37-week pregnant wife Laura was perfectly warm in my IWOM.

37-week pregnant wife Laura was perfectly warm in my IWOM.

Never in my life have I shot a large buck past November 18. That was in no part due to a shortage of effort as December cold fronts are my favorite time to be in the stand!

Thanksgiving morning began with a quick trip to a foggy rainy backyard sit that revealed nothing but a disappointing card pull on the deer cam....After church, we headed to Thanksgiving dinner. Talking with my Dad as I looked at the forecast, he suggested, that maybe this once I should skip a hunt and relax with Laura. I later told him that all of his life advice has been wonderful up until that specific piece.

With a SW wind, my Kalamazoo access allowed for very limited options. The fact that Laura could come along, made up my mind to sit the 'dirt pile'. I didn't want to make my 37-week pregnant wife climb a tree. The 'dirt pile' is just brush and debris from the clearing of the field that sits along a swamp edge, next to a cut corn field. The swamp is a perfect sanctuary that is nearly entirely surrounded by water and is owned by PETA activists, making it impenetrable, both by permission and physically.

After sitting for an hour the wind began to pick up and my hopes waned. Seeing deer this time of year on evening sits has never been a trend for me. I shivered with cold as Laura was perfectly warm in my IWOM Outerwear.

Splashing in the swamp revealed a little spike headed our way from a place I thought way too deep of water to cross. He slowly made his way in and we both thought, that's it, he is going to bust us. At 3 yards he froze, eye to eye, for what seemed like 20 minutes in a stare down. Calmly he walked past us and began feeding on the corn after checking out the WYNDSCENT.

As dusk shifted into complete darkness, 5 minutes of legal time remained. Splashing again revealed deer...doe....another doe...I pulled up my binos. Just for confirmation, I looked behind the second doe. I saw tines pop out of the cattails. A tall 8 point I didn't recognize. The does cut through and popped into the bean field at 100 yards. I lost a visual on the buck.

With 2 minutes of legal time left and my camera full of grain and fuzziness, the 8 point was on top of us right there at 25 yards and walking straight at us. I let my shooting sticks fall into the weeds as I reeled my scope back from '9' to '3' to adjust for this point blank shot. I slowly raised my gun as he closed to 10 yards. As soon as I found vitals in the scope I let a soft grunt go pausing him for less than a second before I squeezed the Savage 220.

After a half hour of excitement and getting the gear into the truck, we went after him. Blood spray was everywhere at the shot. Then nothing. We pressed forward anyway. 50 yards later, I got back on blood via a trail as we entered marsh. 30 yards later, Laura pointed over my shoulder and there he was. In the category of inches, this buck didn't impress, although mass and height always make for cool looking deer. Still thinking this was a new deer I rolled him over to see my exit shot. I also saw a 7" broadhead scar on the bottom of the stomach and instantly everything was clear to me. This is the buck we had lost sleep over wondering if he had died or not, after Sam had connected with him last year. We had tracked him over 1,000 yards that day eventually coming up with nothing. The rack was nearly identical and the shot in the right spot confirmed that we had completed a two-season chapter of history on this piece of land with this buck.

Each whitetail holds an incredible memory. This one, in particular, starts with a heartbreaking day of losing a whitetail after an all-day track and ends with a face to face 10 yard shot, the epic height of intensity when it comes to deer hunting, and ultimately the first deer I have ever shot with my wife to enjoy the whole experience.

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