Full First Deer Story and Pics.


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Centurian22
November 9, 2013, 09:16 PM
Ok here's the full story, fair warning though I'm very detail oriented and this is quite long winded but I wanted to capture all aspects possible of this moment in my life. I hope you enjoy reading it a fraction of how much I enjoyed living it just last week.

My first buck:
It was Maine's "Resident Only" opening day, Nov. 2nd 2013, I woke up early, really early, 0400 early. I barely slept I was so excited to get down to the 32 acres I had been given permission to hunt on just a couple weeks before the season opened. A good friend who owned it told me about the land; there was an open field, water source from beavers damming up a stream, and woods, mostly woods. The land had been free of hunters and pressure for about a decade and I was the only one that would be prowling the woods and fields. I started walking the fields at 0630 just a few minutes before shooting time started. I continued to cover the open ground for a couple hours before getting back in the truck to warm up and grab a snack.

Next it was time to just sit in the field for a while and see if they would come to me. Sun got over the tree tops, warmed me up and the birds sung me off to a late morning nap to get back some of my lost sleep. I faded in and out if consciousness enjoying the serenity of the outdoors. After 20-30 minutes I was getting too warm and checked the temperature to discover it was just over 60deg F (usually unheard of in Maine in November). I took off my jacket and chose to leave my pack and lawn chair in the middle of the field as I wouldn't be traveling more than a few hundred yards from them. I planned to make my way through the woods back towards my truck to swap out the scoped .308 for the iron sight 12ga slug gun.

I was still hunting through the woods and it was about noon at this point, much cooler than out in the field. I was making my way slowly through the thick pine and white birch growth, trying to be quiet, watching the ground to pick my steps, watching the woods for my adversary. Every leaf and twig I stepped on sounded like it echoed through the near silent woods, not to mention the scrape of branches on my clothing as I had to squeeze between trees that there was no easy way around. I was thankful it had been warm enough that I removed my Carhart jacket as that would have been even louder.

I stopped and looked around, interrogating every space between the trees with my eyes, listening for steps that weren't mine. I would guess you couldn't see further than 50-60 feet where I was. Remembering stories of "the hunted following the hunter", I looked back just over my right shoulder and saw something that looked out of place. A little bit of brown behind a tree. Too high and not the right texture to be part of the surrounding pine needle ground litter. Then I saw some slow movement and a flash of white. My heart pounded, my body shook and my mind didn't believe I could really be seeing what I was seeing.

The head was perfectly behind a tree where neither of us could get a good look at the other. I needed to turn, steady my rifle and get a better look through the scope. Just as I got a good draw on its position with my rifle propped atop my shooting sticks (not yet forked out), the head swings to its left around the tree and I'm in a staring contest head on with a deer at 10 yards. The head fills my lowest 4x power setting of my scope from this close. At this point I still couldn't clearly make out any antlers. We both stay as still as possible, we both keep staring, trying to figure the other out, when finally he, yes he turns and I see what before might have been a dead pine branch, turn the same way his head did.

I'm shaking and trying to steady my rifle on top of my shooting sticks to little avail. So I know I have to spread the sticks and use the "V". His head is behind the tree again so I start to move, I take the safety off so I don't forget, he starts looking at me again. We dance back and forth like this for what seem like minutes but must have only been 5 to 10 seconds. The whole time I can't understand or believe why he hasn't busted me and darted off. Finally I have my rifle steadied in the fork of the sticks, I strafed to my left to clear a pine sapling that I feared would divert my 150gr .308 bullet, and he turns to walk casually away, seconds from disappearing back into the trees from whence he came. Just as I have a clear look at his right side, he paused, almost broadside, just slightly quartering away. I centered the crosshairs of my scope below his back just behind and over his right shoulder and I squeeze. I will interject here that the previous week, when I was zeroing my new scope, I left one round at the end of a box and said to myself "This is the round that is taking my first deer".

In that fraction of a second it all comes together but I worry about every detail. The new scope I just mounted and zeroed the week before, the hours and hundreds of rounds of practice, my choice of ammo, my shot placement, was it a clear path for the bullet, did I flinch, did he move, was I still sleeping in the meadow. He jumped and took off like nothing I've ever seen. In the thick of the woods, by the time I came up off the scope he had vanished. I heard more than saw the general direction he went in. I text my wife excitedly telling her I had taken a shot. Then came the real worrying and a couple mistakes. I didn't mark where I had shot from before chambering the next round and moving towards where he had been when I shot. I couldn't find a single drop of blood, or a single track or kicked up area of pine and leaf litter.

It felt like a clean break didn't it? It looked like good placement right? I didn't see anything in the way did I? I waited a few minutes and moved slowly in the direction he seemed to go seeing almost nothing along the way. Nothing but thicker and thicker woods. I found an odd deposit of droppings not even sure it was from a deer, then a more deer-like pile later on but no other sign. No blood, no tracks, no trail. I sulked out to the field, picked up my pack and chair, and trudged back to the truck, regretting that text message to my wife. How could I have missed? How did he not drop? What happened? I had begun to convince myself that a twig/branch had deflected it, or I somehow "air-balled" it over him because of how close he was.

