I just finished my Minnesota firearms whitetail hunt and harvested a 3-point buck. I know some people will think I’m crazy for killing a young deer, but where I come from filling the freezer is the top priority.
As the small buck approached my effective shooting range, I told myself, Let him pass, he’s too small. Then as he trotted closer yet I told myself, Don’t pass on this one … he may be your only chance this season. And at this point your freezer is empty. It was as if I had a little devil and an angel sitting on each of my shoulders arguing over what to do.
His trot abruptly stopped, broadside behind a clump of brush. I didn’t want to risk missing, so I held off for a better shot. Suddenly, the buck took off on his trot once more. With no time to waste, I tried to pull out my buck grunt call but it was stuck in my vest. I had to move quickly; he was 75 yards out and moving fast. I led him just a bit, squeezed the trigger, and to my surprise he jumped straight into the air. His 4-foot leap froze me, and I was unable to get another shot off as he barreled into the woods.
With his leap and at the speed he raced into the woods, I didn’t think I hit him. I sat in my stand for roughly 20 minutes and thought, I better go make sure I missed. As I approached the spot where the buck had been standing, I noticed a mass of blood. I got him, I thought as I turned and headed back to my stand to grab my backpack.
Taking my time, I zigzagged through the woods, tracking the solid blood trail. Eventually, I discovered him buried head-first in tall grass. After recovering the buck, I didn’t see where my slug had struck him. I did, however, notice that he seemed to be a bit bigger than I expected.
I pulled him out of the grass and quickly realized that I had lead him a touch more than I wanted to, and my slug landed right in his neck. I also noticed that his antlers seemed a bit weak for his body size. Either way, my freezer is one step closer to being filled.
As of now, our group of nine has only killed two deer, and my deer was the only one shot opening weekend. I’m staying optimistic, hoping the rest of group can fill a few more tags.
The more I think about it, the more comfortable I become with my decison to shoot the young buck.
Do you hunt to fill the freezer or for trophies?