Open Sight Buck: TTHA Member Story
September 2, 2016
Editorial Staff (293 articles)
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Open Sight Buck: TTHA Member Story

After setting my sights on this big guy, I knew I had to have him. He was the first buck I saw when bow season opened, and it was the pursuit of a lifetime hunting this deer. I sat in the treestand every afternoon I was home from school in San Antonio, but he failed to show himself. I caught him a few times on the trail camera, but those rare sightings motivated me not to give up because he was still out there.

As rifle season drew near I was nervous I would lose this buck to one of our neighboring hunters. I decided I might not be able to get him within bow range, but if he came within 100 yards, I would shoot him with Dad’s lever-action .30-30 open sight, something I had never done before.

Sunday afternoon my dad headed out to his stand and I headed out to the treestand with my bows and the .30-30. It was the first weekend of rifle season and the last day for me to hunt before heading back to school. I had hunted Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning with no luck. I had yet to see the buck.

Sunday Hunt

As I headed out on Sunday I was a little late getting to the feeder. I was so nervous I wasn’t going to see my buck. Knowing this was the last opportunity I would have to hunt until Friday afternoon, I worried I might have missed my chance by not shooting him the first time I saw him.

I sat watching a couple does and a small buck under the feeder, waiting patiently for him to come out. About that time my dad texted me to tell me the buck was at his feeder trailing a doe. My feeder went off at 5, while his was supposed to throw feed at 5:15. I hoped his feeder would scare the doe to our feeder, bringing the buck with her.

At 5:15 I got another text from my dad saying the feeder hadn’t gone off. The buck stayed under his feeder eating corn when he got there. I did my best to sneak out of the treestand with the .30-30 in hand, not willing to lose a shot at this buck.

Noisy

I had to sprint across the pasture until we were about 200 yards away from my dad’s stand and feeder. Noticing how loud my shoes were with fall leaves on the ground, I took them off and continued the pursuit in my socks to reduce the noise. Knowing this hunt would become an exciting spot-and-stalk, I attempted to calm my nerves and brace myself for the challenge I knew lay ahead.

Crouched down I stalked towards the tank dam that borders the feeder. Lying down, I crawled up the tank dam so I could see well. About that time, a wide-eyed doe stared right at me.

After coming this far, getting busted by a doe was not part of the plan. I sat as still as I could, but she was curious and fearless, coming about 10 yards from me before wagging her tail and walking the other direction. Just then the buck came into view.

Tension Builds

It was obvious he knew something was going on, because he kept looking in my direction. Every time he would look, my dad tapped the side of his stand to direct the buck’s attention that way. I wasn’t sure when I would get a shot at this deer as he headed towards my dad’s stand, and the brush behind it, but I knew I needed to move slowly and get ready, because if I got a shot, it would be for a split second.

He was walking through brush and trees where I could see him, but I couldn’t make a clean shot at him. Finally, at an 8-foot opening, he stopped just long enough for me to take a quick shot at about 50 yards. I was nervous. I knew this might be the only opportunity I’d get before someone else had a chance to take a shot at this buck, and I had to take it.

It was hard to tell from where we were what had happened. I didn’t know if I had hit him, or if my nerves had caused me to pull off target enough to miss. My dad was certain I missed because he had taken video from his stand and the shot didn’t sound like a hit at all.

Success?

I’ve never missed a deer in my life, so I didn’t take the thought of missing lightly, especially not missing on a buck of a lifetime. So we began tracking from where we watched him run. The first good sign wasn’t blood, but a broken branch where I could see he had stumbled, and sure enough, about 25 yards from where I had shot him, there he lay.

I was astonished when I actually saw him up close with all the kickers and how his antler palmated. This buck was even more awesome than I had thought originally. The best part was I took him on our land where I grew up.

From bowhunting him to shooting him open sight, and seeing the infrared shots of him on the trail camera, nothing did him the justice of seeing him up close. Being able to shoot the buck of a lifetime with an open sight lever-action .30-30, the gun that won the West, and the gun my dad used to kill his first deer with, definitely made for an amazing hunt and an amazing adventure.—Kalli Davis

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

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  1. PSEPRO2001
    PSEPRO2001 September 14, 02:42
    Congratulations Kallie That's an awesome trophy and great hunting with the ole 30-30.

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