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It's been three years since my last whitetail journal entry! Rick Malik and I have worked so hard to kill whitetails for the past few years, and finally, we both tagged out in 2011. Rick was able to take a great 160 inch 10 point in November with a bow, and a solid 130 inch 9 point for me with a muzzleloader. I don't know about you guys, but when gun season gets here and I still have a tag, my spirit starts to drain. The rut is winding down and the hunting pressure is on the rise. This year was different. Rick was blessed to be able to shoot his deer at the end of the seek phase of the rut. We had seven more days of vacation to fill one more tag. We hunted hard, but as it's been for the last three seasons for me; no luck. Gun season opened with bad weather, rain and high winds for the first three days. We hunted the first day and had a nice encounter with a two year old eight pointer who was displaying rut-like behaviors. He worked a scrape and checked the does in the field we were hunting.

With limited time, we decided to hunt Thursday, December 1st. The weather was perfect. Thirty Five degrees with light West/Southwest winds; just a perfect evening to hunt. Rick and I decided to hunt a stand that we had not hunted all year. The stand sat at the end of a long steep ridge which had a thick, logged out bedding area behind it. The night started slow with no movement until late afternoon. At 3:45, we saw a couple of does way off from the stand. For some reason (probably Rick moving to film the sunset), they spooked well out of range. I said a little prayer of thanks to God for giving us the opportunity to be in the timber on such a perfect night. Twenty minutes later, I looked out to the ridgeline and I spotted a buck. At first glance, I didn't think it was a shooter. Once I looked through my Nikons, I was pleased to be wrong with my first assessment. I grabbed my Thompson Center and got ready. This buck climbed out of the steep draw we were hunting and proceeded to walk right to the stand. When the deer got to about ten yards, Rick said "you better shoot soon!". The TC went boom, and smoke filled the air. I thought the deer dropped in his tracks, but he ran out of the smoke cloud and down over the steepest ridge in the state of Ohio and proceeded to roll down the hill like a mountain goat. Finally, the three year drought was over on December 1, 2011 on a perfect evening on a steep Ohio ridgeline. Thank You to my family, my partner Rick Malik, Mark and Terry Drury for sticking with me through this dry spell, and always thanks and praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.