The year 2013 was a special year for me. My husband (Phil) and I, after ten years together (8 married), finally bought our first house together. It was a beautiful house on the outside, but needed a lot of work on the inside, even though it was a fairly new build. The house, itself, was only five years old; it had just never been finished. We saw great potential in the place when nobody else could see it. Even better, the house sat on ten beautiful acres, with half of those being wooded. And, the property connected to another 100 + acres of woods, so the view was amazing. But, my absolute favorite part was the pond. It may sound crazy to a lot of people, but having my own pond had always been a dream of mine. I mean, what’s better than walking out your door and going fishing anytime you want!
The pond wasn’t much more than a mud hole when we bought the place; but I wasn’t worried. I knew we would eventually get it fixed. And, let me tell you, that pond played a much different role in deer hunting than I ever expected! I knew it would be a good watering hole for the deer, even though it was probably only 2 or 3 feet deep. And, it was. We officially moved into our house in August that year. It was such an exciting time! I can remember looking out the back door or window and seeing deer all of the time, especially around the pond. It was mostly does, but there were a few young bucks that hung around, too. One of the bucks was a pretty little eight-pointer; he had a lot of potential, but definitely was not a shooter (not in the eyes of me or my husband, anyway). Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who would have shot him that year; but, he was safe in our backyard.
We both thought it would be really great to get a big buck on our own property, but we just weren’t seeing any. We weren’t really worried though, because we had our usual hunting spots to go to. And, these spots had never disappointed us before! We decided to put out a trail camera overlooking the pond. We got lots of great pictures. But again, it was mostly does and young bucks. Regardless, we enjoyed seeing all of the wildlife in person and on camera!
With all of the time we spent working on the house, we hadn’t really had time to get out in the woods and clear spots for tree stands. However, we did have a blind to set out; we just hadn’t decided where we would put it yet. Then, our friend, Dave came to visit from PA. He brought us a trophy rock as a house warming present. While he was here, he decided he was putting the blind out for me. It was an old blind with a broken zipper, but it would do. So, where did he decide to put it? You guessed it! It went in the pond. It was just on the inside edge facing the trophy rock that he had also put out. It was not very deep at all, but enough to get my feet a little wet when I sat in it. So, there it was; my new hunting spot, on my new property, in my backyard, and best of all, in my pond.
I sat in the blind a few times in October, but never had the opportunity to shoot anything. Deer would show up; but they would either be small bucks, or does that I just couldn’t manage to get a shot on. Remember, the blind had a broken zipper and my view from inside was somewhat limited. But, sitting in that blind gave me a good idea as to where my best shot opportunities were. And, it also let me know how close that shot to the trophy rock really was. Seven yards; maybe a little too close, but I was okay with it. I’ve always enjoyed being up close with the animals.
We continued to check our cameras throughout October, and finally one day, there he was. A big, mature eleven-pointer. The mass wasn’t great, but the spread and the tine length were incredible. He was a shooter for sure! However, October came to an end with no more sightings of the buck. Just the one set of pictures, on one night, and that was it. He was gone!
November arrived, and I was anxious to get out and do some serious hunting. I remember the evening of November 3, 2013 quite well. I wanted to go hunting, but I wanted my husband to go, too. I thought we could get ready and drive out to one of our spots, but he wasn’t feeling too great. So, we decided not to go. However, I was determined that I was going to hunt anyway. I decided to just go sit in the blind. We always had lots of does out there, so maybe I would finally get lucky enough to get a shot at one. But, just like almost every time before, I heard something, and I looked out to see nothing but a small buck. Even though I was disappointed when I looked out, I still enjoyed watching the little guy. There is such an excitement about being so close to such a magnificent animal without it even knowing you are there.
The little buck eventually moved on and everything was quiet. Then all of a sudden, I heard it! It is a sound you will never forget once you hear it. It was the sound of a chase! My view was very limited; however, I was able to see 2 does come crashing through the woods and run down the edge of the property. I couldn’t see the buck though. I don’t know how he got by without me seeing him, but he did. I grabbed my call and gave a couple of grunts. I wasn’t too hopeful that he would come back my way. After all, he was on the trail of 2 does, but I had to try! I remember hearing him stomping back toward me; I knew it wasn’t a baby. I thought maybe the eight-pointer since he was always showing up, anyway. But, much to my surprise, I peeked out to see the eleven-pointer. I was shocked! Now, I had to manage to pull back my bow and get off a shot without getting busted. It was no easy task, but somehow I managed to do it. Thwack! I hit him! I just shot my biggest buck ever! And, it all happened while sitting in the pond of my own backyard at my new house. It couldn’t have been any better!
My phone started vibrating like crazy. I pulled it out of my pocket to see that it was my husband calling. Turns out he watched the whole thing unfold from the kitchen window. It turned out to be one of our greatest hunting experiences together, even though we weren’t hunting together. Funny how these things turn out sometimes. Anyway, that is the story of my backyard buck. To this day (August 12, 2015), he is still the biggest buck I have ever taken. And, as for the pond, it now holds water just fine. It is no longer a mud hole. I enjoy it a great deal, and apparently the deer do, too!
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