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Deer season, 2009. I remember it well! It was such a special season for me and my husband. I remember the excitement of checking trail cameras that summer. We had lots of great pictures, and by the end of August we both had our buck picked out. He knew exactly what buck he wanted to pursue, and I knew which one I was going after. It worked out great, because we were interested in totally different deer. Even better, they were not on the same property, so that eliminated the possibility of one of us shooting the buck that the other one wanted. But, how often do two people who hunt together actually both get the buck they want? In my experience, not that often! And, even more unlikely, how often do they get them on the same day?

Well, let me tell you about one of those unlikely days. It was October 3, 2009 and my husband decided to get up and go hunting that morning. I wasn’t able to go; I was in school pursuing my degree in respiratory therapy, and I had a ton of homework that I had to get done that day. So, I stayed home hoping to get my homework done in time to get out in the woods that evening.  Since my husband, Phil, went out first, I’ll start with his story.

Phil’s 2009 Buck

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Phil had his first encounter with the buck that he called “the split G buck” on the evening of October 2nd. It was getting late and just starting to get dark when the split G stepped out. Phil was able to get a shot off, but he hit low. He knew it was a bad shot, so he decided to back out and return in the morning to follow the blood trail and see if he could find him. I remember how sick he was that night! He was devastated, thinking that he had wounded this buck that he wanted so bad, and knowing that he may never get another chance at him.

So, the next morning, Phil headed out to track the split G buck. He searched for a couple of hours and then decided to give up on  it. At this point, he went back the spot where he last saw him and decided to wait and see if the split G would show up again. And, after several hours, the wait payed off. Out he stepped! Yes, he was wounded, but he was alright. Phil was getting a second chance and this time the split G was offering him a perfect shot.  So, he took aim and let his arrow fly.  The split G was not getting away again! He had been redeemed! Phil had just harvested the buck that he had picked out long before season even began.

I remember when he called me to tell me the news. I was so happy! He had been so sick the night before. I had felt his pain and disappointment, and now I was getting to share in his excitement! I couldn’t wait to go see this magnificent buck in person, and to congratulate my husband! And, I was not disappointed when I saw Phil’s buck; he was absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t have been happier for my husband and best friend! However, I didn’t get to spend much time celebrating with him because he convinced me to go hunt even though there were only a couple hours left to get out there. And, this is where his story ends and mine begins.

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Kari’s 2009 Buck

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

So, as I mentioned earlier, I was not able to get up and go out hunting that morning. I had way too much homework. And, it didn’t look promising for that evening either. I got done with the homework a lot later than I had planned on. I had decided I wasn’t even going to bother going out; it was just too late. But, Phil convinced me that I should get out there and try. There were still about 2 hours of good hunting light left in the day, and the bucks usually don’t move until later anyway, right? My concern was that this was a pretty closed in area that I was hunting, and usually if you weren’t in your spot early, you were going to end up spooking the deer while coming in. But, I needed a break from the homework, so, I went.

Before hitting the woods, I drove out to see Phil’s buck, and to get my bow. I had left it in his vehicle. His buck was absolutely incredible; it had so much character and a beautiful white rack! I was so excited for him! I didn’t have much time to celebrate with him though, so I congratulated him, grabbed my bow, and hit the road. My hunting spot was just a mile up the road, so I was there in no time at all. I got settled in my hunting cabin (built for me by my wonderful husband). I knew I had less than 2 hours of hunting time and didn’t really feel that hopeful. I usually saw the deer much earlier in the evening when hunting that location. Regardless of whether I saw anything or not, it was still a much needed break from the homework.

Time was quickly running out and I hadn’t seen much of anything. I had a little spike buck that hung around for a while, but he had finally moved on. It was just starting to get dusky out and there was only 15 – 20 minutes of legal hunting light left when I saw the flash of the trail camera go off. I got a little excited and leaned over to see what was in front of the camera. But, I was quickly disappointed when I looked out to see nothing but a groundhog. I grabbed my water bottle and took a drink; while I was putting the lid back I accidentally crunched the bottle. The noise was really loud! I decided that was it; I wasn’t going to see anything now, so, I started packing up. Then I saw the flash going off again. At first, I didn’t even care. I figured it was just the groundhog again, so I didn’t bother looking. But, something told me to just look and make sure. And, boy was I glad that I did. Standing less than 15 yards from me was the buck I wanted! I wasn’t sure I could get into position without spooking him off, but I had to try. So I ducked down out of sight, and then slowly came back up. Luckily, he hadn’t moved at all. I was in the exact position I needed to be in for the perfect shot. So, I let my arrow fly; I hit right where I was aiming. I watched him take the path in front of me and then heard him crash not far into the woods. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to call Phil and tell him.

Phil was on his way home from dropping his buck off at the meat processing plant. He was close to where I was hunting, so we decided I would just sit tight and wait for him to get there to help me recover my buck.  When he arrived it had been about 45 minutes since the shot, so we headed down the path that the buck took. It didn’t take long to find him; he had traveled less than 50 yards from the spot where I shot him. I still remember my excitement! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him! Phil was so excited for me and he was very impressed with my buck now that he was seeing it in person. We had both managed to harvest the bucks we had picked out, and they were both magnificent animals.

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Needless to say, October 3, 2009 will always be a special day for me and Phil! It is not often that hunting partners pick out their bucks preseason, and then actually go out and get them on the same day. It is even less likely when your hunting partner is your husband or wife and best friend! The chances of it ever happening again are very unlikely. So, now you understand why October 3, 2009 will always be our special day!



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