Bucks I have known: Part IX
This is the latest in a multi-part series of columns about memorable deer that stand out from decades of whitetail hunting.
The Boat Bucks
Back in the mid 1990’s, my buddy Austin “Dump” Brown and I had been doing a lot of hunting from tree stands. We started when archery season opened in Maryland, right through archery season in West Virginia, and had just hunted the first week of West Virginia gun season, which opens the Monday before Thanksgiving. We had quite a bit of success, but were ready to get out of the trees for a while.
By the opening of Maryland gun season — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — we were ready to try something different.
On the Maryland side of the Potomac, across from the Magnolia area of western Morgan County, there is a remote section of Green Ridge State Forest that has no vehicle access. After checking the regulations, and meeting with a helpful Maryland DNR officer, we decided to use a boat to float and glass some of this territory.
As we floated down the Potomac, we spied a group of 10 or 12 deer bedded in some steep ledges. There were at least two bucks in the herd that we could see. But they were watching us, too.
As we eased the boat into the shore, the deer got up and began to move. One of the bucks was in front, leading the others single file out on a well-worn trail cut into the steep hillside.
When I shot the lead buck, the other deer left the trail and scrambled up the steep face of the hillside. As they paused, trying to get up onto the next rock ledge above them, Dump shot the other buck.
We tagged and field-dressed both bucks, loaded them into the boat, and floated down to our takeout spot. The looks we got from the hunters on Green Ridge State Forest as we drove by towing a boat with two bucks on the front deck was priceless.
Wade Shambaugh has lived in Morgan County his whole life and is a lifelong outdoorsman.