It was the last weekend of Northern Minnesota's 2008 whitetail deer hunting season. Leif's trophy buck was following an estrus doe into a well used clover field. It was getting late in the day; only 20 minutes of legal shooting light left. The weather was cold, about 18 degrees with a stiff Northwest wind of about 12 to 15 miles per hour. Leif decided to deer hunt one of our 17 foot ladder stand's which covers a small 6 -7 acre field of clover. He had been this hunting stand since mid-afternoon.
He was cold, but knew he had to toughen it out if he was to have a chance at a decent big buck that had been coming into the area often. We knew this particular big buck was hitting this field at night as he had left a few scrapes along the field edges. We had a pretty good idea this nice buck had made it through the hunting season as most big buck hunting stories seem to get around; especially in our deer hunting area where most hunters shoot what they see when it comes to whitetail deer.
Leif had already bow hunted 2 full weeks and several weekends during the fall of 2008. As an ethical deer hunter; he had passed up shooting does, yearlings, and small bucks while deer hunting in the hopes of harvesting a trophy whitetail buck. I myself (Leif's dad), had already harvested 2 does with bow; so we had venison in the freezer. We weren't meat hunting now, you might say that square was already filled. We work to practice Quality Deer Management principles. We harvest a few does yearly and let the small bucks walk.
We allow ourselves to harvest 8 point bucks or better. Sometimes you make a decision to harvest what the good "Lord" blesses you with.
Staying On Stand Pays Off
With only a few minutes of light left for hunting, Leif's mind started to wonder. He thought to himself: "Only one day left to hunt with my Remington model 700, .308 caliber rifle after tonight." In December, I will only get a couple opportunities for deer hunting with my "Mathews" bow after this weekend. And it's going to start getting cold here in Northern Minnesota. At best, you hope for zero degrees and sunshine. Then Leif heard the familiar "crunch-crunch" of leaves being stepped on through the brush. It's about time he thought to himself, I hope it's a nice one. Then, all of a sudden, a doe and fawn bolted out of the dense brush into the clover field and started grazing on their evening salad mix of frozen clover and other grasses. Leif's heart sank, another doe and fawn.
When is it my turn? He thought. He watched the doe for any signs of other deer approaching. She kept looking back into the brush from which she had come. Leif heard nothing. Leif noticed her tail was waving in the air. It was level to her butt, kind of half mast he thought.
Maybe, just maybe, he thought. Leif gave a low, subtle grunt from his doe grunt call. A minute or two passed. He then heard another familiar "crunch-crunch" coming towards the field. Everything became quiet. Leif's heart started to race as he hoped this was the big buck coming in to have dinner with his sweetheart already in the clover field. He controlled his breathing and repeated to himself, "Stay calm, just pick a spot behind the shoulder when he comes out. Don't screw this up! Stay clam and breath."
There, not 50 yards away, he seen a nice 8-pointer coming into the field very slowly and cautiously. The big bucks attention was on the doe. Leif raised his rifle, took aim and slowly took the safe off, thought again to himself, "stay calm", he then took in breath of cold fresh air and released a little as he did a shallow grunt with his call. The whitetail buck froze in his tracks. With care Leif squeezed the trigger.
The Hornady Light Magnum, 308 WIN 150 grain SST Interlock, round traveling at a muzzle velocity of 3000 feet per second did the rest as it hit just behind the shoulder going through both lungs just above the heart. The 8-point trophy big buck collapsed right there - motionless. Leif, a successful deer hunter, had his nice trophy deer.
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Some of us in the deer hunting party had heard Leif shoot. We, our 4 deer hunter party, were dispersed throughout an area of about 200 areas in and around our family farm. Leif was hunting with his cousin Zack, brother-in-law Casey, and me his dad (Steve). About 20 minutes after we heard him shoot, Leif came and told us he had shot a yearling and needed help tracking it. We took my "Polaris 500 Sportsman" and hooked up my "Otter Sled" and headed off to help track Leif's deer. Boy! - were we surprised when we pulled up to Leif's big buck.
We loaded it up and brought it to the farm barn area for field dressing. Way to go Leif!