Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

A damp cold greeted me when I walked outside this morning. There was a slight breeze out of the west and the chill struck me to the bone. Before heading into the woods, I knew it would be one of those days that would make it difficult to stay warm. I stuffed my pack full of the essential I might need and headed out early. I planned on still-hunting for the day due to the dampness, and I had a general idea where I wanted to go.

I wanted to cover enough ground before daylight to allow me to be in a good area to start hunting when I could see to shoot. My plan worked perfectly. When the woods became alive, I felt good about my chances. I saw a few fresh tracks here and there on my walk, and more tracks appeared in front of me as I picked a direction to travel.

After sorting through a handful of tracks, I found one that garnered attention and chose to tackle it. I could smell the buck’s hocks, and I knew I wasn’t far behind him. I was sure he was probably circling the area to intercept a hot doe. I liked my odds. As. I began doing my 3-step and 5-step stops, I lost myself in the moment. Before long, I was totally immersed in the chase.

Suddenly, some movement caught my attention, and I could see a buck. Instantly, I moved the two-position safety forward and got ready to take the first available shot. Fighting with the devil on my shoulder to shoot, I waited until I had what I thought was the best shot I was going to get. Then, I slowly squeezed the trigger.

The buck’s legs collapsed and the mountain monarch fell to the ground. I had anchored him in his tracks. Excitedly, I rushed to the fallen animal. I knew he had a big rack and couldn’t wait to see it up close. When I got over the small knob and looked at him, I was ecstatic. However, that’s when I noticed that one antler was broken . There wasn’t anything beyond the brow tine on the deer’s right side. Although I was disappointed, I was still pretty pumped up. I knew it was a big, mature mountain buck, and deer of that caliber are hard to catch up to.

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