November 20th 2008 was a start to one of the greatest weeks in my life! That night my high school football team was going to be in the division 4 state championship football game, something my friends and I had dreamed of playing in since we were little boys. Little did I know that exactly a week later I would also have the opportunity to tag my biggest buck to date.
Our team needed one last win to cap off a one-loss season. For Wautoma, this was a new experience because no football team before had ever made it to state. Growing up, my group of friends made it our goal to be the first to win a state championship. That night was our chance, and we took full advantage of our opportunity. On an absolutely bitter cold night, where the cups filled with water on the sideline froze over, our Wautoma Hornets defeated Big Foot 20 to 0! I will never forget the joy we all had celebrating together on the field lifting up the state championship trophy.
The next week was definitely crazy. We had classes at school, but it really didn’t feel like a day at school at all. We celebrated all day and tried to pay attention in the classes where we actually had stuff to do. Then on Saturday, the Wisconsin gun deer season opened. That opening weekend I saw a lot of different deer, but never had any shooters step into the swamp I was sitting in. A short week of school and my favorite holiday of the year was what I had to look forward to in the coming week.
Ever since I can remember Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. The crisp/cool weather, day spent with family, a big brunch after a morning hunt, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NFL football games, a Thanksgiving meal, more hunting, and a day you get to express your thankfulness…need I say more!?! Well, for some reason if people in our hunting clan didn’t have any luck on the opener, Thanksgiving was our lucky day. November 27th was no exception, and it was about to be the perfect ending to an amazing week!
It was the perfect morning to be out in the woods. My father who is a fireman headed to work, and I headed out into the woods to sit in his stand! There was frost on the ground and the sun came out with the warmth that puts a smile on your face. Within the first hour I saw 2 does feeding in a field a ways out, but other than that it was a pretty slow morning. Good thing for me I had the essentials packed along, some venison jerky and a thermos filled with hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was in and out of my backpack a couple different times that morning!
Brad (my brother in law) was out hunting that morning on the other side of the property and we were texting back and forth trying to figure out what was moving. Mid sentence I looked up and surveyed the land to see a buck with a really nice rack. I really didn’t have much time because the buck was on the move following the trail of a doe. Quickly I put my phone in my pocket and reached for my rifle. I put the scope on the deer and waited for it to give me a shot. The big eight pointer stopped and looked over my way and I pulled the trigger. The buck ran into the woods and I heard a really big branch break which I assumed was good news for me. I felt really comfortable with the 200-yard shot I took so I texted Brad and let him know what had happened and told him I was going to look for the deer in about a half hour.
Thirty minutes later, Brad brought over the Rhino and together we road over to the spot I last saw the buck run into the woods. Sure enough the loud noise I heard was a large branch he broke off a dead tree when he fell over. Not even 30 yards from where he entered the woods, my second trophy of the week was down for the count! I immediately sent a few pictures over to my dad and filled him in on the story.
After field dressing and registering it, we headed home and enjoyed our Thanksgiving Day with the rest of the family! God has definitely blessed me and I am truly grateful for everything He has done for me throughout my life. That week in my life is indeed an example of that, and I definitely had a lot to be thankful for on that 2008 Thanksgiving Day!