Left Florida with 95-degree weather and traveled to NW Idaho where temps were in the 20s and 30s. Time to hunt giant whitetails!
I was hunting with very good friends: Lou, who owns the property I’ve hunted for at least 5 years now; Vince, who invited me along years ago; and DJ, the newest member of the group.
Opening day, October 10, was cold and rainy early, about 38 degrees. At sunup I sneaked down a hillside to my favorite rock, a vantage I have been hunting for years. It cleared at first light, and as I glassed the surrounding area a few deer materialized from nowhere. Saw some young bucks and a couple does with yearlings. Herd looked to be in fantastic shape and the animals didn’t seem to be under any pressure whatsoever.
About 8:00 I noticed movement on the plateau below me at about 600 yards. When I put the glasses on the buck I could see pretty good head gear even at that range. I was trying to get into position for a possible shot when he decided to head down the face of the plateau into a fairly deep ravine. I thought about making a play on him but decided to sit tight, being as it was only the first day of a seven day hunt.
About 20 minutes later I heard a shot from Vince, who by the way is also the one who turned me on to longer range shooting. He was hunting way off to my left, and whacked a beautiful 10 point at almost 400 yards. I waited a little at my spot, then went to help my friend drag his deer down the mountain.
The next day was a bit colder, and I got to the rock early. It was a morning you can only dream of, with spectacular mountains in the background and a river running through the breathtaking hillsides. With the country crisp and alive, deer started moving early, looking for a nice place to lie up on the sunny sides of the hills.
Around 8:30 I saw a shape appear on the plateau. Put the glasses on him and knew right away he was a shooter. The buck was about 525 yards down the mountainside. I nestled my Browning A-bolt in 300 Win. Mag. firmly in the crease of my backpack and coat, and ranged and dialed him at 500 yards. I had a solid rest and was ready to send a 180-grain Nosler down the hill. I exhaled and squeezed off the shot.
The deer never flinched! He just moved along his route, across to my right. I was shaking a bit now and chambered another round. I ranged him again and he was 445. I figured I had shot over him, so I adjusted the distance, squeezed off another shot and hit him hard behind the shoulder. He reared up his hind legs and I knew I had smoked him good.
I got a rush and goose bumps. There is no feeling more exciting than knowing you just shot a nice buck! He was biggest bodied deer I have ever killed. Incredible hunt and incredible buck, and a day I will never forget.
On the third day, it was 28 degrees, and deer were on the move, butting heads and thrashing the bushes. I saw a couple more shooters that morning, and then I heard a shot the distance. DJ had shot a nice 10-pointer and the hunt was complete. I spent time with some of the finest people on the planet in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Cannot wait for next year!—Vinnie C. from Florida