by Doug Brubaker
My son Dane and I had been given a tip from my good friend Seth that because of fires earlier this year, the big bucks had been pushed over into an area close to Winthrop. We live four hours away in Auburn and decided that we would make this our first hunting trip together.
As we got into Carlton where we would be camping, we stopped in but our buddies were all gone. We would have about an hour of daylight to hunt once we got to our hunting spot. It is a public piece of land, so we also had to hope nobody else would be parked at the gate. We drove up and there was a camp and some of them had just arrived. We decided that we would go in and at least gives ourselves a chance.
We started at the gate and began our hunt. We walked in very quietly and slowly, and before you know it, there are does left and right, and so I got down on a knee and explained to Dane that this time of year is the rut, and that where there are does, there are bucks.
As I began scanning I saw antlers. He was at the top of a hill, bedded down. I looked through my binos and couldn’t make out a third point because he was starring straight at us. As Dane was getting a little excited, I told him we were going to pass on this buck for two reasons. I explained the buck was at the top of a hill, so if he were to miss, Dane would have no idea what was on the other side of the hill. We also couldn’t make out a third point, and we were hunting a three-point-minimum unit.
As we kept walking, more and more does began standing up and staring us down. We continued walking slowly, and as the road began to curve to the left, a big buck stood up right in front of us. I knew he was a shooter without glassing him.
I set up the tripod and Dane rested the gun on his prize. I pulled up my range finder; he was at 127 yards. I told Dane to take the safety off and put him in his crosshairs and squeeze.
As he was settling in on the shot, the buck began to walk straight away from us. My heart sank and we just watched. All of a sudden he stopped and turned to his left a little, looking back but not at us. A doe and she must be hot because he didn’t want to leave.
The buck was quartered away and turned to the left. I told Dane just put it right on his ribs and squeeze fast before the buck walks away again. He settled in and Boom!!!!
The deer started limping and I told him, “Shoot it again.” The buck was moving straight to the left and was broad side — Boom.
The deer dropped. The smiles and hugs began.
As we made our way up to the buck, we got to within about 10 yards and saw his chest still moving up and down. It turns out that the second shot was right through the tenderloins and hit the spine. I told my son, “You have to shoot him again and end his suffering.” He took aim at the chest and Boom — perfect shot right through the heart.
We backed off and waited a couple minutes. I took a peak and he was motionless. I pulled up my video and let Dane be the first one to touch and hold his harvest. We took a couple pics before darkness settled in.
After quickly gutting him we made our way back to the truck to get the deer sleigh. As we were walking out, so was a group from the other camp. We told them the good news, and I asked if they would help me load the buck when we got him to the bottom. Jason and his crew were very helpful and friendly.
We got back up to where the buck lay and loaded him on the sleigh. Luckily for me. it was almost all downhill and we were back to the truck in no time. We got some help loading from Jason and his buddies. They were in amazement at Dane’s first deer. At their camp they had a scale and it read 191 pounds. Everyone congratulates Dane for a job well done.
As a father I can’t wait to spend more quality time with my son.