Outdoor Articles

A Trip From California for 5 Bucks

by Pursue The Outdoors on September 24th, 2006 in Big Game Hunting

A Trip From California for 5 Bucks
By Paul Thein
I am not a trophy hunter, but I am a Minnesota native and have been hunting since as far back as I can remember. Deer hunting has always been a family affair, where the cousins and uncles all get together for a long weekend. The cousins now bring their sons, adding to the family environment.
I have lived in California for the past seven years and have not been able to join the family for the deer hunt since moving out west. This year, I specifically made plans to join the family hunt. I had a difficult time paying the out-of-state fees since I am now a California resident. I joked with my cousins that it would be cheaper to go to the butcher shop than pay these high fees. But looking back, I knew it would be worth the money even if I didn’t get a deer at all. There is something about a family hunt that is priceless.
The night before the opening day, we chose our locations and set up our stands. I picked one of my favorite stands from hunts past. It is a little more challenging to get to, but it is near a creek and heavy wood cover. This has proven to be a good stand in the past.
Party hunting is legal in Minnesota and at daybreak on opening morning I shot my first buck. The buck was chasing a doe in heat and crossed the creek right in front of my stand. Since there was plenty of daylight, and I could see the buck lying dead only 10 yards away. I stayed put, hoping another buck would come my way.
Twenty minutes later, I nailed another buck and saw it fall. I thought, “Wow! Two bucks in less than 40 minutes.” I decided to try my luck again, so I stayed in my lucky tree.
In the next hour, another buck came crashing through the woods and started rubbing a tree only 60 yards across the creek. This was unbelievable! I was also able to take that buck and thought that would be it.
I had dressed out all three and drug them close to my stand before I heard a buck splash across the creek at 100 yards away. I thought to myself, “No way! This is a bigger buck than the other three.” I was out of my tree, on the ground, and exhausted from dragging the other three deer through the woods across the creek, but I thought there might still be a chance of getting another one.
I carefully walked to my stand and grabbed by 12-gauge shotgun. I was able to get up two of the stairs on the ladder of my stand when I decided not to go any higher in case the buck came my way. Sure enough, just moments later, the big boy came busting through the thick woods 20 yards in front of my stand! I was able to take him, making my hunt the best opening day of my lifetime.
By 11 a.m. I had 4 nice bucks, all 8-pointers or better. I thought there was no way my cousins would believe this.
The next day I harvested another 8-pointer, so I filled five out of our eight buck tags. The family said, “No more for you,” but that was just fine with me. I never imagined taking five bucks — I thought the time with family was prize enough.
Paul Thein
Quincy, California

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