Typical Deer - Modern Firearm Record

1. Harry Brown 190-1/8 2009

My parents, Mac and Bonnie, raised my four brothers and I on our small farm in southwestern Ontario. As young kids, my brothers and I often played with pellet guns, bow, and arrows. We would hang pop cans from the trees that grew in our yard, and the older bothers showed the younger ones how to use the sights and aim the guns. My dad did some trapping in the fall and winter to supplement the farm income so I have memories, as a young child, watching dad skin animals in the shed behind our house. He also butchered pigs, lamb, and rabbits. The first animal he taught me to skin was a pig; my younger brother and I had missed the school bus so dad thought we should learn something that day.

I remember my first hunting experience, very well. My father took my young brother and I raccoon hunting with him; after dark, we walked the tree lines on the farm. My job was to hold the flashlight while we searched the treetops for raccoons curled up on the branches. I held the light on it and dad fired the gun and it then began to rain, or so I thought. My brother and I were disgusted. It was blood, not water that rained down on us, from the coon in the tree above.

My older brothers missed school during the deer hunt to accompany our dad and some of the other men. I remember being very envious, as I reluctantly boarded the school bus each morning. Years later at age 19, I got my chance to go and experience the hunt. I got my first deer that week, while hunting with my father, younger brother, and a few other men. It was nice young buck with no rack. I was happy to have made my first kill.

My father and I had been busy farming all week and had not found time to go out during the deer hunt of December 2009. That Saturday morning, dad was on his way to an auction sale, when he saw a buck with a big rack go into a bush not far from home. He continued on to the auction and returned home a couple hours later. As we ate our lunch, Dad proceeded to tell me about the deer he had seen. After finishing our meals, we decided to go out and see if we could find it. We grabbed the guns and had my mother drop us off at the north side of the bush, where dad had seen the deer earlier. It was a 30-acre bush with a creek running diagonally through it. We knew the deer had gone into the northeast corner and had probably bedded there. Dad directed me to walk up the north edge of the bush, while he walked the north side of the creek slightly ahead of me. The plan was for the buck to see him first and, when he realized that I was walking straight at him, he would go straight ahead or to the north into the open field. If the buck went south then dad would be there.

I walked in quietly, being careful not to make any noise, scanning the forest for the buck. When I was two thirds of the way across the bush, the huge buck stood up only 30-yards in front of me. He stood broadside looking straight ahead. He had heard me, but was unsure which direction I was coming from. I quickly, but calmly, raised the gun to my shoulder and took the extra second to make sure I had the gun aimed at his heart. I pulled the trigger and the gun went off. The deer jumped a little, as the buckshot hit him in the side. I quickly pumped the shotgun and fired again. The deer turned to run, moving slowly, as he fought to get his huge antlers through the tree branches. As he kicked his hind end up running away, I fired my third shot, a slug, and the buck ran out of sight. I walked to where he had been standing and began to look for blood.

I soon found a drop of blood on the ground. I followed the blood trail, one drop at a time. It seemed as though I had not hit him very well by the lack of blood I was finding. I tracked him almost to the end of the bush before I lost the trail. Dad met me there and I explained what had happened. We were unable to pick up the trail again and decided that he must have cut out of the bush and crossed a small section of field to another bush. We spread out and began to walk the field, being ever so cautious, and always looking for blood. Half way across, dad hollered for me and I ran over to him. He had found a small blood-covered piece of bone. Looking at it I knew right away, it was a piece of leg bone and the deer must be hurt badly.

We continued on to the bush and began to walk through. I quickly picked up the trail again on the freshly ruffled leaves where the deer had run. I followed it across the entire length of the 20-acre bush to the northeast corner. We tracked him along the fence line for a short distance. Then the trail cut across the fence and into a long grass field with a deep valley cutting through the middle. Here we lost him again. We searched the grass for the deer or any sign of a trail, for a couple hours and could not find anything. We continued along the fence to the end where the valley meets it and becomes a small bush. We walked through, thinking that maybe the injured buck had come this way. We pushed three deer out of the bottom of the valley, not even bothering to shoot at them. There was still no sign of the buck. Disappointed and tired, we gave up and walked home.

Later that night while talking with a friend about my days adventures, he told me that his father had been feeding cattle on the next road while we were hunting. He saw the big wounded buck run across the road, over the fence, and across his pasture, towards a small bush and creek along the back of the farm. The following morning we spoke with him and got permission to look for the deer. We walked across the pasture and began to push our way through the small bush. We soon found the deer because he didn’t make it out of the pasture.

Despite my mother’s protests and refusal to let it in the house, we are having it mounted by Advanced Taxidermy and Wildlife Design. His antlers were very large, but my father and I had no idea that they were a record. It was three months later, when we took it to a local buck show in the town of Brigden, that we were informed that it was the new Ontario typical record, shot with a modern firearm. It was later taken to Bass Pro Shops in Toronto where a panel of FROW & B&C measurers verified the score from Brigden and confirmed that my buck was the largest typical whitetail ever shot by a hunter in the province. What a great year!

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