I first encountered this buck when he was an 8-pointer, on the last Saturday morning of crossbow season. I had crossed over to the back side of the swamp in my parent’s woods, and hung a little hang-on stand.
On cold days, I often bring hot cider in a thermos, and I had just finished a cup of that when I heard leafs crunching behind me. My crossbow was hanging on a hook, and there he stood 15 yards away, staring at that shiny silver “Stanley” thermos cup. Needless to say, I didn’t get a shot.
That spot is “crossbow only” for me, because it is under 500 ft from a row of double-wides in a trailer park.
After blowing my shot at that buck that morning , I removed that stand and hauled it back across the swamp. I put it up in a tree that scaled to approximately 525 feet from the nearest trailer, using Google maps satellite feature.
The following weekend, I was up in that stand with my bolt action Marlin 512, with the Bushnell banner scope that it had on it when I bought it. Something happened to that scope that year, causing me to see two images, side by side, at 100 yards.
About 1/2 hour after sunset, I had again just finished a cup of hot cider, when I heard hoofsteps and splashing downwind in the swamp.
I recognized the tall tined light colored rack from the week before immediately. He was moving slow. Seeing two images, I held the crosshairs in between and fired. He stopped at the shot. I cycled the action and fired again. That one knocked him down.
His hoofs were up and kicking but I couldn’t see the rest of his body. I got down and walked over, trying to stay out of the deeper water. When I got close, he had managed to right himself and the first thing I saw was the big antlers rising up above the bushes and cattails.
I removed the last Hornady sst and used an oddball sabot slug to his neck as “a finisher”, now I had the fun job of moving more than 200 lbs of dead deer from the middle of a swamp. He must have been a fighter, because he had lost two of his antler points, since our prior meeting.
My 80 year old father couldn’t help much, so I called my younger brother, who lives nearby. He brought back a big plastic sled which we used to float the buck out of the swamp. I gutted it on dry ground.
We hung the deer in the shade behind my dads barn and I hunted for a doe in the afternoon from another stand. On the drive home that evening, I stopped at a friends place, where they had a certified butchers scale. The field dressed carcass weighed 183 lbs.
A few years prior, G-man had posted the PA chest girth chart on the old site. One or two others there had expressed some doubts over the accuracy of that chart, so I used this opportunity to check it. I believe that the 183 lb weight was slightly heavier than the weight predicted by that chart for a 42” chest girth, but it was definitely “in the ballpark”.
I discovered while skinning, that all three of my shots hit that buck. The first one stuck him just behind the diaphragm and below the spine. The second hit a couple inches higher and broke his back. The third to the neck, at point blank range, put his lights out.
I threw that “two image” scope in the garbage, and that gun has been back on the mark, since I replaced it with a Redfield/Leupold Revolution 2-7x.