February 2, 2023

My 2006 Deer Hunting Success

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I have returned from the woods of western Maine after my annual deer hunting trip to camp with friends. I had some success in bagging a nice 6-point buck. I would estimate him to be a 1 and 1/2 year old buck, very healthy, fat and solid. I did not take the time to get him weighed but the general consensus is he might tip the scales at around 160 – 170 pounds. I must admit, he is good eating as my grandchildren in Bangor can attest.

Here are two pictures taken. Below that, is a brief story of the hunt.

Tom Buck 2006
Within minutes of downing the buck, hunting partner Dennis Doyon snapped this photo of me holding my prize.

Tom Buck 2006
Back at hunting camp, we got the deer hung in the tree. U.S. Hunting Today chief photographer, Milt Inman, grabbed an opportunity to get a photo.

I wish I had a great story to tell of how I became fortunate enough to bag this guy but it was mostly happenstance and doing a few other things right. It was the last day of camp – Saturday. I had seen only one other deer all week and that was on Wednesday morning halfway up the mountain, under the ledges in beech whips. I messed up on my one and a half second opportunity to bag a trophy buck. The reason? I wasn’t looking for deer. That simple. I hadn’t seen a track all morning and had let down my guard and the rest has been told countless times. When will we ever learn? The deer I got a glimpse of was big. One of the bigger bucks I’ve seen in the woods in a while.

What was comical to me was at the moment I knew my chances were blown, I wondered if the Benoit Brothers would have had him? After attending their school this past spring to do a story, this was one of the things the boys tried pounding into everyone’s head – when you get a chance a a trophy, you’ll only have a second or two.

Regardless of the missed opportunity, it played a partial role in helping me tag this 6-pointer. When I entered the woods, I was looking for deer and I hunted that way. It wasn’t an ideal hunting day to say the least. Mostly sunny, windy and cool. At that time, temps were running in the 30s I believe. To make matters worse, the wind was mostly at my back but swirling.

I was moving very slowly, taking one or two steps and watching and waiting. When I crested a knoll, I stopped for several minutes scanning the mix of hardwoods and evergreens. Much to my surprise, nearly dead ahead at about 40 yards, I spotted the back half of a deer. (I have video of where I stood and where the deer fell when shot. It shows two large poplar trees that blocked my view of the front half. I will make the video available later when I have more time.)

I slowly raised my .308 and got the back half zeroed into the crosshairs. The deer, I believe, had spotted me at some point but hadn’t figured out who or what I was. He moved his head quickly up and down and I caught glimpses of antlers in the bright morning sun. I knew then beyond a doubt, I had a buck in my scope but I didn’t want to shoot the backside.

I began to lean slowly to my left. I leaned so far that I began to shake from the strain. When I got what I believed to be right behind the front shoulder in the crosshairs, I squeazed a round off and he fell in his tracks.

I stood motionless for a minute or two. The buck tried to get up. I immediately positioned a shot high in the neck just behind the back of the head. That finished him.

I later discovered that the first shot entered just in front of the right front shoulder at the base of the neck, hitting the spine. That’s why he dropped instantly. What I am puzzled with is how the bullet entered there when I wasn’t aiming there. I haven’t answered that question in my mind yet. Obviously something went askew when I pulled the trigger. I was leaning so far to my left that my gun was rotated nearly 90 degrees to the left. I’m sure this awkward position and being at only 40 yards played a factor. I opted to lean rather than run the risk of a bolting deer if I tried to take one step to my left. I think I made the right choice.

My hunting partners came to my assistance and I am grateful to them for their work in getting the deer out of the woods. Gregg Inman field-dressed him and Dennis Doyon and Travis Coffman dragged him out to the “mule” where we loaded him and headed back for camp.

I plan on submitting a complete story of the week’s events with pictures and videos as soon as I can get it done. Personal events have prohibited me from getting it done sooner.

Tom Remington