I was driving to work last night, using a road I've driven since I was a young man. It's a two lane black top that goes up and down hills and has a few good curves to it. This road passes by houses, farms, fields, fence lines and wooded acres. It's these last four that produce some really well developed deer in this area.There is very low hunting pressure due to large tracts being owned by individual families and other parcels owned by folks that don't allow hunting. The deer have outstanding feed, water, cover and minerals that produce large healthy fawns, twins and triplets every year. So, traveling along my way last night I see a big bruiser standing in the ditch next to the road. He must have been 275-300 pounds on the hoof and had a rack of 10-12 points spreading wider than his ears and at least two times higher than his ears. With good feed this fall he could tip the scales towards the 400 mark. Very excellent buck. If he doesn't travel across any ones shooting lanes this fall he'll have some nice genes to pass along. It's amazing that these big animals, in huge numbers to boot, are seldom seen and can live in a residential/farming area and do so in in relative secrecy.
I used to hunt up in northwestern Missouri. It is some very productive hunting grounds. One Saturday morning after 5 inches of rain we hunted a section of land along the White Cloud River. At that time I was driving a big, powerful, lifted 1978 Ford Bronco. I tell ya, it was a beast. The hunt organizer asked me to load everyone up and take them about half way across the section. A section that had been disked and then had five inches of rain on it. What a ride! We made it to the halfway point and I turn around to be heading towards the return line. We all dispersed to our favorite stands. I selected a woody fence row that had a field on either side and a wooded draw making a T with the fence. It was still raining at that point. I was swiveling my head around looking for any sign of a deer in the heavy rain when I spotted something in my peripheral vision. Turning to the right I spied a big buck crawling under a fence. He then stood up and sauntered across the field behind me. I turned around and raised my rifle only to have the scope it blurred by the rain and condensation. I watched in frustration as the buck moved to that wooded draw and laid down. When we all met at noon to check in the taken deer and get lunch too. I told the organizer the story and he said we would come back and put me at the tip of the draw and have a couple guys walk up from the bottom. When we got back I was not happy at all. One of the group, a slovenly, disheveled, toothless young man and his uninvited friend decided to come back without anyone and walk that draw. When we returned he was sitting in the field waiting on us. He had walked up in the rain and shot that buck in his bed. The organizer, the assholes father, was very angry with his son for his action. Any way, dick head pulled his ratty old Blazer over to the draw and it took 4 big strapping men to load that deer in the truck. This buck had to go way over 400 pounds. His sides and neck quivered with accumulated fat. A massive 12 point rack adorned his head. Did I help load it? Fuck no. Later when we were pushing the river banks, dick head shot a small buck at the bottom of a twenty foot high bank. He wanted to borrow a knife and wanted me to help pull the deer up the bank. I told him to pound sand. Was that nice? No. Was it the right thing to do? Seems like it. Did it feel good? Bet yer ass it did.
Just to clue you in to the vagaries of the weather in these parts, the weekend in the story was about 50 degrees and rainy. We came back next weekend and hunted that same section and it was -7 degrees and the snow came up to my knees. Yes, it was bitterly cold. To cap that weekend, I had brought my wife and my buddy brought his too. We left them in the Bronco parked on the road at the south end of the section. My wife had smuggled a bottle of Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps with her. When me and my friend finally made it back to the truck, the radio was playing loudly and the girls were hammered. Seems they were partying while the two of us were struggling across a frozen wasteland and freezing our asses off.