By Peter L. Dauphin Jr.
I’ve only been an avid hunter for seven years. When I shot my big eight point four years ago, people were all telling me to mount it because it was a once in a lifetime buck. Boy, were they wrong! I know I’m going to make most hunters cringe when they read this story, so I will apologize right from the start... sorry guys!
It all started this summer when I lost the right to hunt on my father-in-law’s property due to a family dispute. When looking for land, I was willing to go anywhere that whitetail were roaming. I asked a co-worker of mine if I could have permission to hunt with him on his grandma’s land. Happily, he let me join the quest for a monster buck (in our eyes, that’s about a four point).
We hung a tripod near a watering hole and a single stand deep in the woods where there was a three-way crossing of deer tracks. After we hung the stand, we noticed a little sapling where a small buck rubbed his velvet. That obviously got Mike and I really excited.
Being a father of two beautiful girls under the age of three, I had to pick my days right. I’m all about trying to get a good deer, but more importantly, I don’t want my hobbies getting in the way of my fatherly duties. I did a few hunts here and there but was saving all my good days of hunting for November. I told my wife I would like to do an all-day hunt on November 5th and November 6th. She agreed for an all-day hunt November 6th as long as I stayed with the girls November 5th so she could do an all-day shopping trip to Niagara Falls (an agreement I happily took).
November 6th couldn’t come fast enough. I would occasionally go out and do a few hour hunts here and there and check the occasional camera. On the night of November 5th my buddy called with some terrible news. He told me he couldn’t go hunting because he came down with strep throat. I was devastated. I asked him if it was alright if I went there myself and he said sure, I just had to call his grandma and let her know. Nervously, I called her and with the sweetest grandmother voice she said, “No problem and thanks for asking for permission.”
The morning of November 6th was extremely foggy. My twenty minute drive took a little longer because I had to drive twenty miles per hour due to the low visibility. I then walked thirty minutes to my stand deep in the woods. I was lucky to find it because the visibility was so poor. Up in my stand, I waited patiently for the sun to come up. I was extremely blessed to sit in the serenity of the beautiful woods, listening to the dew drop off the leaves, thankful for having a beautiful family, job and good friends to let me hunt with them.
It was a slow morning. I didn’t see or hear anything till about 9:00. My friend was just sending me a picture of the six point he shot that morning and I looked up and saw a scrappy little eight point. My eyes lit up, my buck fever kicked in and I was pumped to see this monster (remember, I’ve only been hunting for seven years and a scrappy eight point is a monster in my eyes). He came in, head down, nose occasionally up, scent checking the ground for the next available doe. He entered my shooting lane and I yelled at him to stop... nothing. I yelled louder and nothing. I finally screamed and he stopped right in the middle of a sapling. No shot. He moved further out of my range and I was devastated.
Two hours later, the biggest doe I’ve ever seen moved quickly into range and out of range. Devastated again, I waited patiently. A third deer came in twenty minutes later. I saw horns... big horns. Not knowing how many, nor caring how big, I watched him take the same path as the previous two. I stood up and waited, knowing right were to stop him. This time, I shouted loud. He was further than the two, but I was no longer devastated. I no longer had buck fever. I was now determined. I put my 30 yard pin on him and I dropped him right in his tracks.
Too afraid to look at him, I sent some text messages out, had a snack, pulled all my gear from the stand and slowly walked his way. With excitement, I counted and recounted each point until I counted to ten about a dozen times. Still, not totally convinced, I called my wife to tell her there was good news and bad news. The good was that I shot a deer. The bad was that it was going cost her $500 to get it mounted.
I was totally blessed for having the opportunity to harvest such an amazing buck. I am blessed because so many people provided me with great opportunities to set the wheels is motions. First, I would like to say thank you to Mr. Robert Dauphinais for taking me to buy my first bow as a youth. I would like to say thank you to Michael Ekstrom for being a good friend and allowing me to follow him with his hunting journeys. I would like to say thank you to my mentor and father-in-law, Rusty Benson, for teaching me everything I know about hunting. Lastly, I would like to say thank you to my beautiful family, especially my wife, Corinne Dauphin, who whole heartily supports my hobbies and even listens to every last world that comes out of my non-stopping mouth. Thank you, God, for a beautiful day!
Peter's big 10-point was taken in Chautauqua County... Frewsburg NY.
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