photo of a deer killed by Dante Montgomeryphoto of a deer killed by Dante Montgomeryphoto of a deer killed by Dante Montgomery

Hunter: Dante Montgomery

Points: 9 (4L, 5R)

County: Madison

Season: 2016-2017

Hunt Story

I am from Comer, Georgia. This is the glory of my most memorable and fulfilling hunt. It started in June when I learned I needed pretty extensive surgery on my right shoulder. I was told not only would I be out of work but my passion of bowhunting would not get to happen this year. After several weeks of therapy, things started to get a little better. Since I couldn't do anything strenuous, I wasn't able to shoot my bow like I normally would. This brings us to September 9th, I finally decided to make sure if I did have to sling an arrow I could make a decent shot. I only shot a couple of times at no more than 20 yards. I wasn't sure if it came down to it I would have the strength to get a shot off. I wasn't going to let that keep me from my love of the outdoors and hunting. September 10th opening morning, I felt as if I was going more nature watching than hunting, but I was ready. I headed toward my stand reluctantly looking for a whitetail. My biggest challenge was climbing up my climbing sticks to my stand, but I made it. It was a fairly warm morning but quiet the squirrels weren't even running around. I was just happy the season had begun, and I was up in my stand far from the stress of doctor visits and therapy that in turn got me in the position to take my biggest buck ever. The sun had just started poking through the oaks as I saw movement in a dense area of brush near where I knew the deer usually bedded down. As I watched and waited, I could only think of the three torn ligaments in my shoulder and three months ago I couldn't lift a coffee cup. I started to see slow movement as a small buck made his way down the trail toward me. I watched the small buck content that I was at least seeing some wildlife. Then my heart started racing as three nice bucks and a doe came in to the area. As I watched the buck I wanted make its way toward me, I readied myself and waited for an opportunity should it present itself. The deer walked between me and a tree in front of my stand. I watched it eagerly as I raised my bow. The buck took a few steps in to the opening and turned away from me. My body was flushed with excitement and adrenaline. Could the hunting Gods bless me with my first opening morning kill and best buck to date? After years of hunting and many mistakes learned I felt confident with the scenario before me. I had previously missed a nice buck the previous year by pulling my bow to soon, causing me to miss the shot. It wasn't going to happen again. As the buck passed the tree, I drew back waiting for him to step out. When he did, I put a decent lung shot on him. I watched the buck trot off a ways then lay down. I kept my eye on the buck I shot and the other deer that hung around for another 30 minutes trying to contain my excitement and not spook them in hopes of bagging one of the other nice bucks on a future hunt. Lesson number 2 was that as I waited the buck out, it had only gone about 60 yards from where I made the 12-yard shot from my stand. As the other deer walked off, I waited about an hour, then got down to pursue my deer. As I walked to where I shot, I found no blood and no arrow. Not the best of signs for a bowhunter. I walked a little ways and saw my buck laying on an old terrace used to farm the land years ago. I wanted to scream with excitement but couldn't because of my hunting buddy still in his stand. I didn't want to interfere with his hunt. We made contact and he hadn't had much luck. That too would change as he was about to get down to help me load my deer, he got some action on his side. The group of deer had made their way across the property. He was able to take one of the mature bucks that had been traveling with the one I shot. For the first time we doubled down on opening morning and harvested a nice buck apiece. I am grateful that my health allowed me to get in the woods for what made my most memorable hunt and best buck to date. -Dante Montgomery
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