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November 15: Mark Drury

This is the largest buck I have killed in Missouri with a gun. It’s a buck that I have over 300 Reconyx pictures of. I estimate his age to be 4 ½ to 5 ½ years old. I knew going into the Missouri season if I had a chance at him I was going to take him, either with a bow or a gun. I had plenty of daylight photos when he was in velvet, but once he dropped his velvet, I had only one picture during daylight. Everything else was at night and I didn’t know if I would see him. But the rut changes everything.

Opening morning of rifle season found me like every other hunter in Missouri – facing a very stiff North West wind. I sat until mid morning with very little movement. I decided to get down and go to a spot that was about 500 yards away from where I had seen some movement during bow season. I snuck in and started setting up an Ameristep ground blind. While I was setting up the blind, a 135-140” 10 point walked by and didn’t even look. There’s no doubt the rut is going on when that happens! I sat in the blind until mid day, broke for lunch, then headed back around 2. As I settled in the blind for the evening hunt, I got a text from Terry saying he had killed a monstrous 10. The good news had us on high alert and anxious to see what the evening held.

At about 3:45 I saw a shooter come out at over 800 yards away. I thought he could have been a mature 9 point I had a lot of Reconyx photos of, but I wasn’t sure. He disappeared into a drainage that led towards us. About 30 minutes later some does bounced out of the drainage. They had been chased out by the buck who then stepped out at 175 yards. I hit the horns together and came in on string. He gave me at 75 yard shot after which he ran 50 yards and piled up. I immediately shared the story with Terry. What a great opening day! Our memories aren’t what they used to be, but I can’t remember a time when Terry and I both harvested bucks on opening day of any season.