Hunter: Brian Brown
Points: 10 (5L, 5R)
On Nov. 12, 2021, at 0702 hours, I shot the deer of a lifetime. I shot a 3-year-0ld, 10-point, piebald buck that I had been hunting all season. I first saw the deer nearing the end of hunting season 2020. The deer was an 8-point and I had not seen him in the woods while hunting. While talking with a friend and hunting buddy, I learned he had photos of the same deer two years proper when he was just a spike. He also had photos of the deer while he was in velvet last deer season. The distance from his hunting property to my property was more than 5 miles, as the crow flies. I had many trail-camera photos of the deer but never saw him in person while hunting. I continued to capture photos of this deer on camera this year. I was able to follow the deer from the time he shed his antlers last year until the day before I killed him. He was mostly nocturnal and the few times he showed up on camera during the day I would be hunting in a different location, trying to hunt the wind and provide myself the best opportunity to harvest him. There were several occasions he would show up in stand locations that were just a few hundred yards from where I was sitting. On Nov 11, 2021, I decided to hunt in a location I had not hunted this season in hopes to see other deer that were on my property. I slipped in and set up my climbing stand and then left the area. The morning of Nov. 12, I got up as usual and prepped my gear to stay in the woods as long as possible. There had been reports from neighbors that the bucks had been chasing does in the area. I climbed up in the tree and was ready to go at 0630 hours. The ground was wet from the rain showers the night before, and I could hear movement in the area prior to daybreak. The anticipation was great, and I was excited for what hunting a new location would have to offer. The light started breaking and at 0702 hours I saw the deer approaching the area dead ahead at approximately 60 yards. This was the first time seeing this deer in person. My window of opportunity was small, so I replicated a doe bleat to get him to stop. The deer stopped, but not before he was behind a tree that blocked his vital area. Waiting to take an ethical shot, I then grunted two short grunts in an attempt to turn the deer and get him closer. The deer then stepped forward one step, providing me a shot. As I squeezed the trigger, he began to turn away from me. At the time of the shot, I was uncertain if I had hit him. The deer jumped a little and walked off. Out of an abundance of caution, I remained in my stand for another few hours to give the deer an opportunity to expire if I indeed hit him. I located the deer approximately 75 yards from where he was shot. For the past few years I have primarily hunted with my bow. This morning I decided to hunt with the first rifle my dad had given me when I was just 15 years old, a Marlin .35. I had not hunted with this rifle in years, making this harvest even more special to me.