By Steve Mitchell
My 2012 deer season started as well as it ended. My good friend Jeff Grinstead invited me to be part of the Trifecta Outdoors family as a Pro Staff member. We put in a lot of time and hard work planning our upcoming bow season, hanging trail cameras and planting food plots. We had two nice bucks on camera we hunted hard. Numerous nights and mornings spent in tree stands and ground blinds with nothing but a little bonding with Mother Nature to show for it. We never encountered either deer the entire bow season.
Now it’s gun season. I was hunting with two family members for the week. Opening day I went to an area that I had not bow hunted in hopes of seeing one of the bucks we had pictures of. It was a very slow day. If memory serves me correct I saw three does which were all out of shotgun range. The other two guys in my hunting party were a little more fortunate killing a doe and a smaller buck.
Instead of going with my gut feeling on Tuesday and going back to the same area I elected to hunt a stand we hung earlier in the year for bow season. Note to self: Always go with your gut! If I would have gone there I would have had my first encounter with a buck we had pictures of. A family member had to watch the giant pass at 30 yards, as he had already filled his buck tag.
Wednesday I went with my gut and headed back to the area that I had hunted Monday and also where a giant had been spotted the day before. As daylight broke in the cold dark holler, I caught movement on the hillside to my left. It was a buck making his way off the hillside and towards me. The buck worked his way to within 50 yards where he stopped behind a tree. The only things I could see were his head and tail. Each time I took my eyes off of him, it was hard to relocate him. He froze and wouldn’t move. After taking a moment to study him I knew he was a shooter. I also realized that I had never seen this buck on my property until this encounter. As each moment passed I became more and more nervous, as a member of my hunting party was due to be coming off the hillside and directly toward the buck.
After the longest 15 minutes of my life, the buck finally moved. However, he turned back towards the direction from which he had come from. At this point I knew if I was going to take a shot this would be my only opportunity before this deer walked out of my life. I took a good aim at the vitals and fired my shot. The deer took a leap, stepped forward, and stopped behind yet another tree. As he stood there I heard my hunting partner making his way through the woods. I began to fear that the deer would become spooked and flee the scene. A second later the buck take one step forward, fell, and rolled down the hill. My shot was money!
I later found out that my neighbor had multiple trail camera pictures of this buck and had been hunting this buck all season. The motto rang true again. As we like to say here at Trifecta Outdoors, “Expect the Unexpected.”