While most of my buddies are out partying, I prefer to spend
New Year’s Eve in a tree stand. You see,
being 28 and single gives me the freedom to call bowhunting a very important
part of my life. So I couldn’t think of a
better place to be than with my Dad hunting the last day of 2008. Little did I know, this New Years’ Eve would
be my most memorable to date.
Every year my father and I head to Illinois to hunt a friend’s
property between Christmas and New Years.’ He owns a large tract of land that has been practicing QDM for fifteen
The goal of this late season hunt is to harvest mature does
- a job I take seriously. Late season
does are no easy target and we’re finding an added benefit to sitting in the bitter
cold during these hunts; it’s bringing us closer and closer to big, mature
bucks. In fact, the colder and nastier the
weather is, the better it is for a crack at a true trophy.
The buck I got New Years Eve has a
special story that goes beyond just killing a magnificent trophy. It’s a
story I want to share with everyone.
My story begins in March of 2008. I received terrible news of the passing of
one of my closest hunting companions. His death has left me with many unanswered questions. Healing from this tragedy has been difficult
for me. To be honest, the anger stage
would not go away.
My friend Myles was a true outdoorsman. He could trap, hunt,
and fish better than most - even the most seasoned veteran. From the first time we met, I knew this guy
was someone I wanted to be around. I had always considered myself an
outdoorsman, but Myles personified it. Since his death my time afield has been filled more with frustration
On New Years’ Eve day, before my afternoon hunt, I visited
with Myles’ best friend. We had a cup of
coffee, got caught up, and watched a memorial DVD that had been made in Myles’
honor. The DVD was filled with photos
from the past few years, memorable hunting trips, and his successes in the
As I pulled on to the main road on
my way back to the hunting property I just couldn't shake the feeling that
Myles was with me. Even getting
dressed to head out I just couldn’t help but think there was something special
about this hunt. The evening would be spectacular. My father and I were hunting a few hundred yards
apart. As we walked to our stands I
remember him talking but I couldn’t tell you a word he said. All I could think about was Myles. Once in
the stand, I reminisced about all the great times we had hunting together and
how I missed my friend.
Light was fading fast. I had just a few minutes of shooting
light left when I heard the sound of deer approaching my treestand. This part of the property always holds some
nice bucks and I had been waiting for a northwest wind to hunt here. I had killed some does earlier in the trip so
I decided I would wait and see if this group had a mature buck in it. The does
had a free pass this evening. A big doe
lead a small pack of deer through the shooting lanes we had cut and the stage was
set for a nice buck to walk by. My plan seemed to be working; I could hear the
slow pace of a big deer coming down the same trail.
I had two lanes to shoot. The first lane would let me check him over and if he was big enough, I’d
take the shot in the second. As the buck
approached the first lane I could feel that Myles was right over my
shoulder. As the deer walked through the
first lane I knew immediately not only was the buck a shooter, he was also
a giant! He stepped behind a tree as I drew my bow. Now at full draw, he stepped into the second
lane and stopped. I had just enough of his vitals showing. I put the pin right behind his shoulder and
sent my Muzzy Broadhead through his chest. By his reaction, I knew the shot was
perfect! He ran like a freight train out
into the field and crashed seventy-five yards away. A few seconds later I heard him take his last
Immediately I stood up, looked into the sky, raised my bow,
and let some needed tears flow down my cheeks. These tears had been long overdue. My friend was with me that night, and this experience allowed me to move
The buck could be categorized as a giant with an unofficial green,
gross score of 216 inches non-typical and a net score around 206 Nontypical.
Dressed weight was 205 pounds. But sharing this hunt with Myles, having him there, feeling my anger
slip away, is what truly made this moment so special for me not the score.
This experience is proof that those no longer with us
physically, are not that far away. To
all who have lost close hunting companions like I did, I hope my story helps
you believe they are with us on every hunt.