With all the practicing, scouting, and preparation done, deer season was finally here! Little did I know how exciting 2012 was going to be for me. It started with my muzzleloader deer. I set a camera up in August and was very happy to see one buck that showed up on several different evenings. He was crossing a small field right before dark, but he would only appear every fourth or fifth night. I had a tree stand overlooking that area but I didn’t want to get that close to where he was crossing so I set up a ground blind 80 yards away. With him showing up on an irregular pattern I figured that my best plan would be to hunt every evening without skipping one. Friday, Day 7 of my hunt, I got off work at 3:30pm and headed to my blind.

So far it had been a week of full of does, turkeys and a couple of coyote. About a half an hour before dark I sent a text to my nephew to see if he was hunting that night. I hit send and looked up just as the buck was entering the field. I grabbed my gun and shooting stick and centered on his Shoulder. As he started down the hill toward a small draw he stopped for a moment and presented an ideal shot for me. I took a deep breath and exhaled. I centered on his shoulder and squeezed. When he entered the draw it was obvious that I had a solid hit in the right shoulder. I reloaded and went over to where I last saw him. There was good blood and I only made it about 10 yards before I saw him lying there in the draw.

I was absolutely thrilled after I made my way over to the deer and got a close look at him. The tine length and mass was just awesome and I knew he was going on my wall. To top it off and make things easier for me, when he came up to the other side of the draw, he was right at the edge of where I could make it to with my truck. I field dressed the buck and headed home with him. After hanging the deer I spent a couple hours retelling the story, as people would stop to see it. The adrenaline from a hunt like this sure lasts a long time. This was October 19th and I knew that after processing the deer it would be time to get right after it with my bow.

I had a different area that I wanted to focus my bow hunting efforts. I had some pictures of two nice bucks that were showing up quite often. About 10 inches of antler was separating these two but I felt either one was a respectable shooter. I was spending as much time as possible in the woods and it was now the first week of November and the rut was really heating up. It was November 4th and I was headed to a stand for an afternoon hunt. I was not prepared to the chain of events that would happen that afternoon. I climbed into my stand around 1:00pm and settled in. It wasn’t long before I started seeing deer. A small six pointer went past and about a half an hour later a spike rolled by. Shortly after a doe went past with a small eight pointer hot on her trail.

I watched them near the top of the hill to my left as the smaller of the two bucks I had on my trail came down the hill from my right. My heart was pounding as he neared a shooting lane and I drew my bow back. I stared in disbelief as I looked at my arrow sitting between my arrow rest and the riser. I relaxed the bow and quickly set the arrow back on the rest. I missed my opportunity for a shot and now the buck was about 60 yards up the hill towards the eight pointer and the doe. I started with my grunt call and he stopped and looked back in my direction. I knew it would be pretty unlikely to get him to come back my way when he was following a doe, so I gave him the best grunt sequence that I could.

He would look at her then back at me, then her again and then back at me. This lasted a couple of minutes when I heard something crashing through the woods behind me. I looked over my shoulder to the right and couldn’t believe what was happening. The bigger buck I had on camera was tearing down the hill to see what all the action was. He stopped behind a huge oak tree giving me a chance to draw my bow. He started to head toward the other deer and I grunted to stop him, as soon as he stopped I released my arrow. The arrow looked like a good hit so I sat in the stand just long enough to stop shaking. After a few minutes passed, I climbed down and went over to check for blood. I was confident with what I found so I started tracking. After only going 80 yards I found him piled up in large patch of six-foot tall weeds. I stood there staring at him for a short while, trying to absorb the unbelievable hunting I’d had just experience over the past 16 days. I felt that either buck was a definite trophy by my definition, and to harvest both of them in one season was an incredible feeling.

After the drying period for the racks, I had them measured by an official state scorer. My muzzleloader buck grossed 168 with a final score of 155 5/8 and my archery buck grossed 156 1/8 with a final score of 141 3/8.