Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak ProStaffer Bucky Hauser lives in Claudville, Virginia. During the early years of his hunting career, he was a multi-state hunter and often hunted 4 days per week or more from October until deer season ended. He hunted on two farms in Virginia and also Canada, taking many fine bucks and enjoying great outdoor adventures. Bucky lived the hunter’s life we all dream of, but after he turned 40, his hunting focus changed drastically.
The property we hunt right below my house adjoins Primland, a 13,000-acre, 5-diamond resort with a golf course as well as hunting under a strict quality-deer management program. Their property borders mine on two sides, so we benefit from their management program and from ours. I have a food plot planted in Mossy Oak BioLogic Clover Plus. Across the road, I have soybeans.
I was in my stand, being quiet and sitting still when a power-company truck came in and started cutting and clearing the right-of-way on the property. They could see me in my tree stand less than 100-yards away from their chain saws and bush hoggers. They really thought it was funny that I was trying to hunt while they were cutting the right-of-way. When they finally finished and were leaving, they honked their horn, waved goodbye and wished me luck, knowing they had ruined my hunt. I was aggravated beyond belief, because we all knew there wasn’t a deer in his right mind that would come out after all that racket.
However, as night fell, I spotted a deer across the road. He walked in the soybean field, crossed the highway, walked out in another small field and came out in the clover field where I was hunting. When he was about 75-yards from me, I shot him with my muzzleloader. This buck was a little more than a 130-inch 8-point buck. I thought to myself, “This is one of the strangest hunts I’ve experienced.” I was tempted plenty of times to get out of my stand and return to the house when that power company crew was clearing the right-of-way, but I stayed in my stand. I was determined not to let them run me off.
Another strange hunt was a family hunt a few years ago. We had trail-camera pictures of some really-nice bucks. Of course, there’s nothing worse than seeing a picture of a really-nice buck on your property, and a day or two later finding it on the side of the road having been hit by a car. That story was being told over and over again at one spot on the property. There was a point where our soybean field and our corn field almost came together on the side of a creek, with a little flat area beside the creek where deer could walk under the bridge where the highway crossed the creek, or they could go up an embankment and cross the highway. Bucks that were taking the high road and crossing over the highway were getting killed. We decided to sit in a blind close to the creek and try to harvest a buck that probably would get run over if we didn’t take him. When we spotted this buck walking the same trail as other bucks that had been run over, we knew we had to take him. That morning I had taken my wife, Kelly, and my oldest daughter, Taylor, with me. When the buck turned onto the trail across the highway, I shot him with my 7mm-08.
At one time, I was an avid hunter who hunted 4 days per week for 3 or 4 months during deer season, in 3 or 4 states. But, as I’ve gotten older, my hunting is more about watching my family members and helping them take deer. The purpose of this deer hunt was for my daughter, Taylor, to shoot the deer. My wife and I wanted to be there when she took the deer. Taylor was a muzzleloader fanatic (see Day 4). We took my wife’s Remington Model Seven Youth rifle, and I tried to hand it to Taylor to shoot. But she wouldn’t shoot it, since it wasn’t a muzzleloader. The whole time this buck was walking toward us, Taylor and I were arguing about her shooting the deer. Finally, when the buck was at 40 yards, we couldn’t argue any more without the deer hearing us. My wife was sitting on the other side of Taylor, and I couldn’t pass the rifle over without the deer spotting us. Since it was a nice buck, I took the shot. Instantly, Taylor went skyward screaming, “He dropped right there. He dropped right where he was standing.” Taylor was more excited than I was. This deer scored about 130 on Boone & Crockett.
Just before this hunt, I had a tree stand come apart on me. I fell and hurt my back. I was wearing a safety harness, but I just had unhooked the safety harness from the tree to climb down. The T steps on my climbing ladder broke loose from the main part of the ladder. I crushed my ankle and broke my back in two places. I’ve become a strong advocate for tether lines that now are available to hook onto as you go up and come down the tree, to prevent this kind of accident. I mention this fall, because it happened in September, and this hunt with Taylor and Kelly was in November. I didn’t get to hunt a whole lot that year, but this was such an easy hunt. We just walked down to the river and waited on a buck to appear.
After we took that deer, I continued to recover. Today I’m back to hunting in a tree stand with my Mossy Oak Treestand camouflage. For me, however, hunting with my wife and my daughters has become much-more important than my personal hunting ever was. As a hunter, I believe as we get older and have taken quite a few nice bucks, the fun of hunting with friends and family becomes far-more important than any buck we ever took by ourselves.