I could only imagine the thoughts that surged through Francis Smithâ€™s mind when the sun glistened off that buckâ€™s monstrous rack.Francis said he become aware of just part of the bucks head and all of the rack about 180 meters away. The buck was likely taking a short afternoon breather during the rut.
Choosing this field of goldenrod, it was a secure location to easily spot receptive Does and other competing Bucks. It was the third afternoon of the 2006 Deer controlled shotgun hunt in Wildlife Management Zone 89B. A comfortable day for early November, not the type of day normal for this time of year with a wicked east wind and snarley snow. Nope just a light southwest wind, partially cloudy almost too nice out for deer hunting. Well ok, any day is a great day to hunt. I just never seem to hit those bluebird days unless Iâ€™m duck hunting!
Francis was scrutinizing this distant buck when movement to the right caught his attention. A hefty Doe that had been hidden from view while crossing the creek bottom had now appeared at the edge of the scrub brush and field. The eleven other deer hunters Francis was co-hunting with had harvested seven deer up to this point. Mostly Bucks of various weights and rack sizes with a couple of chunky Does. Everyone but Francis had seen and talked about this monster buck roaming the area.
This crew of deer hunters consisted of blockers and the remaining six as pushers. Blockers would quietly sneak into a pre-planned position long before the pushers began their brisk tramp towards them. Eventually the pushers would begin their quest of rousting any deer bedded down or hidden in thickets to begin moving in the direction of the patient blockers. Many a time in the past when it was my turn to be a blocker I suspected the drivers of my group of hunters had delayed the march in favour of a hot breakfast at the local dinner. But that was never proven. Having been a pusher occasionally I shall remain quiet on that topic.
Francisâ€™s party of deer hunters varied in age. A few eighty-year old gentlemen hunters and some energetic teenagers averaged this group out to about forty years old. I would say all in all a great blend of experience and energy to have a successful Deer drive.
As to Francisâ€™s trophy Buck, with the Doe now on the move he quickly drew a bead of his Ithaca on her vitals that was perhaps 35 meters away and picking up momentum. A single shot growled across the field of goldenrods.
The Doe was in full flight now with only her dignity injured. She made a clean escape without a second slug sent in her vacant vicinity.
The now startled Buck was up and dashing in the Doeâ€™s last known direction, his nose raised to get her scent. Apparently the noise from an ounce of hot lead was of less concern than a departing Doe.
Francis picked a spot just behind the Bucks front leg as it stopped momentarily between bounds. At just over seventy meters Francis knew his shotgun was capable of dropping this trophy buck of a lifetime if he focused on the bead at the end of his barrel. He held his breath and squeezed the trigger.The second shot in what seemed an eternity but was mere seconds since the Doe had disappeared boomed out. He knew it was a solid hit.
The buck sprinted about 130 meters before dropping in the goldenrods. Pretty good shooting for open sights on a shotgun. But for a 78-year-old hunter I would say awesome and congratulations! Francisâ€™s Deer tag was filled for the 2006 season. The rack scored by Randy Robins came out at a gross score of 189 and a non-typical score of 175 3/8. Awesome. Francisâ€™s interview with me can also be heard in its entirety on the Internet Podcast at www.rippleoutdoors.com