Hunting CommunityReader Story: James Hazen's 10-Point Buck Hunting Season

Reader Story: James Hazen’s 10-Point Buck Hunting Season

The deer hunting story all starts on a Saturday, November 12, 2022, I had a lot on my mind.

 

I have shoulder surgery coming up in December and I have a ton of projects that I wanted to finish before that date.  After all, I’m looking at 3 to 6 months of recovery.

Despite this, I said to myself, “Never mind all of that! It’s hunting season and it doesn’t last that long in New Hampshire, so go and try and kill Bambi.”

 

Before I got ready to head out into the woods, I went to talk to my oldest son.  He’s 20 now and is just getting back into hunting.  He took the last couple of years off to pursue other interests.  Namely, a girl. This year though he was ready to get back to the woods.  However, he doesn’t have a gun.

So, I let him use one of mine.  So, I asked him which he would prefer, the 12-gauge shotgun, or the 30-06.  I think he was worried that he would choose the one I wanted, so I got an “I don’t know”.  I told him, “I have killed many deer with the 12-gauge with no sites, so I have a lot more experience with that gun than you do.  If you want the 30-06 you can take it.”

After hearing that, he gleefully said that he would take the rifle over the shotgun.  I didn’t care, after all, I had killed 3 other deer with the shotgun with slugs and felt like I knew the weapon well.

As I was getting ready to go into the woods, my wife told me I should try a different spot before I went up to my tree stand.  After all, she has seen a lot of deer in that area when she is on her daily morning walk.  So, I walked out there and was quite happy with what I saw.

There were so many signs that the deer were all through that area.  While I was looking around, I suddenly heard one blow.  I stayed as still as possible and waited, looking in the direction I heard the blow come from.  Nothing ever came out.  I left that area and made my way up to the top of the mountain where my tree stand is.

As I took my time walking up the mountain, trying to have the eyes of a hawk, looking for any little movement, I suddenly realized, when I was nearly at my tree stand, that I had forgotten my harness for the tree stand.  So rather than hike all the way back home I decided to just walk past my tree stand and stand at an area where I have seen many deer in the years past.  This as it turns out was one of the best decisions, I could have made that day.

This section of the forest is full of Oak trees and is usually extremely noisy as you walk through the leaves.  However, the rainstorm from the night before and that morning made the leaves virtually noiseless.  I proceeded to walk to an area that was a ridge, and I could see quite aways on either side of that ridge.  So, I went to a small oak, leaned myself against it, and made myself as comfortable as possible.

In between looking over the area both in front of and behind me, I would get on my phone, check emails, read part of a book, anything I could do to take up the time.

After being in this area for about an hour, I heard a noise behind me.  To my everlasting turmoil, I saw my nemeses.  A Big fat Gray Squirrel running over branches and causing some noise.  I watched it for a while and was amused by it.  As I was watching the squirrel the cold that I was getting over suddenly came back into my chest and caused me to start coughing and hacking.  I tried to hold it back, but as you know the more you try to hold it back the worse it gets.  I just let it out and coughed to make myself feel better.

After this coughing fit had ended, I didn’t know if I should just call it a day.  It was about 20 minutes or so until sunset and I felt like I scared everything away.  Everything except for my friend the squirrel who was now jumping from tree to tree.  I decided to stay until dark just to say I gave it chance and did all I could do.  It was about 10 minutes later that this line of thought paid off.

I was paying attention to only what was in front of me, and I thought I would let my squirrel friend behind me do what he wants to do.  As I was watching the woods, I could hear a wet rustling behind me.

I just decided that the squirrel was on the forest floor now.  However, I suddenly heard a loud “CRACK!!!” The thought suddenly came to mind ‘that was no squirrel!’  I carefully and methodically turned my head as much as I could in order to see behind me.  That’s when I saw the brown monster.  He was about 60 yards away from me, moving towards me with his nose down to the ground.

I turned back towards my front and looked down at the ground to see what obstacles might be there when I turn my body.  There was nothing there that would make noise and spook the deer.  I slowly turned to my left, leveled out the shotgun, and put the bead on the end of the barrel on the buck.

I didn’t want to shoot it from that far away, then it came about 10 yards closer, turned to its right and I had a perfect broadside shot.  Again, I lined up, put the bead on its back now, took a breath, started to let it out slowly, then pulled the trigger!

Suddenly the buck flinched, then leaped forward, ran about 40 to 50 yards, stopped, and stared right at me.  I started to try to eject the shell but my nerves in the heat of the moment caused the shell to get stuck in the gun.  The buck is just staring at me, I finally get the shell out, and pump in a new one.

During these few moments a barrage of thoughts are going through my mind, like, I couldn’t have missed, am I going to get this thing reloaded before it runs away, how am I going to get this thing back home with my bummed shoulder.  Suddenly the deer turns away and starts to step…funny.  It went about 10 feet and dropped.

When I got to it, I saw the beautiful creature whose life I had just taken.  I got on my radio and tried to call my son.  I got no answer, so I tried to call my wife on the radio.  Still no answer.  I then took out my cell phone and called home and told my boys I needed help.  They were eager to come up and help.

They grabbed a 4-wheeler and put a trailer on it and brought that up the mountain.  While I was waiting for them, I called my wife and told her my season was over.  She asked if it was a buck to which I confirmed and only at this time did I decide to count the number of points on the antlers.  I was extremely pleased to count 10 points.  This is a personal best for me.

After I got off the phone with her, I thanked God for the sustenance that he has seen fit to give me and my family through this creation of his.  I then cleared a way in for the boys to help with the deer and proceeded to clean the deer out.  We got out of the woods after dark and then the process of checking in, then processing started.

It doesn’t matter how many times I go hunting if I get a deer or not, I always have a great time.  However, When I do happen to get a deer, this just seems to make it all worthwhile.

This year’s Buck was 10 points & 163 lbs.

James Hazen

NH

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