It’s always a surprise to me, when I actually shoot a whitetail deer in Missouri. You see, I’m a fairly particular hunter – here at home. He has to have big and heavy antlers, with eight or ten points. Yes, I’ll shoot a big eight-pointer; in this area they aren't common and are a great trophy. Any deer I shoot needs to be big enough to end the season over; otherwise, I just keep hunting.
This buck came into sight late afternoon of the first day, during our 11-day rifle season. He was off to my right in the edge of the woods, at about 125 yards. At first glimpse, he was a shooter. The wind was blowing from my left, so I had the windows closed to help keep my scent in the blind. Standing slowly, I raised the window, got down on the floor and positioned my rifle on the windowsill for a shot. But all to no avail, as the buck was moving deeper into the woods; never saw him again the rest of the evening.
My stand is near the east edge of a ten-acre field, with relatively close shots to the left and right and behind me. However,
it’s nearly 400 yards to the far west end of the field; and I want a gun/caliber combination that allows me to confidently take a shot at that range – when necessary.
This deer must have been a late evening or nighttime buck, as I hadn’t seen him on opening morning and he didn’t show up on the second morning. It was well after sundown on the second day when he came out. Our season closes 30 minutes after sundown and it gets harder to see with every passing minute. There were a few does in the field and he was noticeably bigger, but I couldn’t see horns with the naked eye – at 125 yards.
With binoculars, it was obviously a buck with heavy horns, but I couldn’t quite make out the individual points. He was walking slowly my way, following a doe, when I put down the binoculars and reached for my rifle, turning the scope to 12x. Great; a nice heavy ten-pointer, but offering me only a frontal shot. I checked my watch, three minutes till closing time; he was only 75 yards. And then he turned broadside and this was the buck that ended the season for me.