Everyday Outdoors: Bucks I have known, Part IV

This is the fourth in a multi-part series of columns about memorable deer that stand out from decades of whitetail hunting.


In October 2019, I was bow hunting on a friend’s property in Morgan County, near the town of Paw Paw. I had several deer pass by me, along the edge of a small field. A couple of the big does started staring across the field, as if they were slightly alarmed. A few seconds later, a buck appeared over the brow of the hill and ran through the middle of the other deer in the field, scattering them in all directions. He had a tall 8-point rack, but it was not very wide or heavy. I decided to not shoot him. I took a couple of photos of him with my phone and watched him strut away. When I told the couple who own the property about seeing this buck, the wife said “Oh yeah, that’s Chief. He runs all the other deer away from him. He is in charge.”

Fast forward to 2020, on the same date. I was sitting in the same stand, watching a few does and a spike buck in the field. Once again, a tall racked 8 point came charging through the middle of the herd, stopping 20 yards in front of my stand. His antlers were bigger and heavier than they had been the previous year.

This time, I sent an arrow through his vitals. After a quick dash halfway back across the field, Chief expired, leaving a vacancy for another buck to be in charge.


The First Slab Pile Buck

Many properties that have been traditionally used for hunting for long periods of time, have various landmarks that have a reputation for being good spots to watch for deer.

Hunters will meet the evening before a hunt and discuss who is going to sit where.

Conversations might sound something like… “I’ll sit at the Big Maple Tree in the morning.”

“OK, I think I’ll go out by the Tall Pine, then.”

“Put Jake out by Uncle Eddie’s Rock. He should see something there.”

A friend once invited me hunting on a large piece of property in Hampshire County. We met with the landowner a couple of days before the opening of West Virginia gun season, got our written permission, and made plans to hunt there on the opener. I had never hunted or scouted the property before and had no idea where to go.

My buddy, who had hunted the property for years, suggested that he would drop me off before daylight at “The First Slab Pile.” That sounded as good as anywhere else to me. At least I would have a landmark.

Dawn came with the mountain completely fogged in. I saw a few deer picking their way through the rocks, but visibility was extremely limited. Finally, about 10:30 in the morning, the fog cleared off, and I could see several nice buck rubs around me. It looked like I was in a good spot.

About 11 a.m., I glanced behind me. I can’t honestly say if I heard something or was just scanning the area. But as I looked back, I saw a big doe coming down the mountain, with a nice buck following behind. As they turned to my left and started out the mountain, I dropped the buck at about 60 yards. It was over that quickly.

First Slab Pile Buck.

I’m not sure what the odds would be of a hunter going into an area on the mountain where they had never been, picking out a spot to sit in the dark, then killing a nice buck, but I felt pretty lucky. The First Slab Pile Buck is definitely one for the memory bank.

Wade Shambaugh has lived in Morgan County his whole life and is a lifelong outdoorsman.