The Great Outdoors: First Buck Is Always The Most Memorable

10361502_777822975582948_4575235096467415252_n-2Hundreds of thousands of deer hunters took to the woods Monday, and for many, they bagged their first buck. It’s a momentous occasion for a hunter, and I still remember mine in great detail.

(Photo courtesy PA Game Commission/Joe Cortor)

He didn’t come easily.

I hunted for more than a decade before I got him. There were a few missed shots and many more close calls along the way.

There was the big buck that my Dad spooked, and instead of running near my brother or me, it back-tracked. I got a look at him as he trotted away, moving just quick enough and keeping several trees between him and me that prevented a shot.

Then, there was another big boy that stopped on a power line right-of-way and ran away, probably laughing all the way, after I missed an easy shot. 

When it did happen, it wasn’t the type of experience that would make a hunting show.  Still, none of that mattered then, and it doesn’t matter now.

My Dad and I were hunting out of a friend’s camp, and it was the first Saturday of the 1993 season. We were putting on drives, trying to push a buck out of the cover and into our view. The morning had been largely fruitless. We saw some does, but nothing with antlers.

After lunch, we were back at it, and I was on a stand. It didn’t seem to be a great spot for a buck to travel through. The woods were wide open, and I could see for at least 75 or more yards in every direction.  Nevertheless, I stood where I was told because the Cramers knew those woods and where the deer moved when spooked.

This drive seemed pretty uneventful. I didn’t hear any shooting from any of the others that were posted.  Then, all of sudden, a deer was headed my way.  At first glance, I wasn’t too excited because I didn’t see any antlers.  Then, my feelings turned sour as I noticed what looked like a flesh wound near its shoulder.   At that point, as I processed several thoughts quickly, I was discouraged that someone would shoot at a doe when they weren’t yet in season.  This was several years before doe season ran the last week of the season.

As the deer got closer, I kept the scope trained on him, and I did a double take when I saw a lone antler.  Then, there were no antler restrictions, and any deer with an antler at least three inches long was legal game.  This buck’s antler was well more than three inches long, so my mind quickly switched gears into getting ready to take a shot.  A few shots later, he was down, and I was kind of dumbfounded that I had actually bagged a buck.  I unloaded my gun and started to fill out the tag.

Then, the others showed up and the congratulations ensued.

Getting a buck or doe is usually an event to be savored, enjoyed, and celebrated, and that we did. It was a very satisfying experience, and we had meat to enjoy.

There have been other bucks – bigger bucks – but the first one is always the most memorable.


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan your next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

Copyright © 2021 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Comments are temporarily closed. A new and improved comments section will be added soon.