More deer hunting stories #2

This is the second in my series of columns of my favorite deer hunting stories. Let’s start with the story about my son Joshua’s deer that he shot when he was 16 years old.

Josh and I were sitting in a fir thicket overlooking a spot where deer would exit the bog and head up the hill behind us. Three does emerged in front of us, and Josh aimed and fired at the biggest doe. All three took off quickly, disappearing to our right.

And before we could even stand up, three more does stepped out in front of us again. I’m whispering to Josh, “ Shoot! Shoot!” But he doesn’t even pick up his gun, and the three does walked to our right and disappeared in the woods.

I asked Josh, “Why didn’t you shoot?” And he said, “Because I shot at the other deer Dad.” And sure enough, 75 yards up the hill, we found Josh’s doe, dead. “Josh,” I said, “That was a great decision not to shoot. You’re already a better hunter than your dad. I would’ve ended up shooting two deer.”

One early morning, I got up before sunrise and headed to that same spot overlooking the bog. I thought it was still pretty dark when I got there, and I was very surprised to see that it was only 4:30 am, instead of the 5:30 am I expected. But as soon as it was light, I pulled out a book and started reading.

About 7 am, I looked up, and a huge buck was emerging from the bog and heading my way. I quickly put down my book and picked up my rifle. He was only about 20 yards away when I shot him, and he turned quickly, sprinting away to my left. I shot again and knocked off one of the tines on his antlers.

I quickly followed the buck through the woods, and twice I jumped him again, without getting a shot. He was bleeding quite badly so I know I had hit him, and after chasing him into a small fir thicket near Route 41, I decided to leave him laying there and I returned home.

I was supposed to meet Dad at a hunters’ breakfast in Vienna that morning, so I headed there and rounded up Dad and another friend and headed back to finish off my buck. I put my friend outside the firs near the road and Dad on the south side of the firs in the woods.

When I stepped into the firs following the bucks trail, he quickly jumped up and bounded out of the firs right in front of Dad who finished him off with a quick shot. At the Mount Vernon country store that buck weighed 192 pounds.

One year I was sitting in my tree stand on my woodlot, near Hopkins Stream, when I heard a deer behind me. I had to turn around and lean to the left of the tree, and the buck spotted me and took off.

A few days later I was in the same stand when I spotted, out in front of me, a doe racing through the woods in my direction. When she got fairly close to me, I spotted a buck right behind her. And they both ran by me quickly, right under my stand. I aimed my rifle down at the buck and shot and missed him and they quickly disappeared.

A week later that same buck sauntered up beside me and I shot him. He ran about 50 yards and dropped. It was getting dark so I was rushing to clean it out and get it home, when I almost cut my thumb off. Blood spurted everywhere and I couldn’t stop it.

So I left the buck, got in the canoe, paddled back to my vehicle and drove home. Linda wasn’t home but I rushed through the kitchen with blood spurting all over the place and into the bathroom, but I still couldn’t stop the blood from flowing.

So I left Linda a note that said, Don’t worry about the blood, I’m headed to the Farmington hospital for stitches to my thumb. I don’t think she’s ever forgotten that note!


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.