For most of Nick Fauber’s life, spending time outdoors meant puttering around a golf course. That was before his cousin, Chris, convinced him to give hunting a try.
The first time the Hillsboro, Ohio, golfer traded his clubs for a shotgun, back in 2007, he shot a doe. Chris and Rob Shipley, Nick’s brother-in-law, took him under their wings.
While scouting prior to the 2008 gun opener, Nick and Rob stumbled across a huge scrape on Nick’s parents’ 60-acre Highland County farm. They set up a trail camera the weekend before Thanksgiving and checked it the Friday afterward.
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While reviewing the photos, the guys were first surprised to see pictures of Chris cutting firewood. Their cousin, aware that he was being photographed, even posed for them – time-stamped: 3:30. A couple of hours after Chris left, a monstrous buck was mugging for the camera.
None of the guys had any idea a buck of that magnitude was living on the farm. Nick and Rob bowhunted the place that evening and saw nothing. They couldn’t return during the weekend.
On Monday, opening day of the weeklong firearms season, all three guys hunted the farm, though nobody ventured too close to where the photos of the big buck were taken. The wind was brutal.
Nick returned to work on Tuesday, but his mind was at the farm. The weather was clear with little to no breeze. Around noon, he couldn't stand it any longer. He called his brother-in-law to see if he wanted to accompany him. Although Rob had planned to hunt in neighboring Ross County that evening, he agreed.
When they arrived at the farm. Rob headed for a place next to a picked soybean field. Nick chose a wooded draw closer to where the big buck had been photographed.
The trek to his stand was slow because sounds were amplified in the stillness. It was after 3:00 when Nick settled in for the rest of the afternoon.
Around 4:25, three does appeared on the ridge in front of him. While watching them, he happened to look to the right and spotted a small 6-point buck at the edge of the creek. And not far behind it was a bigger buck.
Nick was stunned. He hoped the buck was the one that had stepped in front of the trail camera, but he couldn’t be sure because the deer was facing him. The photos had been taken as the buck was walking away.
As the huge whitetail closed the distance from 100 yards, a million thoughts rushed through Nick’s head. His heart was pounding wildly when he recognized the turned-downed main beams and drop tines as the buck paused to look at the 6-pointer. That's when he realized it was the buck they'd photographed.
While Nick's attention was on the big buck, the 3x3 wandered down the creek bed and was directly behind Nick’s tree. The three does he'd first seen on the ridge were 10 yards in front of him. Nick knew that if the big buck followed its junior, he wouldn't get a shot. It was too thick.
Please come to the does, he pleaded.
With his 20 gauge, a gift from his brother-in-law, shouldered, Nick watched as the behemoth paused at the creek for a quick drink. Afterward, the buck started toward the does.
When the deer stopped at 40 yards and presented a quartering-to target, Nick touched the trigger.
Immediately afterward, Nick called Rob and exclaimed, “I got the big one!”
After hanging up, he called his wife, Cathy, dad, uncle and cousin. Within minutes, everyone was standing in the woods sharing celebratory hugs and high-fives while admiring the magnificent specimen.