By Austin Avanzato
It was a perfect night for hunting, but it almost didn't happen. Being in school, dad working, and with dark coming sooner now we had to pick our day to hunt. We had to go this week because on the previous weekend my dads buddy dropped his harness tether rope behind. I went to school knowing that evening we were going hunting and that my dad's buddy sat in my stand that prior weekend and saw a big buck on private land pushing does back and forth. I was excited knowing this and remembering that my dad said, "The deer you see on that private land often come to our property for better bedding."
After school I was tired and hungry. My dad sat waiting, but I was taking my time. He finally said, "It's getting too late to go hunting. By the time we get there we will be pushing deer out." But I insisted we still go and got my butt in gear and we hustled there.
On the ride up my dad encouraged me to walk around the corn to my stand and not between the corn and the woods I was hunting. He said, "The deer lie watching." So, I decided to walk around... and was glad I did. I reached my stand and climbed up, got all tied in and started watching for movement. I wasn't in the stand for twenty minutes when I saw a doe come out with a huge buck behind her. I was shaking like crazy. In the past two years my dad and I have harvested 130-140 class bucks, so i knew this buck was huge.
I pulled up on him but did not have a rest for the gun. I tried to get as steady as possible. When I did I put the cross hairs on him, pulled the trigger on my dads "old faithful" 12 gauge and watched him drop only 20yrds from where he was standing. I shot again as he flopped once because I didn't want him getting up, but that shot never hit him. My dad later told me it was an 80-90 yard shot. All I knew was dad gave me my rules, "Anything in this area, put it right on him.", he said. My Dad tells the story like this:
I stood watching Austin getting my attention by waving and fist pumping. I knew this buck had to be bigger than his last one. I walked over to him, helped him down and we walked up to the buck together. When we got there I hugged my son, high fived and stood in awe. I don't know if it was the size, or the fact he was lying in briars that had me more in awe. I think we both looked at it in silence except for the words "Oh My God" over and over. I know I have been and will always be looking for that big buck to show himself. But, in a way, this is more gratifying. No one can take this away from Austin, or the experience from either of us. Maybe now it will sink in..... What he just did.
Austin's Ontario Co. Boone & Crockett buck grossed 182-4 and netted 176-0
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