Bagging Big Bucks

Opie with His Opening Day Buck in the Fog

Well we had a tough deer season here in Michigan. Early season had us hopeful that we would really get into the deer but the deer and conditions just wouldn’t cooperate. We were plagued with warm temperatures, huge storms, rain and wind. Add to those factors a bright full moon during peak rut times and you end up with possibly the worst recipe for daytime deer movement.

But despite all these factors we persisted and continued to hunt hard despite the lack of deer sightings from our stands.

Things all changed for me on opening day of Michigan gun season when I had a great encounter with my first shooter buck of the season. It was a warm morning and the fog was so thick I couldn’t see more than 20 yards until an hour after dawn. At 830, staring out into the fog I was startled by the distinct thundering of a 12 gauge coming from the woods were PT was sitting. A few moments later I received an excited text from PT letting me know that he had sent an ounce of hot lead through a shooter buck. He new he had a solid hit on him with good blood but could see that the deer had went over 100 yards and was apprehensive about the shot he had made. I assured him that we would find him and told him I would come get him from his stand at 10 to help track the big boy down.

At 9:30, just as the fog began to lift around my stand i peered out of my blind to see a bruiser of a buck slowly sneak out of the standing corn to my north. I stared at him and slowly reached for my gun wondering just how big he was. A moment later he turned and began slowly walk away from me revealing an impressive rack. I quickly pulled up my 20 gauge and put the iron sights right on him. I let out a loud bleat and he came to a stop broadside at 60 yards. I squeezed the trigger and felt the recoil of the shotgun. The buck jumped, kicked and landed in the grass looking around in bewilderment. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t hit and once again put the sights on him and squeezed off another round. Another jump kick from the buck and he slowly started walking towards the swamp to my south. What the heck I thought, how am I missing him? So I took my time and put it on his front shoulder and slowly squeezed one more time. The shotgun barked and the buck dropped in his tracks. I had my first shooter buck of the season but had surely used up all of my luck for the year.

I couldn’t believe it and neither could PT when I texted him that i had a bruiser buck down on the ground. Within minutes he was walking up to my stand and we were heading over to get our paws on him.  After snapping a few pictures to send around to the boys we jumped in the truck and headed out to find PT’s buck. His buck was a little less eager to die than mine and the tracking job was pretty extensive. After trailing his buck over 400 yards we finally spotted him dead in his bed on an oak ridge. The smile on PT’s face as he rushed up to his buck was enough to make the day worthwhile.

PT with his Opening Day 8 Pointer

What a day that was! It really doesn’t get any better than that. Being out with friends and family in the woods, enjoying the tradition of hunting on a beautiful morning and the experiences and memories that are shared along the way.  That is definitely one opening day that will stay with me for a long long time.


  • Josh Dickerson

    Great story Opie!