photo of a deer killed by Tom Smithphoto of a deer killed by Tom Smithphoto of a deer killed by Tom Smith

Hunter: Tom Smith

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Jefferson

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

My son, Zachary, and I decided to take a walk in the woods after church to scout out a beaver swamp on the farm for duck hunting later in the season. The walk to this beaver swamp required walking through pines planted about seven (7) years ago and then hardwoods. There was a pretty decent breeze out of the south/southwest and it was cool with highs in the 50s after a front that came through the previous night, but the sun was strong. We started through the planted pines on the downwind side of the property, so I took the opportunity to teach Zachary how to be mindful of the wind and weather conditions. As we discussed the cooler temperatures but the strong sun, I talked to him about how the deer would likely be basking in the sun on the upwind edge of the planted pines on a day like this where they could wind anything approaching from the neighboring fields and hear anything approaching through the thick brush within the young planted pines from downwind. We then paused and decided that it would be a great day to execute a small drive through the planted pines. We decided to go get his sister, Mandy, and have her assist as she liked hunting deer as well. I explained to the children that deer like to run into the wind when being pushed. We only had one 30-06 and two 12 gauge shotguns among us so we decided to have Mandy with her shotgun and Zachary with my 30-06 rifle take a stand on the upwind side of the planted pines while I drove the piece with Zachary's 12 gauge shotgun. Zachary was familiar with driving deer and the extra precautions necessary to consider when driving deer, so I felt the 30-06 was better suited for Zachary. As we walked together toward the upwind side of the plot of planted pines that we planned to drive, we jumped something from the sunny edge that made a lot of noise as it ran. I heard more brush crashing than hooves, so I initially thought it was a hog(s) as we frequently see hogs in the area. In an effort to prevent its escape from the planted pines into the neighboring hardwoods, we ran ahead down the field to a woods road that cut through the upwind side of the planted pines. I was hoping we might get a shot at whatever it was as it crossed the narrow, winding road. Just at about the time we arrived at this road, a nice buck came running up the road into the wind toward us. We locked eyes with the buck as he rounded a bend in the road and slammed on the brakes. He stood there just long enough for me to quickly throw Zachary's shotgun that I was holding up to make a 50-yard shot with only 2 3/4" 00 buck at the deer. The deer turned at the first shot, and I was able to send a second shot at him just before he ran out of sight back around the bend in the road. I immediately looked at the kids standing next to me at which point Zachary announced, "That buck was HUGE" with extremely bright eyes! I was initially disappointed because I would have rather had the 30-06 in my hands and I did not see a promising reaction from the buck as he took the shot. We quickly decided to move ahead with our plan to drive that piece as the buck likely ran back into it. We moved down the woods road to put Mandy and Zachary out as standers and walked up on the buck laying in the same road about 100 yards past a few bends in the road. We were ecstatic and I was extremely proud to have the children with me so we could all experience it together. I immediately told them that it meant the world to me to have them with me to experience it and, had they not been with me, it would not have meant nearly as much!
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