Deer & Deer Hunting

THE ART & SCIENCE OF TRAILING DEER IN THE SNOW

The rut is a magical time of year for deer hunters. It reminds me of gambling and hoping for a lucky break, even if it is a long shot, as bucks can show up out of nowhere. Hunting my back-woods, I was fortunate to have my deer gambling pay off when the biggest buck I’ve ever seen on my land showed up out of nowhere. I had rolled the dice by getting out of bed and walking to my favorite hunting stand and the magic of the rut delivered.

It was early November, and the snow was falling gracefully from the sky in big flakes. With barely a breath of wind, the morning was everything a deer hunter could ask for just being outdoors. When rutting activity kicked in, I saw several does and identified two bucks I had seen many times. I was enjoying the show but didn’t get excited until Mr. Big showed up on the tail of the hot doe. My heart rate doubled immediately.

The deer ran in and out of sight over 10 minutes but eventually stopped broadside at 50 yards. I squeezed the trigger on my Traditions muzzleloader, and when the smoke cleared, the

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