The anticipation that leads to the magical date of Nov.15 can easily be summed up to children on Christmas eve anxiously waiting to open their presents….absolute excitement. This year started out like many before.
I came down from the U.P. to hunt with my father in lower Michigan’s big buck country. From the moment I left my truck and told my dad “through the heart” I couldn’t help but notice what a great morning it was going to be. The sky was clear, the stars were out and it was a brisk 36 degrees. Once my eyes acclimated to the low light, I flicked off my flashlight to not spook any deer.
I have to walk 3/4 of a mile across a plowed corn field to get to my position and as I walked closer to the woodlot, I heard a buck grunting in the woods as he was chasing a doe. There was only 200 yards to go but it was too late, the adrenaline started to pump through my body and I still couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me. The last 200 yards seemed like it took an hour. I was walking across the corn rows so carefully to not make any noise. I finally settled into position and heard deer all around me walking in the woods. It was slowly getting light enough to make out shapes when after about an hour I saw some does working there way out of the woods. It always amazes me how the deer are so in tune with there surroundings.
Shots started to blast off all around in different directions and only occasionally did they pop up there heads to look around, obviously not an imminent threat to them. They continued feeding into the field when all of a sudden I heard a couple buck grunts in the woods to my left. I slowly positioned my gun in that direction and tried to keep an eye on the deer in the field. The sound of deer running through leaves always gets me excited but on too many occasions when I was expecting a monster buck to step out, a fox squirrel appeared. So as I was focusing all my attention to the woods I saw a deer run out into the field. I scanned through my scope and saw a little 3 point buck chasing a doe, which he quickly forced back into the woods. After a couple minutes of them playing tag, my adrenaline rush subsided and I could relax and enjoy the show.
During all the excitement I didn’t notice how close 2 does moved towards me as they were feeding, both within 20 yards. All I could think was thank god the wind was in my favor and try not to blink too much. At that moment I caught something out of my peripheral. A flash of antler in the woods. When I turned my attention back towards the woods I saw a buck heading my way. I thought to myself that’s not the 3 point and when I looked though my scope at him……1,2,3,4,5 points on the right side, it’s a shooter!
Adrenaline releases through my body and I’m caught in an awkward shooting position. He looks at the deer in front of me and walks out into the field facing me with his nose to the ground, not presenting me with a broadside shot. I thought about shooting him between his shoulder blades and decided their was to much room for error. As he lifted his head and turned to look at another doe, I moved into a steadier position and exhaled all the air out of my lungs as I squeezed the trigger. The cross-hairs were nestled on the center of his neck. There’s only 2 sounds I want my guns to make…click and boom. The buck dropped in his tracks and the rest of the deer around me scattered as if it were a Chinese fire drill.
I quickly reloaded and sat there waiting for the excitement to settle. I couldn’t believe what just happened and how quickly it transpired. I sat there congratulating myself on a job well done and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the cloudy skies actually opened up and the sun was shining down. If this wasn’t one of those moments in life that touches you to the soul I don’t know what is. Opening day was good to me this year!