All that summer and early fall we'd been seeing more deer in the back yard than ever before. One evening we counted twenty, within 100 or so yards of the house — including nine bucks. The biggest was a nice ten pointer and a definite shooter. Deer don't pay any rent and the population seemed to run in cycles, so each year we eagerly looked forward to learning what nature had provided.
As it happened, our daughter Sara had picked up archery hunting a few years earlier, and since archery deer season opens about two months before firearms season, she laid claim to the shooter buck.
Brenda and I live in the country, with a couple of neighbors a quarter mile or so in front of us, but no one else nearby. Our house sits in the northeast corner of a small acreage, with a big patch of brush to the east and an old, grown up roadbed to the north. There are no crops in the area, but certainly plenty of habitat and browse for the deer. They also seem to like the clover and acorns in our backyard.
The northeast corner of our property was the perfect spot for Sara's climber stand. The strip of woods along our back line is 20 yards deep, and the big patch of brush to the east is 20 acres or so. There's a small pond in our back yard and the corner is a natural funnel point for deer to feed out, early in the evening. Sara had set up a few times earlier in the season, but without luck. This afternoon, like the others, she climbed up about 3:00 pm and waited.
The buck first showed himself at 5:10, as he jumped the fence from the brushy woods; he was following a big doe. The distance was 50 yards, through light brush, and both deer continued forward. At about 35 yards, behind some small trees, they held up and fed lazily for what seemed an eternity. Finally, the buck started moving right toward Sara. At 12 yards, she gave a bleat to stop him, and made a perfect shot. The big buck wheeled and ran back into the heavy brush. Excited beyond words, she called her mom and I, and her husband – and waited. Her backyard buck didn't go far; we tracked his blood by flashlight for only 40 yards.