2010. The thought of that deer season gives me goosebumps. It was unreal, no other way to put it. It wasn't just the fact that I shot my first buck that year when I was 15 years of age. It's the fact that in big woods northern Minnesota, where it can be rare to see a buck over 2 1/2 years of age, our deer camp harvested four, yes four bucks over 135" in the matter of a week. All of these bucks were at least 3 1/2 years old, and they all were probably over 4 1/2.
It all started opening weekend. My buddy Drew who own the deer camp, shot a monster, but didn't recover it. He thought he shot it square in the shoulder, and with a high powered rifle, he wasn't convinced the buck made it alive. He tracked the buck from opening day of rifle season to that Thursday. Four full days of tracking him through some of the worst imaginable terrain. We hunt near lakes, and this buck broke through ice heading out to multiple islands. After tracking him for days, Drew recovered him. It was unreal, as the buck more or less made it miles on just three legs.
The day that Drew recovered his biggest buck to date, a 157" 12 pointer, my best friend and his dad both shot their biggest bucks to date. I was in school, with my phone getting blown up with texts. My friend Kale shot his buck on the edge of a lake in a cattail swamp, and his dad, Terry, shot a buck we had on trail cam all summer. It was eating at me that I wasn't out there hunting with them. Luckily, I convinced my parents to let me out of school that Friday and I was chomping at the bit to get out to deer camp that night to see their bucks and hunt myself.
Once getting out to camp and seeing their giant bucks, I was beyond excited to get into the stand the next morning. At the time, I had never shot a buck, and wanted to worse than anything in the world. It was Friday, November 12th, a morning I'll never forget. As the sun rose, and illuminated the world in front of me, the woods came to life. I had deer moving all morning. I finally had a nice eight pointer cruise by me, but he went through my shooting lane too quickly, and I could never get my scope on him. I grunted at him, attempting to bring him back towards me, but it did something else. After grunting, I noticed movement to my left, and once I turned my head, I almost fainted. It was a huge buck coming right at me! I quickly grabbed my gun and got on him. He came right in to 18 yards, looking for the source of the grunt. I put the crosshairs on his heart and squeezed off a round. Lets just say he didn't make it very far. I couldn't believe what had just transpired. Not only had I shot my first buck, but it was a 137" 10 pointer. I was so thankful for being blessed with being able to take that buck.
As I sit here right now, six years later, I can't help but wonder why. Why was that year so productive. In the years since, we haven't had near the success of 2010. There was more mature bucks shot in a week, then there has in the six years since. What I do know, and can say confidently, is that it is a year to remember, and we made stories that will last a lifetime.