Deerless streak broken
As I scrolled through social media sites during opening weekend of the firearms deer season, I couldn’t help but notice how many people posted pictures of their deer and included a caption along the lines of, “Not a huge buck, but I took what I could get.”
As if they’ve got their tail between their legs on account of not shooting a trophy. I can promise you this: I won’t be apologizing for the buck I shot Sunday morning, Nov. 6.
He was a yearling, and save for taking the time to determine that he wasn’t a doe – although I had an antlerless permit – I didn’t spend another moment thinking about the size of his antlers as I made the decision to pull the trigger or not.
In fact, the thing that almost gave me pause in pulling the trigger was the weather. When the buck walked by my stand a little after 10 a.m., the temperature was in the high 50s and climbing. I knew shooting him would involve field-dressing and skinning him right away, but also butchering him to ensure the meat didn’t spoil.
When he was 15 yards from my stand, I fired. He looked right at me and I was unsure if I hit him. But he didn’t move, giving me time to jack another round into the chamber. The second shot hit him in the neck and he didn’t take another step.
As far as I’m concerned, all deer are trophies. Perhaps if I shot deer – or even saw deer – every year, I’d be a little more picky. But the permit area we hunt, 251, is co-managed by the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (it’s the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge) and the latter agency has shown no interest in having even average deer numbers there. Before this year, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve even seen a deer from my stand, and it’s been probably twice that long since I killed one.
So, yeah, I pulled the trigger on a little buck. And no, I’m not ashamed at all to say I did.