Chasing the 160

by
posted on January 2, 2014
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My name is Nick Mattly and I love to hunt. I live in southern Iowa and I am a seventh grader. I've been deer hunting with my .50-caliber Disc Extreme muzzleloader for five years with my dad and grandpa.

During the 2011 late muzzleloader season I was on Christmas Break, so I was able to hunt three weeks, but it was hard to even find a big buck. I had several chances to shoot nice bucks that would score around 140 inches, but I had a goal to shoot a buck that would score at least 160.

Jan. 2, 2012 was the last day of my Christmas break. It was also my last chance to fill my buck tag. My dad had the flu that day, but he said we had to go since it was my last chance. While we were driving around deciding on where we would hunt, I saw a big buck...a buck that was bigger than any I have ever shot, and it was right across the road from our property. I said to my dad, “There's a big buck right across the road!"

He spun his head in that direction and said “That is a good buck. We'll get him tonight!"  We pulled up the road a way and parked over the hill, so the deer couldn't see us, and Dad told me our plan. He made sure that I understood, then we got out of the truck and walked quietly and crouched low to the ground for about 300 yards.

We got by a dead tree and waited for the deer to come across the road. Less than 30 minutes later, does and small bucks started crossing the road. Finally I saw a big, big rack as it crossed the road. I was really nervous about shooting this buck, because he was so big. He stopped to eat in an old clover field about 120 yards away from me. I took off the safety and squeezed the trigger, nice and easy. “BOOM!" Smoke was everywhere and I wasn't sure if I hit him or not. Dad thought that the buck was hit, but we decided to go home and wait for three hours before looking.

We went back to spot in the field where I shot at him and we found no blood. I felt horrible. I thought that I had missed my only chance at a big buck for this entire year. We kept looking and looking, and finally Dad said that we needed to go to the spot where we last saw the buck. When we got over this little hill, he was lying dead. It turns out that I shot him through the lungs and the projectile didn't exit, so that's why the deer didn't bleed. I felt like the happiest kid in the world.

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