Nothing messes with a deer hunter’s head more than a slump of not killing a deer.

Tom had gone for almost 30 consecutive days without killing a buck, a fact that constantly weighed on his mind. What made matters worse was that he was coming off a 2015 season where he killed four great trophy deer. The contrast was frustrating and made him a little grumpy with friends and family, but he continued to push through and log hours in the blind.

November 19 found him gun hunting in Illinois with camera man Ryan May. Tom’s team members Mike Klemmensen and Scott Manifold were both busy, so Ryan sacrificed time hunting on his own gun tag to come film Tom. The deer the Tom and Ryan would encounter on this hunt was one they had an encounter with back in 2015.

Back then, a mature buck nicknamed Uncle Buck walked in on the two. Tom told Ryan to bring his bow into the blind just in case an opportunity presented itself.

Tom whispered, “Give me the camera.”


“You’re gonna shoot this deer.”

To a young man crazy about bowhunting, sweeter words had never been spoken. Unfortunately the shot was off and hit the buck in the leg, leaving a superficial wound.  Uncle Buck would not show up again until late summer 2016. His velvet pictures on the Reconyx cameras showed he was alive and well living in the heart of Tom’s farm.

25 mile per hour winds buffeted the box blind on the 19th as Tom and Ryan kept watch over a field of standing beans and BioLogic Maximum. Later in the day, Uncle Buck stepped out into the food plot broadside at 145 yards but the high winds made Tom hold off on a shot in the hopes he’d get another opportunity with less wind.

That opportunity would come the following day on the 20th in the very same place, only in the morning. This time, Uncle Buck was at 100 yards and the wind wasn’t as much of a factor. Tom brought the Nikon scope of his Winchester SX3 onto the deer’s vitals and turned it loose.

The boom of the Winchester signaled the end of Tom’s slump. Uncle Buck scored 145 5/8ths inches. Not only was Tom relieved when he finally laid hands on that deer, but so were his friends and family that had to put up with his deer slump grumpiness.     

As told to Tim Kjellesvik