I don't remember much about the weather conditions, the moon phase, or any of that stuff that I keep track of now. Mostly what I remember is hearing a distant shot ring off from behind my tree stand, followed quickly by yet another. By the time the second shot echoed off the hills, I think I was on my feet, facing the tree I was up in, and watching the movement of a deer making it's way toward me. Before I knew it, the deer was trotting up the side of the hill, stopped at about 30 yards, turning to look back in the direction from which he'd just run from. The way the deer stood I didn't have a shot to my left because I would have to lean so far over in the stand that I probably would've fallen to the ground. So, I instantly decided that I needed to lean to the right of the tree, while swinging my left arm around to opposite side. Basically, I'm hugging the tree, gun on the right side, tucked into the pocket of my shoulder, while the left arm grasped around the tree for stability and securely held onto the slide of my 12 gauge Remington 870.
Everything is really just a complete blur, with all of the adrenaline coursing its way though my veins I'm not sure how I didn't wet my pants from the excitement. Somehow I managed to remember that I needed to click off the safety, as my front & rear sights on the slug barrel aligned themselves on the deer's shoulder. I'd like to say that I calmly took a deep breath, exhaled half of it, then slowly applied constant pressure to the trigger to ensure an accurate shot. I very well might have, but in all likelihood it probably didn't happen quite that text book.
Next thing I hear is the Bang! of the pump gun firing off a round. The deer buckles and simultaneously jumps upward as the first slug finds it's spot, then as if on autopilot the 870 slide ejects the spent hull, and chambers another. Since the deer doesn't fall immediately in his tracks, I swing around to the forward facing side of the stand as the buck has now continued his course up the hill. Did I miss? Couldn't have, but I'm not gonna risk it. I lower the sights again, and throw another lead sled at him. A short stumble later the deer comes to an abrupt stop wobbles, flops, and meets the ground. The whole time I'm watching this unfold, talking out loud, as if to command the deer... Come on, drop, drop, drop, drop, YES!
|First deer, first buck. Ohio Shotgun season 1999.|