First Buck O' the Season

Maryland's early three-day muzzleloader seasonwhich fell on Oct. 21-23 this yearis always a marquee attraction for my hunting crew. The combination of pre pre-rut activity, the late autumn chill in the air, beautiful foliage and the acorns falling at a record pace gives this long weekend of hunting a special allure.

Oh, and it just so happens to be the season in which I've knocked down most of the bucks I've harvested. That helps too.

This season everything came together perfectly. The acorns covered the ground like Mother Nature had just busted an oak tree pinata, we had a 55-degree high, several smaller bucks were spotted locking antlers and there was a nice fresh scrape about every 20 yards.

But it wasn't until Saturday morning that I got my chance to let the smoke pole loose.

I had moved my climber to the edge of a holly thicket that was lined with white oaks. With the full moon in effect and a steady wind during the day, we weren't seeing any deer in our once well-traveled soybean plots. Those sneaky bastards had moved almost exclusively into the heavy cover where food and bedding were just a few yards apart.

When the sun attached itself to the treetops above I immediately spotted a small six-point and four does in the thicket about 20 yards in front of my setup. All five deer seemed content to wander around under the oaks with their heads down, munching away.

Around 8:30 a.m., my attention was captured by what looked like a big buck's chocolate antlers bouncing along in the thicket to my left. Sure enough, I soon found him with the help of my Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x42.

He lumbered out of the pine-clad thicket and into the open timber. I hesitated for a moment, remembering the Boone & Crockett-caliber bucks we had been seeing on our 145-acre lease property.

But he was a mature buck with what looked to be an impressive set atop his skull, so I lined him up and squeezed the trigger.

The result is below. I sunk a Powerbelt copper 295 gr. Aero Tip into the base of his spine—he didn't take another step. The Thompson/Center Triumph Bone Collector in .50 cal. had no trouble pulling it off.
walk upt/c deer

He is a good, mature deer. He was 16 3/4 inches wide, 17 inches tall and had a broken left main beam. He was 141 pounds field dressed.


As HS pro staffer Eddie Salter once said, "He ain't no huge deer, but he's big enough to ride in Eddie Salter's truck."


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1 Response to First Buck O' the Season

Van Dyke BergenI wrote:
October 30, 2010

I also got my first buck of the season while hunting Marylands 3 day muzzleloading season. I shot a 9pt 170 pound on the first nite he was travelling to a soybean field just be fore dark when i shot him with my TC encore w a 3 to 9 Omaga scope. i was shooting Powerbelts as well. 270 grain platinums He ran about 80yds before dropping. I traveled down from Vermont to hunt this 3 day season. Maryland rocks!!!!