In the February/March 2012 issue of North American Hunter, we held a "You Call the Shots" contest featuring the photo at left. More than 100 NAHC members participated, but only two were rewarded for winning submissions. Check out Shane Keenan's first-place submission in the June/July issue of NAH.
Dean Blanchard took second place and won a Caldwell Matrix Shooting Rest. Check out the text from his winning submission below.
Tool: Slug gun (open sights)
Range: 65 yards
Wind: 5 mph, right to left
I’d have to pass on this shot. This would be the biggest buck of my life, but it’s too dark for me to get the kind of shot that I like to take. I’d have a difficult time seeing the iron sights on my gun when aiming behind the buck’s shoulder, and I try to take only high-percentage shots. If an opportunity isn’t perfect, then I won’t be able to see a deer react to the shot, which makes it very difficult to see the direction a deer travels if it doesn’t drop in its tracks. It would also be difficult in this low light to see if this buck is having trouble running after my shot. All this information is used to determine how fast to start tracking and some of the signs to look for. For example, I find it helpful to be able to follow the tracks of a hit deer because they can be very distinctive. Depending on the terrain, it could also be difficult to mark the exact spot to start the tracking. And finally, another hunter could be walking within range on the other side of the buck, and I wouldn’t be able to see him or her because it’s getting dark. I prefer shots taken in decent light with a large backstop, and this scenario doesn’t have either one.
Congratulations, Dean! And to everyone else—keep your eyes open for future contests and giveaways.