Dad introduced me to deer hunting on his old farm in North Wayne when I was just 12 years old and in 2013, we hunted there for the 53rd year. That’s where I shot the Day-After-Thanksgiving buck, my favorite deer hunting story.
It happened about 20 years ago. I was sitting on a bucket in the woods, behind an old cemetery, and Dad was hunting his way up over a ridge from the farm, towards me.
It was a very cold and icy day, the ground was frozen, and I heard the tromp, tromp, tromp of a deer coming from a long way off. I got the gun up, aimed for a small opening in the thicket of small fir trees, and when the deer – a huge buck – stepped into the opening, I shot.
Tromp, tromp, tromp, he continued on his way. I had missed. I could hear his tromping for at least a hundred yards. As the family gathered mid-day for a Thanksgiving feast, I was morose. Worst Thanksgiving ever.
The next day we decided to try it again, only I moved slightly to have a better look and shot if a deer came up over the ridge. Thirty minutes after I sat down on the bucket, I heard him coming. Tromp, tromp, tromp. I was sure it was the same big buck. And it was. And this time, I hit him.
But he continued for a ways, so I shot him again, and he ran straight into a tree and flipped completely upside down. Dad said he could hear me hollering even though he was several hundred yards down over the ridge.
Best Day-After-Thanksgiving ever. Particularly because Dad was there with me.
The buck weighed 186 pounds and Dad had it mounted, placing it on his living room wall next to a big buck he had shot in the 1940s.