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Dec. 4, 2010

Big Bucks Corner

Audrey Ruegsegger’s 13-pointer

Sat, December 04, 2010

audrey main

Twas the second-to-last day of shotgun season, and rushing through the Ruegsegger house, I collected my hunting gear, to the sound of Dad’s shouts. His “possibles” bag was already packed with all he could possibly need, and as I stuffed my nursing notes in my bag, I could hear his continual plead.  “We’ve got to get out there, or we’ll have no luck, the deer won’t wait, don’t you want to shoot a big buck!?” 

“Calm down,” I told Dad as I grabbed my binoculars. “I have to be able to look at his antlers! Besides, finals are tomorrow, and what better time to study, than as I sit in the stand and wait for a big one you’ve been seeing on the Cuddy?”

I slung my recently purchased Canon Rebel camera around my neck, and proceeded to double check my gun was unloaded, checking the chamber with a loud “click!” As I headed out the back door, I noted with a grin, that Dad was covered in his snow camo from his toes to his chin. 

We’d gotten some of the white stuff just the day before, and I was excited to photograph it covering the forest floor. I dropped Dad off near his stand and took a couple shots of the wonderland before me that God had fashioned with his hand.  Sounds of my walking were muffled as I walked on through the trees, while Dad’s customary parting “Good luck!” seemed to echo on the breeze. Pausing here and there snow-covered creation caught my fancy.

audrey stand

By the time I got settled into my stand, the likelihood of seeing a deer seemed pretty chancy…  I dug the notes on of my bag and tried to focus on the methods of treatment for kidney stones – so intent was I that I didn’t notice a deer in the zone.

That’s right! At first I didn’t see him, but as I paused to look around, I realized a deer – no! a big buck! – was coming towards me on the ground. 

I stuck my nursing notes in my bag, slow and easy, and by that time my heart, well it thumping out a rhythm that we in nursing call “tachy.”

One quick glance through the binoculars told me he was better than an eight-pointer, and that his rack had some funky stuff going on that made him a little out of kilter.  Was there time enough to photograph him walking so majestically and tall?  I didn’t think so, and as I pulled my Remington 11-87 into position I felt like my body had been through a squall.

My shaking arms rested on the boards in that old tree as I waited for him turn to face horizontally.  He was out of sight for a moment, and I tried to catch my breath, praying he still hadn’t seen me and that he wouldn’t smell my scent. But God was surely watching down on that snowy December day, and it must have been his will that the big buck came my way.  The BOOM! from my shotgun came a second later, and I watched the “Sidewinder” half fall, then get up. He was no quitter. 

Two more shots I fired desperately like most at his retreating tail-high form, then he went behind a fallen tree and vanished like a ghost. 

My phone call to my dad was excited, short and sweet … “Pretty sure I got a big one! Where should we meet?!” 

“You know where he fell?” Dad asked me eagerly. 

“Not for sure,” I replied, “But I think he’s behind that tree.”

To make a long story shorter, the Sidewinder was not far away, and when my brother came out and found us he seemed just a little jealous for a few days.  The buck’s H1 circumferences caused quite a stir, with a green score of 6 ½ and 7 inches between the G1s and each bur.

The buck had 13 points strong, with two that had been broken off, that non-typical giant walked the forest as a diamond in the rough.  After talking to Dad, my brother, and buddies, everyone mutually agreed the deer I’d dubbed Sidewinder had never been spotted on the Cuddy. Not bad at all for a second deer and a first buck (at least in my book), not to mention that I passed the nursing final that I took!

Did I tell you I’m a girl? I forgot that quick side note. But don’t be disappointed, ‘cause that’s all she wrote!

Here’s a picture of me with my cousins.

aud and cousins

aud buck