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After hunting for four months through four different states without a kill, no one would have blamed Rick for calling it quits on his deer season. Still resolute to finish his year strong, he headed to Texas for one more push.

DOD regular and Lone Star state native Daryll Burttschell helped lead Rick to this particular ranch. Rick first visited the property in September, but with his hunting and traveling schedule, was unable to hunt it until this trip. On his four-month journey he had passed on young bucks while holding out for a mature deer. He’d even been to Texas three times already on another ranch and only had the opportunity to pass on up-and-coming deer. Multiple good bucks were showing up on camera in a variety of locations on this new ranch, so Rick left his home state of Pennsylvania and headed south.

With his trail camera intel, Rick knew one location on the ranch had the highest amount of deer activity, though for his hunt on the first night, the wind was wrong for that setup so he hunted another location. He left the blind that first evening with a full quiver.

The following morning Rick climbed into his Muddy blind well before daylight. Deer activity remained high and he wanted the surrounding area to settle down before shooting light broke. When daylight did arrive, there were already more than 15 deer in front of him…just no shooters.

Just after first light, the wind swirled and spooked the herd, sending them bounding off in various directions. 15 minutes later, a few does began to filter back in followed by one of Rick’s target bucks, a solid Texas ten-pointer. The buck never offered a shot before drifting back into the sage and mesquite. A few minutes later the buck returned, again to walk away without a shot opportunity. The third time would be different.

On visit number three, the ten-pointer finally got down to 26 yards and paused broadside. After one last confirmation from his Leupold range finder, Rick came to full draw on his PSE Evolve and released a Rage Chisel Tip, sending it just behind the buck’s shoulder penetrating both lungs. The blood trail was solid and short. Rick had his hands on the first buck of his season in no time.

Rick’s season is just another proof that deer hunting is about more than merely killing an animal. His investment of time, travel, and treasure did ultimately pay off with a great buck, but had he not killed, I’m sure he would have considered it a worthwhile pursuit just the same.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.