I ate lunch in the truck and charged my phone, while trying to replay it all in my head. I realized and confirmed in my ballistic app that my thought of airing it over top was indeed backwards, and at that close of a range, the shot should have been low if anything. Leaving my pack behind, bringing only my knife and some basics in my cargo pockets, I switched out the .308 for my 12ga with slugs and worked my way back into the woods. I was trying to find where I shot from or where I thought he was when I shot. Regretting not marking either spot with my gps I just resigned myself to hunting in the general direction he had vanished in.

Along the way I encountered the same odd dropping pile so I knew I was going the right way. I turned on my gps track at this point. A little further and I found the 'wall of young pines' that had halted my progress earlier. Not seeing a way around, I pushed through. It was loud, it was messy, but it eventually opened back up after a few yards. I continued still hunting as I had been before cautiously stepping, looking, listening.

Again I saw something, much further away this time as this was a more open area of the woods with fading afternoon light filtering through to the forest floor. At first I thought nothing of it, then said "why not", go check it out. It was almost in the 'right' direction and was a nice open path through the woods. As I got closer it looked less and less like a brown rock or mound of dirt and pine needles. It wasn't until I was inside 20yards that I saw a hoof and antler. For the second time that fine day I couldn't believe my eyes. I approached cautiously shotgun shouldered, but it was not needed, he was quite expired. Just about three hours elapsed between the shot and recovery. He was quite stiff and very bloated so I assume and hope he must have died quickly.

It turned out to be a perfectly placed double lung shot, taking two ribs and a chunk of the off shoulder blade as well. The only blood I ever found was pooled at his snout where he laid when I found him, barely any on either side of the through and through holes (.308 on the way in and between a quarter and half dollar on the way out). I measured on the GPS, and it looks like he ran 120 yards (maybe more if he looped around), and I ended up dragging him 140 yards out through the thick stuff by myself. That 125lbs felt a lot more like 300 by the time I reached the open field where I could drive the truck up to. I laid out in the field catching my breath for several minutes taking in the moment.

Only 10-15 lbs isn't being used and that is mostly spine, and pelvic bone. I'm proud to honor this sacrifice of life by making use of all parts possible. The hide is off to be tanned, antlers are ready to become my new gun rack, the freezer is slap full and my four dogs are set on leg bones to chew on for the next two years.

I will never forget this experience and can't remember the last time I felt so exhilarated both for the shot and the recovery. I'm hooked for life. Only five years until I can hopefully share all this with my son.

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/446C145D-154E-4BC0-8986-8952EB4F4E9E-22123-00001BB3309A1A2A_zps0f38665b.jpg
The Meadow

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/6558D942-BE45-4F3F-886B-1B1A92754850-22123-00001BC0600DB101_zpsa89c5b5b.jpg
The moment of disbelief

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/73EC9FDC-5B12-4499-8C0C-6BB016561B08-22123-00001BC09024E6D0_zps4aee627d.jpg
Only blood I found

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/DBF0CCC2-E92F-475B-9A49-8022F21A4F94-14568-00001685C50A400A_zps0cb6db6b.jpg
Self taken when recovered

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/9071D517-AC2D-4395-9EAE-72AA6351ED18-14568-0000168784D41102_zps2346b6c0.jpg
Finally by the truck

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/243DE250-C014-4B25-9A88-BCA020B59BE4-21260-00001B01EF98CDB9_zps5acfae0d.jpg
Hanging

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/5DB5FE9E-444D-4AFF-A5E3-951C448F8262-21260-00001B029BF61FE9_zps4166db6b.jpg
Bad lighting but I had to have a picture with the rifle that did the job

http://i559.photobucket.com/albums/ss35/CaptainChadB/8382F547-6121-40C5-BE4F-1FA86E1AD7D4-21260-00001B036099D220_zpsc75efd1e.jpg
A nice hide, especially for not knowing what we were doing.

Thanks for reading.

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wankerjake
November 9, 2013, 09:26 PM
Haha, you're so hooked! That's good. Hunting is more fun and more rewarding than most other things.

preachnhunt
November 9, 2013, 09:34 PM
Congratulations! Good deer!

Liberty1776
November 9, 2013, 11:12 PM
Yep, that is awesome... congratulations!

336A
November 10, 2013, 09:21 AM
Congratulations, glad everything worked out for you.

travisd
November 10, 2013, 12:46 PM
Nice little deer. Congrats

3212
November 10, 2013, 03:18 PM
Good for you.High lung shots bleed in the chest cavity,Low lung shots lose blood to the outside and leave a blood trail.Usually its a shorter trail.I got a doe in October with a high lung shot.No blood for 80 yards and laying behind a log.

surjimmy
November 10, 2013, 04:18 PM
Congrats, hope this is one of many.

erkman
November 12, 2013, 11:21 AM
Congratulations!! Nice to hear you used every part of the deer you could.

