A Monster with a Muzzleloader

I had been hunting a small piece of property with my roommate Nate Barton for the entire bow-hunting season in 2005. Nate and I hunted the edge of a bean field religiously everyday. We both sat in the same trees hoping that we would get a good shot at a nice buck.

There was not one evening of hunting we did not see a buck. We both saw bucks chasing does, and we new we were in a good spot. During the middle of the month, I hunted a ground blind because we were late getting to the stand. I looked up and saw a massive buck chasing a doe, but I couldn’t tell how big it was. It chased the doe no more than 20 yards from my stand.

The next night I climbed my usual tree, and I saw a small buck come out of the field. It walked straight to me at the edge of the wood line and stopped 8 yards from my tree.

Being that I had never killed a deer before with my bow, I decided to take the shot. The arrow found its mark. It ran about 50 yards and laid down. Throughout the month, Nate and I saw a number of decent bucks but decided to wait until black powder to take any risky shots in hope of not scaring them from the field. After Nate and I both took a small buck in bow season, we agreed to not shoot a small buck.

Blackpowder season cam around the first week in November. We saw the same deer, but we wisely stayed at the other end of the field.

On Nov. 9, I decided to make a change from my usual tree. I decided to move away from the field and sit in the middle of the 40-acre piece of land which wasn’t too far from a house. I wanted to site in a small pine tree. As I climbed the tree, I started to see the house, then I heard kids playing basketball. I thought to myself that there was no way this was going to work, but it was too late to move so I stuck it out.

At about 4 p.m., I saw something moving 100 yards in front of me. It was an absolute monster! I immediately pulled the gun up, unlocked the double safety and found him in my scope. All I could see was the outline of the deer, and I didn’t want to risk a shot like that. It walked away.

I decided to hit the grunt tube. I grunted for the next 20 minutes when, all of a sudden, I heard sticks cracking in front of me. I got ready. As I scanned teh area. I caught just a short glimpse of the hindquarters of the deer, but I couldn’t tell if it was a doe or a buck. I hit the grunt call real soft. The deer’s hair stood up on its back. He started to stomp his feet on the ground, and every step he took in anger. He came out the woods, and I saw the massive deer. He walked up 40 yards broad-side. I put the crosshairs on him and pulled the trigger.

Smoke blew out the end of the barrel, and I could just catch the deer walking away like was trying to sneak out of there. But his tail was down, and I knew he was hurt. I tried to climb down, but I failed to hold on to anything because I was shaking so bad. I sat in the tree for 15 minutes trying to calm down while second-guessing my shot.

I finally managed to climb down and went to the spot where he had been standing. I looked and looked and found nothing. Nate whistled and asked how big it was. I only knew it was wide, and it had mass.

We both looked for blood, but we never found any. We walked in the direction he ran, and finally spotted the huge antlers. I was speechless.

This deer had everything: mass, width, points and character. The 17-point brute weighed over 200 pounds and had an outside spread of 20 inches.

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