The Ultimate Christmas Present

It was Monday, around 3:00 PM, and everyone was gearing up for the afternoon hunt. The guides were planning out who was going with who. I was put with Brian Hawkins, the camera man and good friend of mine. I figured I would just be hunting for a nice 150+ buck. But, when my dad told me I was going to be hunting for a deer that was about 160+ I was so ready to get out there. So, Brian and I set out at about 3:30 PM. A fairly early start. That was the least of my worries at the moment. The start of the evening was slow. It was hot and windy. Brian and I started filming me talking about how hot it was and things like that. I guess it was to pass the time. Right before dark, when I thought absolutely nothing else was going to come in besides a few small deer, my deer appeared! An amazing deer! I was sure it was him. But, Brian, not sure, told me not to get my hopes up and that he had to make sure it was the right deer first. By the time he did, the deer had already ventured into the woods and darkness was well on the way… much too dark for Brian to get the kill on film as well as for me to shoot. So, we went back to camp, eager for the next morning to come. I was frustrated and angry that night and it showed in every way. But, it takes much patience to hunt, so I new I could just get up the next morning and start a new day off with hunting a big buck.

Click to enlargeEarly the next morning I got up anxious to start a new day. I was with Brian again, but no worries. This morning was a good one and we could both feel it. The morning started out much like the night before. Only this time my buck came in soon after 7:00 AM. Although, it was much too foggy to shoot, Brian and I could see no farther than about 50 yards. The buck was at about 75. I wanted him to get to 40 yards before I even thought about taking a shot. This was a great deer and I wanted to take my time. Knowing that I could always come back for yet another hunt in the afternoon, we waited for a while but he was stuck on one doe that stayed in the same area. Finally he followed her into the woods and we didn’t think that he was going to come back out that morning. Then, when we were getting ready to go, a buck appeared on the other side of the blind. We figured it was the same look-alike that we had seen the evening before. But, when Brian took a closer look he was sure it was my buck. The fog had lifted quite a bit by now and it was safe to take a shot. I got ready. Off the record, I think Brian was a little bit more nervous that I was. But, let’s not point fingers. The deer turned broadside, and without delay I took my shot. I was sure I missed, but I didn’t want to show it on camera so I turned around with a big (fake) smile. “I think I got him,” were my first words. After the camera was turned off I told Brian my true feelings. We watched the film and decided that it was a definite shot! I was so excited. We went down to track him and immediately found blood. About 20 yards into the thickening brush I found my awesome deer! It was another success. But, my best success! As I would normally say off camera, “Dude, that was like totally awesome!”

Alex Brittingham