The not-so-Northwoods Minnesota buck

by Ron
(Twin Cities, MN)

I have always been passionate toward hunting. When I was a young kid I had so much anxiety built up looking forward to my father to come home and tell me of what he’d seen or to show me of what he’d gotten. This was when I was too young to hunt of course. The year before I had gotten to hit the woods with my own tag, I helped my father build a stand for me and we set it up about 200 yards or so from our backyard. We ALWAYS had deer around. One night I went out with him during Minnesota’s then 2 day shotgun firearms season. We lived in the west metro and usually had quite a large deer herd for some odd reason.
As we were out in ‘the woods’ we saw some deer headed our way, 16 of them!!!
None were bucks that my dad wanted to shoot so we left empty handed. The next year I was eager to get out to my stand when I was 12 years old and legal to hunt deer in Minnesota. My dad let me shoot my first deer as a fawn, but advised me ‘why would you want to shoot a doe or a fawn again’ the next year.
So I set out to get a buck the next year and thought it would be relatively easy due to the amount of deer we had seen years prior. I sat the whole morning not seeing a thing. I was really ticked actually. I was a kid, I wanted everything now. I remember complaining to my dad about not seeing anything and saying everything was stupid, why aren’t there deer? I was ignorant. My dad told me to stop complaining and that “that’s why they call it hunting!” He told me that we’d go do a drive. A deer drive behind my house that I had seen conducted many times with no few results. The last time anyone shot a deer on that drive was probably around 5-6 years prior when my sister shot a little 2×2 or as we call them in MN a 4 ptr.
He started the drive and I could hear him yelling to get the deer going the whole time. I heard something! I took a quick peak from behind the tree I was standing to see what was coming. I thought i’d see a coyote, which I would plan to shoot anyway, but was hoping I would see a big buck. Low and behold, a buck was coming! I saw some antlers on his head, but they looked small. Being this was my possible first buck, I had every intention of shooting him regardless. As the deer came into range I knew it was getting too close for comfort, I ended up shooting him with my 20 gauge at around 5-10 feet away dropping him instantly and sending him sliding across the muddy ground. I was very excited and my heart was still beating rapidly. My dad was yelling ‘you get one!?’ ‘you get one!?’ over and over, and I yelled back to him to affirm that indeed I did drop one. He got up to me and we gutted him and got ready to drag him up the hill to our house. He was a basket racked 5 ptr, not very big, average buck for our area. My dad’s last remark: He would have been a real nice buck last year…

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