Mike: I have been an avid hunter in Tennessee since I was 10 years old and my step-dad took me for my hunter’s safety test. It took me 5 years to kill my first deer, then I was really hooked. Now I’m 34 and have been hunting all this time. I have killed a few nice 8s but nothing that would score over 120”. Until November 29, 2009.
Here is the story.
I was at LBL (Land Between the Lakes) with my brother-in-law on a draw muzzleloader hunt. We hunted the first day of the 2 day hunt without seeing anything from our stands. I repositioned my stand for the second day around some fresh scrapes and small rubs. Now with it being the last day of the hunt and having an either sex tag I was looking for a mature doe or a decent buck.
We got up that morning and the temp was 50 degrees and windy. We debated about even going to the woods, but decided we were there to hunt so we got up and went. I was in my stand about 45 minutes before daylight, reading my New Testament Bible, waiting for daylight as I read Psalms 113:3. The Lord showed me that we should praise him for every day no matter what the weather is. That was very humbling to start the day off.
Then it got daylight and I could hear a squirrel coming down a tree behind me. I looked and he jumped to the ground and started running around and playing. I assumed it was still him making noise behind me about 2-3 minutes later; when I turned to look again this buck was walking through instead of the squirrel! I got into position to make the shot, and I grunted to try to stop him (he was walking with his nose to the ground). He did not stop, so I decided to take the shot while he was walking. As I pulled the hammer back on my gun it slipped from my thumb and I hit the back of the gun, but the deer never reacted at all!
I shot in the next opening and he ran off about 50 yards and stopped; I thought maybe I had missed so I started to reload. Then he went over the ridge and it sounded like I heard him kicking in the leaves but I couldn’t be 100% sure. I got down and walked over to try to find any sign of blood, but I couldn’t find anything, so I went to where I last saw him and looked over the ridge--he was lying right there!
My Lord truly blessed me on this day with a very nice TN 11-point buck. They unofficially gross-scored him at the LBL checking station at 177 2/8. Thanks, Mike Byrum
Thanks Mike for your heartfelt story, fantastic public-land giant, way to go man! comment
PS: One point/lesson from Mike’s story. Once again a muzzleloader buck with no blood, so the bullet must not have exited, a common occurrence. When the smoke clears go to the last spot where you saw your buck like Mike did. If there’s no blood (look for cut hair too) don’t think you missed, you probably didn’t! Look hard till you find that deer.