"The Big 9"
Thanks for being patient, I've had influenza the past week and its been a struggle. In fact I was sporting a high fever all weekend hunting but kept it goijg with ibuprofen and coffee. Let me first say that TheBig9 is on private property that a buddy lets me hunt on with him. I never dreamed I'd be the trigger man, but that's how it went down. First off lets travel back to 2015 right when TB9 came on the radar as a nice 4 year old. My buddy said he was a non shooter and as luck would have it he was VERY visible and I had to pass a standing broad side shot with my muzzy at 40 yards. Pretty much saw him daily in 2015 and his left side got picked up 1/2 mile from his core area. It scored about 71"
2016 saw TB9 again in the same area, he looked bigger but once he shed velvet we were kind of hesitant to go after him. In the end we decided he was a shooter but never had a close opportunity. In fact, the only person to get close was a guy waking fir us, but he was tagged out as TB9 stood at 30 yards in the middle of a push. He then squirted out the back and we never saw him again. Oddly enough for as big as he was, he was a total wimp and low in the pecking order. Again the left side was found in the same area, it went 79" thereabouts.
In 2017 TB9 turned into "Droppy" to my buddy, but I maintained calling him TB9. Since it was his property I knew he would be hard after him and I didn't get a chance to hunt till late muzzy. It turned out fine as I shot a great bow buck.
TB9 was now 6.5 years old and a recluse. Add in the fact that there was a very large mean 10 and big bodied 8 (we killed both of them this year) and we never saw him on the hood. My buddy shot the big 8, it went upper 150s... his boy shot the 10, it went just over 160... with the 2 bullies gone he figured TB9 would move in before the gun seasons, he was right. All of December no-one hunted there and bby the time late muzzy came we had BITTER temps and 2 acres off standing beans and turnips. My buddy was locked on him and it really was a matter of time before he had a shot. On new years day it was -30° and TB9 came running in to the beans. My buddy locked him up at 100 yards and dropped him. 2 minutes later he got up and stumbled off!! A fast second shot didnt help and TB9 had given him the slip. Hindsight shows the left side entrance and right side exit.
Now forward to the last weekend of season. We always get together and do a few pushes during the day and sit the evenings. The First day i managed to miss a big double beam buck and that night we sat the beans hoping to get a last chance at him. No luck. On Sunday we decided that I would dive into TB9s bedroom and try to push him by someone. After an agonizing walk thru be hard nothing had popped out. We did 2 more pushes nearby with similar results. The next nearest timber was a mile away and this was my turn to sit... happily... this is my favorite place to post. I got into position, and after the alotted time, my buddy walked in. Funny note, he left his gun because he was tired of carrying it. I off handedly guarantee he'd see a booner... I was right. He was just in tge timber when he saw 2 big bucks at 70 yards... helpless he just pushed them on. While posting I quit counting at 30, and deer kept coming. Tge last deer out appeared to be a shooter, but I wasn't quite sure. A hasty decision to fire gave me a100 yard running shot, but I had a good rest. I led him and touched it off. A solid thump came back and he lurched over the hill. I reloaded and suck out to check for blood. Just getting into the field I suddenly see him hunched up 150yards away. I'm a poor shot and I was flustered, so I dropped my stuff and started closing the distance. * I had just dropped my pistol * Suddenly he started trotting off and I had to rush a free hand trotting shot,which I again head a resounding thump. He immediately stopped and hunched and I started the long process of reloading. Those minutes took forever and by the time I finished he had moved out of sight. I took a breath and walked up to where I last saw him hoping for the best. I was 10yards from the field edge when I suddenly saw him wadded up in the long grass! Half a second later that SOB raised his head and lunged to his feet... 5 yards away... I wnt into auto pilot and got him into the scope and squeezed it off...
He barrel rolled to the bottom of the hill but started to get up yet AGAIN. At this moment in the hunt I realized 1) I was out of muzzy loads and 2) ** my 500 mag was 200 yards away! Enter 2 years of cross fit. I literally dropped my muzzy and sprinted uphill thru shin deep wet snow to the case. At this point havung the flu really sucked. It hurt, plain and simple, to breathe and also run. Eventually I got back to him just in time to catch him standing up and I gave him a thunderous ovation. Let me tell you, it flattened him, but wasnt really convinced he was dead. By this time my buddy cane walking up wondering what I was shooting at. I had lost my phone sprinting and didn't know he was calling. He walked up and said "dude, that's the drop tine buck I hit!" I responded with "no effing way" but a quick look showed he had busted three drop off and it sure was him, I was in shoc, we were well over a mile from his normal home core area!
Finally it had all come together, I hadn't shot a late muzzy buck since 2009 and I had finally shed the monkey. He is my best deer ever and I couldn't be happier. He green grosses around 175, and his mass carries 5" all the way thru, a real whopper!