December 1: Mike Klemmensen

The fog-shrouded shadow appeared to be larger than the other deer that were feeding in the Biologic, so I went to my Nikons; immediately, I recognized it as a shooter even though the dense fog was still masking any particulars.

My bow season had been the slowest that I can remember; but soon I would have my trusty Thomson Center in hand so even the 50-60 degree temperatures could not dampen my enthusiasm. The sun began to set Friday night as I manned the camera for Tom in his quest for a giant we call Billy the Kid; my enthusiasm and anticipation were starting to boil over…tomorrow was the first day of gun season!!

The first morning was warm and we only saw two deer. That afternoon’s hunt, albeit unseasonably warm, turned our to be great. We saw several deer including two 4 year olds and a 5 year old that I estimated was about 145 inches. I debated on shooting this buck. In fact, I probably would have if I was holding the PSE, but it was only my first day with the TC so I passed. That night, as I reflected on my decision, I told Tom and my uncle Doug that I hoped that I wouldn’t regret that decision….in fact, I was thinking about my season and that maybe I had made a mistake. Tom could hear that in my voice so he responded, “When Phelps steps out tomorrow, you won’t regret it at all!!”

Phelps was given his name because he apparently loved water. It seemed that every time Tom checked his Reconyx cameras that were next to water, there would be this big nine pointer. This deer was always in and around water….thus, it was suggested by our friend Scott Manifold that this deer be named “Phelps” after the Olympic swimmer….and so it was!

Phelps was estimated to be 6 years of age and was a deer on our hit list. We were now set up in an area close to his favorite water hole on the second morning of our gun hunt.

My eyes strained to see this shadowing figure, but the dense fog kept his identity hidden from me. I pointed Tom to his direction. Tom lifted his binoculars and proclaimed, “That’s Phelps”. Because the fog, Phelps was now only 85 yards away, yet the camera was having a difficult time seeing him with clarity…heck, it was hard enough to see him through the Nikon binos. He slowly fed in our direction and then decided to take command of the field. He let out a snort-wheeze and moved some younger bucks away from a group of does. Phelps then sauntered over to say hello to the ladies; this was the mistake that put him in camera range and would now lead to his demise. I quickly found him the Nikon cross-hairs and put the TC to work!! The smoke from the muzzle loader cleared and Phelps once again disappeared into the fog….only to make it about 50 yards.

Tom was absolutely right the night before…..I don’t regret passing that first buck at all!!

Happy Holidays,