CarJunkieLS1
November 13, 2013, 09:26 AM
Congrats to you! Very nice story and pics. I hope to bag my first ever deer this season when rifle season opens up in a few weeks. Can't wait and I hope I do as good a job as you did. I will be with an experienced hunter though so that will help me a lot.

Thunder Struck
November 14, 2013, 04:03 PM
Congratulations and good explanations of everything. Now your hooked!!!

Centurian22
November 14, 2013, 04:09 PM
Thanks for all the kind words! I'm still reliving those few tense moments almost everyday and still loving it. I'm so glad I took the plunge to try deer hunting despite having no background or mentor for it (parents / grandparents never hunted) and I really hope it becomes a bonding experience for my boys and I down the road.

Doug S
November 14, 2013, 04:59 PM
Congrats to you. Nothing like that feeling you have at the moment you down your deer...especially your first deer.

Scrambler
November 18, 2013, 01:08 AM
Way to go. Congratulations. Love a good hunting story. Thanks

Arkansas Paul
November 18, 2013, 10:38 AM
You never forget that first one.
Kudos on keeping the hide. I'd like to tan one, but have never tried it.

22250Rem
November 21, 2013, 07:50 PM
Congrats and thanks for the good story and pictures. Print out your story and save it. Years from now some of the details will get hazy and it's nice to read the story.... It'll bring you back to that day. Your first deer will be the most memorable but after that they sometimes become a blur. An old timer once told me to record all the details of every deer I get. I've got deer stories as far back as 1989 and I'm glad I got 'em down for posterity, (pictures too, of course) and I enjoy my little hunting memories collection. I'm glad I took that old deer hunters advice.

travisd
November 21, 2013, 09:19 PM
Congrats and thanks for the good story and pictures. Print out your story and save it. Years from now some of the details will get hazy and it's nice to read the story.... It'll bring you back to that day. Your first deer will be the most memorable but after that they sometimes become a blur. An old timer once told me to record all the details of every deer I get. I've got deer stories as far back as 1989 and I'm glad I got 'em down for posterity, (pictures too, of course) and I enjoy my little hunting memories collection. I'm glad I took that old deer hunters advice.

That's a good idea. Might do that

VTGD7940
November 21, 2013, 09:40 PM
Congrats Centurian! I joined you tonight in killing my first one, and it's definitely something to remember. Nice deer!

JeffDilla
November 21, 2013, 10:16 PM
Years from now some of the details will get hazy and it's nice to read the story.... It'll bring you back to that day.

Yeah, but years from now, who wants to let facts get in the way of a good story? :D

All kidding aside, that's a great idea. Sometimes when I'm spending long hours in a stand, I'll bring a journal with me and record details of the day. Give me all the flak you want about not paying attention and all, but those entries are fun to read years later.

Centurian22
November 22, 2013, 12:13 AM
Congrats and thanks for the good story and pictures. Print out your story and save it. Years from now some of the details will get hazy and it's nice to read the story.... It'll bring you back to that day. Your first deer will be the most memorable but after that they sometimes become a blur. An old timer once told me to record all the details of every deer I get. I've got deer stories as far back as 1989 and I'm glad I got 'em down for posterity, (pictures too, of course) and I enjoy my little hunting memories collection. I'm glad I took that old deer hunters advice.
That was exactly my plan in writing this all out, to save it for the days when the details start to fade away. I hadn't thought about printing it though that's a great idea for a backup. I'm glad people have enjoyed the story. I'm often told (usually by my wife) "They don't need to know every little detail just get to the point". I wasn't sure if many would take the time to read this or would want to being so long.

VTGD7940, Congrats to you as well!!! Will we see pictures and details soon?

greenmtnguy
November 26, 2013, 01:16 AM
These stories never get old - reading them I can feel the excitement, like I am being there for the first time too!

Congratulations!

Davek1977
November 29, 2013, 12:31 PM
I've shot a lot of deer in my 36 years, some really nice ones, some average ones, and when I was younger, and a bit more trigger happy, some downright tiny ones. Yet, 23 years later, I can STILL conjure up exactly what it felt like to be 13, looking down at the mule deer I had just taken, both sad, in awe, and extremely happy and excited beyond belief. It was a rush I became instantly addicted to, something I KNEW I'd have to repeat over and over, until I was no longer able to do so. I haven't missed a single opening weekend since, always managing to get a license and always making it home to the family ranch the first weekend in November, no matter where I was living, no matter what job I was working. There are things I find important....and then there's deer hunting! Its a tradition I plan to keep intact. I want to see how many consecutive seasons I can hunt the county I was raised in and spent the first 18 yrs of life residing in.

nathan
December 1, 2013, 09:52 AM
What a deer ! Nice shot and happy experience. You can't get over it as its an experience of a lifetime. COngrats.

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