Last year at this time I lost almost all hope for the farm I hunt in Missouri.  What used to be a deer haven seemed like a ghost town. When the season ended I was distraught and disappointed. With the upcoming year full of wedding plans and school, I needed to put the farm on the backburner. As all of these events were unfolding the farm was in the midst of a full rebound unbeknownst to me. As the season approached I checked my cameras after our early September wedding and discovered the farm was holding a bevy of deer.

As the season progressed I was able to close in on a few of my target bucks. After a miss on opening day and a few close encounters, I was left with nothing but failed opportunities.

All of the pieces finally fell together the morning of the gun opener. After the corn was harvested, new deer began piling in putting the odds in my favor. With a new set hung in thick cover and food on both sides, my camera man Andrew Bennett and I knew it was only a matter of time.

The morning started slow, with temperatures in the low 20’s we knew the sun would have to be up a little before movement started. Right at 8:20 the deer started passing through, small bucks, does, more small bucks and then the words every hunter wants to hear from their camera man, “big deer coming”. The buck was coming in at the thickest part of the ridge, in range but too thick for a shot. Game faces were on and the conversation between hunter and camera man was in full swing “On him”, “no, no, no”, “take him”, “no shot”, “on him”, “no, no”, “on him”, “kill him!” My largest deer to date dropped in his tracks.

This past year has been full of surprises, I feel fortunate the way the season has played out. Big thanks to the O’Neil family for sharing their beautiful farm with me and also a huge thanks to my camera man Andrew, this does not happen without him behind the camera.