed my dad and said he was down and then it got back up and went for some thick cover.

My dad got down out of the tree. He began looking for blood where he shot at the deer. It took him forever to walk the 100-150 yards to my tree while following the trail. I was so excited to go find this buck I shot!! I explained to him where I saw the buck fall. He walked up to it, but couldn’t see it. I said over the radio he is right in that cover. Go a bit farther. BOOM! BOOM! I hear 2 shots. The buck was still alive, but my father finally put him down for the count.

I climbed down my tree to meet my father and brother. He said he found blood from his shots before the buck reached my tree. He was amazed the buck didn’t die from his 30.06 shots earlier and also the slugs I put in him.

We walked up to the buck. A huge bodied deer. Heaviest deer my dad has ever shot for sure. We found several holes in him form bullets/slugs. My dad tagged him, and cleaned him out. We left him there and resumed the quest for me and my brother to shoot a deer for the afternoon hunt.

Later in the afternoon, BOOM! My brother shot a doe! It was amazing! He used my dad’s 30.06 and made a great shot on her. We cleaned her out, and made the downhill drag with her and all our gear. We left the buck and came back for him well after dark. We were probably the last hunters out of the woods that day.

Even though I didn’t fill my tag, it was probably the most exciting first day of rifle I can remember. Saw 7 different bucks, my dad filled his tag, and my brother shot his first deer ever! It was an experience I will not soon forget, and tops the list on my favorite hunts ever. Thanks for reading!
 

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Great Story Double!!

Isn't is exciting when you hear shots and know that they came from one of your group. I anxiously await the sharp crack of Dads 284 Win resonating though the hollow every year!!

You said it best that "every hunt is successful whether or not a tag was filled" Thats hitting the nail on the head right there
 

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That sounds like an action packed day for sure . Sounds like one tough old buck you had between you and your dad . I am sure you were happy for both he and your brother taking his first deer . I enjoyed reading the story and wish you luck in the seasons ahead !....Finn
 

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If you are anything like me, I love spending time outdoors, and find every hunt successful whether or not a tag was filled.
Then we're very much alike in that regards


Great story, thanks!!
 

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BcozHunter said:
If you are anything like me, I love spending time outdoors, and find every hunt successful whether or not a tag was filled.
+1 GREAT post !


Then we're very much alike in that regards


Great story, thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. Glad you liked it. I'll share more stories in the future. I really enjoy sharing stories with fellow sportsmen and also reading other hunters' experiences.
 

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Nice peice of writing to capture what sounded like a great day.
 

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Double Lung 20 said:
Thanks guys. Glad you liked it. I'll share more stories in the future. I really enjoy sharing stories with fellow sportsmen and also reading other hunters' experiences.
Then you are in the right place !
 

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Great story. It really is great when you hear a close shot and know it's one of your family or friends. I've been lucky enough to have gotten a bunch over the years, so I love hearing the young'uns rifles make a little noise, even more than making a little noise myself! It's great in those hills.
 

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Great story! Thank you very much for sharing it with us. I remember hunting with my Dad many years ago. I really miss him, particularly in hunting season.
 

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Great story thanks for sharing to bad you didnt get that big boy but thats what makes hunting so great you dont always get what your after if you got one every single time you go out it would take all the allure out of it
 

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great story. I don't get out rifle hunting much any more but your story brings back great memories of opening morning with my dad and brother. Keep the stories coming
 
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