I have missed a few trophy whitetail bucks over the years, (more than I would like to admit). I guess that’s going to happen if you chase after the mature ones.  Depressed from the recent news of my Dad’s cancer, when a good friend called and said lets go on a hunting trip, that was all it took.

We were on Tennessee side of FT Campbell in October. It’s not normally  the peak time for the big ones to be really active. So in my mind, it was going to be a doe hunt to put meat in the freezer.  Fort Campbell only allows shotgun with slug, so I took my 20 gauge Remington with a smooth barrel and regular slug, not the most accurate thing past 50 yards

The Hunt

Typical of this area, I set up on the edge of a soy bean field in a spot that I had never been before.  At 3 pm ,  does and young bucks  started filtering  out to the edge of the field , but  way out of range for a shot.    Thinking some may come out in range of my blind, I sat tight. But they kept walking out to far away for a shot, and sunset was closing in.  I knew I had to do something if I was going to have a chance.   When the other deer were out of sight, I got out of the blind and walked 75 yards closer.  I sat motionless at the edge of the woods – (Thinking – I am shooting the next doe that steps out) When, –yes you guessed it,– the largest rack  buck I have ever seen in my hunting life stepped out.   I was “Buck shocked” in amazement, and unbelief that this deer was in front of me and within shooting  range.   My reaction time was to late, and he started quartering away from me before I could take a shot. He dashed off back into the woods and that was it.

What I really missed

What a day that was. I kept replaying the scene over and over in my mind – and still do some times- If “only this, and only that”.  Little did I realize, the one I would really miss would be my Dad, who left the earth two weeks later. Sort of puts it all in perspective.   I’m thankful that I was able to go and catch a fleeting look at that deer. It reminds me of how fleeting and fast life is. I am thankful for every day that is given to me. Number your days and make the most of them.

Rick Smith

Rick Smith

As young as I can remember I loved being in the outdoors. My dad would take me for walks in the woods and fishing at my grand-dads pond in L.A. (Lower Alabama). I grew up in Birmingham Al. in a place where the woods weren't far from my house. It is my hope that I could make a living doing what I love. -- Being in the outdoors.

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