Double Deuces: Harvesting My First ‘Real’ Buck

It was just before noon on a swamped property on the northern edge of Paulding County in late November, 2010. The smell of oak trees filled the crisp air. Our hunting party had just taken down a monster 10-pointer that would, months later, garner the title “Ohio Big Buck Ten-Point of the Year.” Twenty-four inches wide, 11-inch brow tines, and a trashcan neck. I could have had the first shot but questioned my vantage point. A young Rylie Hart would win the prize. That moment still haunts me today. My day had seen its zenith, or so we thought on the way to nearby Hicksville for lunch.

While the truck brimmed with recollections over last hour’s adventure, I glassed a wounded buck grazing 100 yards north of a small farm woods. He was limping. His back-left leg was broken and dangling. I got permission from the landowner to cull the cervid now hidden in the hardwoods. With my 12-gauge and scope out of commission, I picked an open-sights Remington 870 Wingmaster 20-gauge from the bullpen, a gift from Bob Noneman years prior. I loaded it with Brenneke Green Lightning slugs.

One o’clock

After careful consideration, we stalked our prey from the east side, three men across. Bob would wait at the west end of the field. Within a minute, shots rang out, spooking the buck my direction. Combing the south edge, I didn’t see him. He collapsed in agony maybe 30 yards ahead. Our yelling and commotion raised him one last time. He burst forth with adrenaline. As he quartered away, I landed a shot that pierced the lung of the young deer midair. He piled up 40 yards away, just inside the west wood’s edge.

Pleasantly surprised, we found a second 24-four incher lying before us. Snorts and huffs were the sounds competing against the air leaving his chest. We locked eyes while he labored to advance on me. Blood poured from mouth and nostril. I couldn’t help but think, “why make him wait?” Another round ended the emotional confrontation. It’s always a disconcerting matter, ending an animal’s life at close range. Never take it lightly.

He was my first “for real” buck, landed in Defiance County, just outside Hicksville, Ohio. We surmised the head gouge and leg injury were sustained by fighting and not a car accident. He’d seen enough stress in a short lifespan and now provided my family meat for the year. The wall mount elicits all the stirrings a hunter should experience if but once in his life. A rack measuring two feet wide, double brow tines, double flyers, and two years of age …I call this trophy “Double Deuces.”