Departed friends and a big buck made 2011 something special.
Last year was really different at our hunting camp in Brooksville, Fla. We had gathered as usual, but one of our hunting buddies had passed away, and we had lost two more during the season. Let’s just say we all did some serious reflecting while passing the time on stand.
Despite our losses, we tried to stay positive and keep things fun at camp, just as our buddies would have wanted.
I managed to shoot a nice 5-pointer on opening morning. Our group had a pool for whoever took the buck with the most points, and the guys had a good time teasing me that someone would get a small 6-pointer and beat me.
One day I was out with fellow member R.O., who had made a plaque to hang on a tree in camp. The plaque honored our departed friends and marked the camp they had hunted for more than 30 years.
After putting up the plaque, we decided to head out to scout an area I had hunted the previous season. We immediately saw lots of fresh deer tracks.
We made plans to hunt there the next day, and R.O. decided he would hunt about 500 yards east of my old spot. I opted to put a little distance between us, so I continued down the road about 200 yards. I then took a fire trail and walked another 500 yards down the trail.
I cleaned out an area in some myrtle bushes and sat overlooking a heavy trail I suspect was the same trail we had found all the sign on the day before.
As I sat in my chair and thought about my deceased hunting buddies, I asked them to send me a big buck. After further thought, I told them even a long spike would do.
I got out a cigarette and was about to light it when I heard a noise to my right. I dropped the lighter and slowly moved my hand to the safety of my .30-06 pump. As I turned my head, a beautiful 11-point buck walked out and looked right at me.
I thought, You’re busted! meaning myself, not the buck.
He began to bolt, and I quickly shouldered the rifle and fired. The buck went down, but looked like he might still have some fight left in him. I fired again and felt confident that had done the job.
I grabbed my walkie-talkie to tell R.O. I had a deer down, but when I keyed the mike, the buck tried to run again. I moved as close as I thought was safe and finished him with a final shot.
After I talked to R.O., he brought me a deer hauler. Of course he couldn’t help teasing me as we made our way back to the truck. “Anyone ... anyone but you,” he said.
When we got back to camp, I told the guys no mere 6-pointer was going to win the pool, and we all had some good laughs as we admired the buck and I told the story.
When the season ended, I did, indeed, win our buck pool. I had a great buck for the wall, and I somehow earned a new nickname: Three-Shot Art.
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This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.