My story begins with the bow season of 1996 in Clanton, AL. My friend and I had leased about 400 acres of land to hunt on. This is the third year we have hunted on it. Up until then, I haven't had any luck at all. Any hunter knows it takes a while to know the land and movements of the deer in a certain location. This bow season I have had encounters with two huge 8 points which both are hanging on my wall now.
I was hunting in a tree stand one cold windy Saturday morning not expecting to see anything when suddenly two huge 8 points came across a ridge that I was sitting on. They were coming straight at me until they came to the trail that I had walked to my tree stand. Smelling the trail the two huge bucks stopped in their tracks. Looking down on them about 20 feet in the air and 30 yards away, my heart was just racing. The largest buck kept pawing the ground knowing that something was wrong. By this time, I already had by bow drawn back but the wind was blowing a tree in front of me back and forth, so I was unable to get a shot. I could see him, but he couldn't see me, but he knew I was there. I guess I sat and looked at him for about 30 minutes. I drew back for a minute, but I was unable to keep my bow at draw any longer, so I slowly let down. As I let down, he caught the movement and turned with tail high in the air. Back over the ridge they went.
As I hunted the rest of the bow season I never saw them again. Then gun season opened. By this time, it was in the middle of the rut. One extremely cold morning I made my way back into the same location where I had been hunting the huge bucks. With my tree stand already hung, I was easing into the woods about an hour before daylight. The ground was cold enough so that ice was spewing out of it. I eased my way to my tree stand as quietly as possible. Sitting in my tree stand before daylight I could hear something coming in behind me through the pine thicket. As it came closer I noticed it was a doe walking very fast as if being chased by something. I watched as she passed by about 15 feet under my tree stand. I started thinking that maybe a big buck was in pursuit.
As I waited, my fingers, nose, ears, and toes were so cold they were about to fall off, at least it seemed like that. Just then I heard something in the pine thicket again, but as I had anticipated a small 4 point buck was trailing her. He was too small for me since all I could think about were those two eight points. As I watched both the 4 point and the doe cross the hollow and ridge easing out of sight I was thinking it's just too cold to be sitting in this tree stand. I decided to sit just a little while longer.
About 45 minutes later I noticed something in the hollow below me. All I could see was horns. It was an 8 point, the "big boy". My heart began to beat faster in hopes that maybe I would be able to get a shot. Watching him from a distance, I realized he was backtracking the doe that had previously come under my stand, so I patiently waited. He came within about 40 yards through the pine thicket and he smelled another buck. At this time, he began scraping and tearing limbs off of trees sniffing it with nose in air and hair raised on this back. It was all I could do to keep my composure. By this time, I was trying to figure out a way to get a shot through the thick pine trees and limbs, anticipating all his possible moves, as he began traveling along the ridge that I was sitting on. I raised my rifle trying to find him in my scope. There wasn't an opening to get a shot through. By this time, I was really getting ancy. All I could think about was the buck going over the ridge and me not being able to get a shot.
I took a chance and swung my rifle to an opening ahead of him in the direction that he was traveling. As the scope filled up with brown hair I pulled the trigger! It looked like I had missed or hit a limb, the deer bolted, jumped up and then as I watched him for about 20 yards, all I could see was that big rack swinging back and forth. As I watched, he went down. I waited for another shot for about 10 minutes, but the rack never moved. Finally, I decided to get down from my stand too check things out. As I walked through the thick pines I saw the huge rack on the ground. The closer I got the more excited I got! There was nothing more beautiful than seeing that huge buck lying down in the pine straw. The big buck ended my season with the fulfillment of getting the big one, and I am looking forward to the coming year.