The Hunt Dreams are Made of
It’s not every day a man gets to witness something as special as a potential typical whitetail deer record being taken. This is the story of the time I had the opportunity to witness the hunt dreams are made of first hand.
It was no secret that there was a buck on the property that dwarfed other bucks. He was old. He was sly. And he was smart. This deer did not get big by simply surviving on the property, he thrived. This buck was special.
The day this legend was harvested is one I will never forget. Fortunately, I was given the chance to guide a hunter that wanted that buck. After seeing the pictures we had of him in velvet he fell in love.
This day was a warm one. It was mid September in mid Missouri and that means heat and humidity. That time of year there is a small window of opportunity to catch bucks feeding, but they quickly retreat to their cooler bedding areas. This buck did exactly that and we had to go after him.
He was bedding in the big thick draws on the east side of the ranch. These draws are particularly hard to hunt due to tree tops littering the ground from old logging practices. The heavy dew gave us an advantage to sneak quietly through the thick brush to hopefully spot the buck. Jason and I made our way into the draw with high confidence that the buck would be in there. The conditions set up perfect for a downhill stalk with the wind blowing across the drain.
We snuck ever so slowly into the draw until we spotted him bedding looking downhill on the other side of a fallen log. The adrenaline really set in at this point. We knew he was huge but you cannot prepare for seeing a deer of this caliber, even as a guide. One step at a time going so gruelingly slow. We knew if this deer jumped from his bed there was a slim chance we would catch up with him again.
Finally after what seemed like hours, we made it within range with a small opening in the underbrush to shoot through. We stopped and got comfortable. I found myself nervously talking the hunter through the steps of making a perfect shot. We had to shoot this deer laying down, which is less than ideal but can be done successfully. The rifle went off and the deer calmly laid his head on the ground. We gave the buck a few minutes to be sure he was expired and to gather ourselves.
Little did we know how big this deer actually was. He was built like a horse with a 300+ pound body. His antlers were something out of a fantasy. He was an old legend no doubt. He was scarred up from fighting, and each one was just as mesmerizing. To this old warrior I say, thank you. I can only describe this experience as a blessing. This deer and hunt will live on forever in my dreams and memories!
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