I began deer hunting when I was around 9 years old. Thanks to my father who always made time to take me, I got to go and enjoy the woods. From about the time I became a teenager, I was addicted and started dreaming of “going on a hunt” and killing a monster buck. You see, where I live in extreme South Georgia, we have some nice bucks, but anything much over 120” is a rarity for our area. Well, after all of these years and a lot of looking and dreaming, I came across IMB Outfitters last November. It all looked good and when I called and talked to them, it sounded just as good. So now I decided that it was time to actually do this thing. I started talking to some of my good friends and 6 of us booked our hunt for the opening of the Nebraska rifle season next year. Now it was time to wait and try to forget about it until next November.
Fast forward to November 10, 2006. We are all on our way in search of our monster bucks that hopefully we would all have a chance at. The Saturday morning opener was cold with a temp of 14 degrees before the wind chill. It was cold to most folks, and it was dang cold to us So. Ga boys. The excitement and anticipation helped us to endure the cold and we set out for our first morning’s hunt. That morning I passed an 8 point that was probably in the low 130’s and around mid-morning I saw a 10 pt chasing a doe across a field. I could see his muscles rolling down the sides of his body as he was intent on herding that doe and wooing her into being his girlfriend for the day. It was tempting for me to shoot as he probably was in the high 140’s to low 150’s, but his G-4’s were short and from our pep-talk with the guides the night before, I had learned that I wanted my deer to have longer G-4’s in order to score well. After all, it was just the first morning and I was prepared to wait even though I knew that I might be passing my chance on the biggest buck I would have a chance at. One of our group, Bobby Bradford, killed a strong 8-pt that first morning that scored in the mid 130’s. He said he saw 4 big bucks and that he probably shot the smallest of all. It was a tall-tined buck with matching “bladed” G-2’s. Another one of our group had saw a buck that he guessed was in the high 180’s, but the guide corrected him and said he knew about the deer and they guessed him to be closer to 200”. It was a great morning with everyone seeing deer and nice bucks. My good friend John David Moore went out that afternoon and saw a ton of deer. He saw little bucks, big bucks, does, bucks chasing does, and passed a real nice 10 pt that was a shooter before finally taking one of the biggest 8 pts. you can get. It was a tall, heavy racked buck that scored 145”. This sounded like a hot-spot and when we retrieved his deer, we noticed all of the “pig” trails along the river. That was too much deer sign for me to pass up, so the next morning I was warming up John’s stand. I saw some does early and then I passed an 8 pt that was in the high 130’s. After that it was pretty slow. I came in for a quick lunch and then got ready and headed back out.
I had just climbed up in the stand and was getting settled in. I had pulled my pack up and was getting situated when I looked up and saw a doe on the riverbank drinking water. I hurried to bolt a shell in my gun and when I looked back up, another doe was coming out. Then I saw him. There he was coming behind the does. I could see the 10 pts tall tines and that he was heavy. Then he turned his head and I could see that he was wide as well. That was all I needed. I had always heard that when you saw “the one” that you wouldn’t have to think about it and it was true. I took aim and fired. He stumbled and tried to turn around, taking only 3 stumbling steps before going down. I couldn’t believe it. I had finally done what I had always dreamed about. I picked up my cell phone and called John and Bobby. John said he was afraid something was wrong, because after all, they had just left me not even 45 minutes earlier. When he answered I said, “I need you. I got him.” So they rallied the troops and came back out with a couple of guides to claim my lucky prize. After I hung up the phone with John, I looked and there was my deer standing where he had fallen. I thought, “Oh crap! What’s going on here?” But upon looking through my scope, I realized that it was a different 10 pt standing over my deer. He was another fine buck, not quite as big as the one that I had just shot, but almost. If they had came out in reverse order, I would have shot this one instead. Like the old saying goes, “I would rather be lucky than good any day.” That second afternoon was my lucky day.
My deer was a typical 10 pt with a sticker off one base, making him an 11 pt. He had a 20 in spread, 22 4/8” main beams, and G-2’s and G-3’s measuring 9 4/8” and 10”. He scored in the low 160’s and I couldn’t have been happier. Everything had turned out just like we had all dreamed about. IMB outfitters and their guides were great. They are just friendly, down-to-earth folks just like all of us in our group and we had a blast. They have a ton of deer, and a lot of real big deer. However, it is still hunting and the deer don’t read instruction books every day to know where to show up so they can get shot. In other words, everyone in our group saw plenty of deer. Everyone even saw big deer. Most people killed a good buck, but a couple did not. They could have, but they chose to wait on the bigger bucks that they had always dreamed of. If you remember, I took that same chance on the first morning when I passed that 10 pointer, but my luck turned out good. Like I said, I would rather be lucky any time.
Thanks to IMB Outfitters for taking care of us. Thanks to my friends who went with me. Thanks to John David for pre-warming my lucky stand. And most of all, thanks to the Good Lord for making it possible and blessing us with a great hunt and a safe trip.