The day after Thanksgiving buck

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.





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.