Hunting Big Bucks: My Success Story

Big Bucks


Hunting Big Bucks: My Success Story – Two Big Bucks at once? Is This Really Happening?


Every year my dad and I enjoy quality time deer hunting together, in which I am very thankful for. From preparing, setting up strategy, and the endless night of sleeplessness the night before opening buck season, to the feeling of waking up to a long awaited adventure in the woods, we are together every carefully placed step of the way. The only time we are away from one another is when work interferes. 


After skipping school on the opening day of buck, as luck would have it, we came up empty handed. Now starts the long process of getting through the work week, and waiting for the first Saturday of buck season to show its face.

Unfortunately, my dad had to devote his time at work (2nd shift), on the first Saturday of the season, and could not be out in God’s country with me all day. Never, in my 17 years here on earth, would I have ever expected what was about to happen on that memorable day.

I woke up that morning, after dreaming about big bucks all night, and grabbed my .243 heading out into the woods before the break of dawn. My dad and I carefully aimed our mag-lites down at the ground and started our hunt. When I arrived at “my spot”, I got all set up and enjoyed the sounds of nature as I awaited those monster big bucks and the bright sunlight. The only sign of either of the two was the bright sunshine. It was now time for a different strategy.

I packed up my gear and let my .243 lead the way on the move. Dad and I met up and started hunting together again. Hour after hour passed, hills and valleys passed as well, and more and more territory was covered. Still, nothing seemed to be in the area. The signs were there, but we weren’t able to be in the right spot at the right time. We decided that we were probably just pushing the deer all through the woods, and only seeing a couple other hunters with the same luck as us, we headed for home to let the woods settle down and so dad could get ready for work. I decided to give it another try in the evening.

Once again, I grabbed my .243 and gear and headed back out. I quickly learned that the woods had come alive! However, it wasn’t with big bucks, it was with other hunters. I had not made it very far before seeing the first hunter out there with me. In the next 45 minutes, I had seen 9 more hunters. Each encounter with the other hunters yielded the same results. I would ask, “Have any luck?”, and they would respond, “No how about you?” My hunting strategy, along with my disappointment,  fell through quickly. Every direction I planned on heading was the same direction the other hunters planned as well. I was courteous to all, and went in the other direction. With darkness about another 45 minutes away, I picked up my pace, and hung my head. Discouragement had come upon me like no other. I wasn’t even in “hunting mode any more”. I was simply in “getting home” mode.

I approached a steep, but short, hill and a sense came over me that I needed to slow back down, lift up my head, and PAY ATTENTION! Now, I was back into “hunting mode”, and it was a good thing I was! As I started down the hill I seen something move. A DEER! But, was it a buck or doe? If it was a buck, was it a legal buck? (3 points on one side) The deer had its head up in the limbs of a tree and made it very difficult to tell. I then caught a glimpse of an antler. My heart started beating at the speed of light, and the best adrenaline rush one could ever feel hit me like a ton of bricks. I scoped the deer’s head but could not tell if it was a legal buck or not. Upon scoping the deer three different times, I finally determined it was a five point. Just as I was getting down on the scope to take the shot, I noticed something moving to the right of the deer about 15 yards away. No Way! It was another buck, an even bigger buck. I said to myself, “I know that one is legal!” Remember when I said I had the best adrenaline rush of my life? Well, I was dead wrong. Buck fever had won me over even more. I put the cross-hairs on the vitals, took a breath, let half of it out, reminded myself to make the shot count, and squeezed the trigger. The deer was down ! I racked another shell into the chamber and put the gun on safe. I literally ran down the hill (not a safe or good idea) as I kept saying, “Thank you God, thank you God, thank you God!” When I was standing over the deer, its antlers were buried in the snow and it was still alive, but down for the count. I cannot bare to see any animal suffer. I quickly shot the deer in the vitals careful not to destroy the cape or antlers. I was shaking so bad that it took 3 total rounds until the deer had passed. With all of the shooting, another hunter headed down the same hill I just ran down. It was now time to pick the deer’s head up and examine my trophy. It was a beautiful 8 point buck. Turned out that the other hunter was my neighbor from across the highway. He said to me,” What did you get?” I responded,” The biggest buck of my life!” I was so excited and so was he. We talked about our day and he headed back for home.

I took my walkie talkie with me and my mom had the scanner programmed to the same frequency at home. I got on the radio and whistled a few times, to get the attention of my black lab Deanna, in hopes that my mom would get to the scanner to listen up. I then said into the radio,” I got an 8 point! And I can get it mounted!” I then field dressed my trophy, still shaking with excitement, and started the drag for home. It was after dark when I got to the garage and my mom, grandma, and grandpa were all there waiting for me with big smiles on their faces. My grandpa helped me get the deer into the garage and wanted to help me hang it. I said,” No grandpa. My luck it will fall and break an antler.”

Once the excitement started to die down a little bit, my dad called from work and asked if I had gotten anything. I told him that I got an 8 point. He did not believe what had just come out of my mouth. He came home from work at 11:30pm. He finally believed me when he seen the garage light on and my grandpa and I standing there when he opened the door. Now it was hard to determine who was more excited. My dad congratulated me and helped me clean off my field dressing tools. My grandpa left for home and dad and I went into the house with the greatest feeling of joy ever imaginable.



J.D. Arp

J.D. Arp





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