It was gun season 2011. i would much rather harvest a deer with my bow any day, but due to odd circumstances, i was working and living 400 miles away from home. however still in my home state of michigan, i decided to keep hunting all bow season, only to see a few nice bucks, none in bow range. i was hunting only public lands, made a little more difficult, however i never ran into any trouble and i had unlimited room to move around.
the first day of season i didnt have any luck but the second would come to be the most memorable moment in hunting up to this point in my life. i had woken up for the morning hunt.. my stand was about 3 miles away next to a river bottom. it was about 1 mile away, through the woods, from my bow stand i had hunted earlier in season. i would drive a four wheeler within a half mile of my stand, and then walk the rest of the way. i had to drive down some old two tracks that you would never get even a small truck down. it snowed about 2 inches that morning and almost the whole ground was covered, while some snow remained still clinging in the trees. but it had stopped snowing just as i was leaving to go to my stand. i was only a few hundred yards down the road when i noticed a large track in the snow shadowed by the lights from my wheeler. i got out and observed the track.. this was no doubt a monster by looking at the track. and it was fresh, it had just got done snowing, and i knew he was no more than 10 minutes ahead of me at best. the track.jpg
i was hunting on state land so i had free room to roam so i decided i was gonna track this ol boy benoit style! and i knew the area i was hunting in was hard to access so i didnt have to worry about ruining another hunters sit. i sat on my wheeler and waited about a half hour until it got light enough to shoot. then the hunt began. it was easy tracking at first, he remained walking down this overgrown skidder trail for about 400 yards. mixed in with a few doe tracks here and there, but nothing unmanagable to figure out.. he must of been walking through another feeding area because there was some doe tracks. there were some acorn caps on the ground, they were probably feeding here just before light! the ground was tore up with tracks, and i lost his track in the confusion.i didnt get discouraged so i did a large circle around the mess of tracks in order to single out individual sets. they were more isolated this way. i eventually found his track. it was going down a small deer trail towards a river bottom with what looked like a doe track.. the river bottom was a cedar swamp, and there was no snow on the ground because all the snow had been clinging to the cedar trees.
so far i was about 3/4 of a mile away from where i parked my wheeler.
i started walking down the deer trail, it was my last option, there was no snow on the ground in the swamp because it was all hung up on the trees. i no longer had his track.. but the direction i was going was the same direction of the last visible print of this big buck. i walked down this deer trail slowly, and scanning intensly for any movement. after about 150-200 yards i heard something sneaking around me in some tag alders. i walked off the trail towards the sound, which was about 40 yards away only. i encrouched on the sound about 15 yards and then stopped. i had no calls on me and i was nervous to know if this sound was the deer i was tracking and i may have scared him off. but there was no way it winded me, because he was upwind of my scent.. so i figured thats why he was trying to circle me. i let out a grunt with my mouth. it sounded pretty good, so i let out another. then i waited. i could hear something coming towards me from about 75 yards away. it was a deer! I could see its face but i couldnt see any horns. i could tell it had its head low and was trucking my way down the deer trail i had walked off 15 yards away.. then he stepped out from the cedars 20 yards away on the deer trail.. there he was, the buck i had been tracking, a monster. i raised my remington 742 thirty.06, given to me by my grandfather before he passed away, and then got the bucks vitals in my sights and squeezed. he jumped up and took off, i threw up again, got fur in the scope and pulled. he then dropped... only 30 yards away.. i put my rifle on safety, used it as support as i got on one knee and thanked god for this opportunity. my childhood dreams of harvesting a big buck in the woods were now fulfilled.. joe.jpg