Hunter: Brandon Bennett
Points: 8 (4L, 4R)
This was a lucky day. November 28, 2016 I was hunting West Point Corps land, not the WMA, with my .50 caliber Knight muzzleloader. I knew the area that I was hunting was holding a lot of does due to the amount of acorns and grass that had grown up along the lake edge. My son Hunter actually took a very nice 8-point at Rum Creek WMA on Oct. 28, 2016, he's 13 years old and it was his first buck. He was with me on Nov. 22, a Tuesday. We saw five does and two nice bucks. One was a shooter, which I missed at 35 yards using my father's 12 gauge shotgun. My dad shot it the next day and it was 6 inches low at 25 yards. This day, Nov. 28, I had a perfect-shooting muzzleloader. The morning was unusually warm and with rain in the forecast I figured the deer would be moving. Legal light was 6:50 a.m. I heard a deer in a cane thicket walking toward me. I 'm on the ground with a small stick blind — all I could make out was a large, dark deer walking, quartering to my left. The wind was swirling about 5 mph. I knew the deer was going to smell me, but thankfully I had just 15 minutes earlier had put out two scent wicks. I soaked them with Special Golden Estrus. He was coming up an old terrace, now at 25 yards. I could make out a rack. With his head down, I raised my gun and put the scope on his head, making sure he was a legal buck. It only took about 1 second to decide "yes." I lowered the crosshair to his left shoulder. The deer stopped, having walked just downwind of my scent wick at 20 yards. I squeezed the trigger, and "poof." I couldn't see anything, the cloud expelled from the barrel of the .50 caliber muzzleloader was blinding. Listening for the deer running, I heard nothing, and after a minute or so the smoke cleared. I could see he dropped where he was standing. He weighed 180 and was a perfect rack 8-pointer. His neck was super swollen. He was a swamp monster.