A young hunter from Bucksport ended up with an adventure to remember over the weekend as he dealt with foul weather, a few fruitless sessions afield and an unsuccessful search for a deer before finding a buck with a striking set of antlers.
Christian Winslow, 16, checked in via email on Monday to share his tale and some photos. He spent a few hours in the woods at different times, spending a couple hours in a tree stand early in the morning, returning to help his grandfather stack wood, then heading back out for another hour with his mom.
No deer appeared during either effort.
Winslow said he then spent the bulk of the day watching the high school cross-country state championships before returning to Bucksport for an afternoon hunt.
He sat between a pair of fields near his home that seemed promising. Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating, though.
“It was raining the entire time, and I didn’t have any shelter,” Winslow said. “I got out of where I was sitting [after an hour and a half], went up to the house and got the hunting blind … as soon as I sat in it, two does and two lambs popped up in the big field.”
Winslow watched those deer for a half-hour, before two more deer appeared, joining about 50 turkeys.
“Then, around 5:30, a six-point buck walked up in the middle of the big field, too far away for me to get a good shot. He’s only there for about three minutes before he goes into the back field where my mom is hunting,” Winslow wrote.
Then things became really interesting.
“About 20 minutes after the six-point left the field, I look back into the first field. [A] giant [11-point] non-typical buck flies down from the top of the hill and goes right next to the tree line,” he wrote.
Winslow took the shot, and about a minute later, heard three more shots from where his mother was hunting. Later he learned that she’d missed the six-pointer.
Winslow, however, didn’t miss. But after getting his grandfather, Ron Gross, and his mom, Rebekah Noble, involved in the search, the group spent the next few hours trying to find the buck.
“We stayed out looking until around 9 p.m., when my grandfather said we should go in because it was too rainy and dark to search,” Winslow wrote. “During the entire time it was pouring rain, and I was soaked to the skin. I probably gained 10 pounds of water.”
With a plan to resume searching Sunday morning, Winslow dried off, watched the Boston Red Sox for a bit, and turned in.
After a short search in daylight, Winslow’s effort paid off: He found the buck 30 yards from the spot the previous night’s search had ended, and about a quarter of a mile from where the deer was when he was shot.
The deer wasn’t huge — he weighed 155 pounds, field-dressed — but had an impressive, if odd, 11-point rack.
Winslow said he was pleased that he was able to find the deer, which was hardly a stranger to him.
“I’ve been watching him on the trail camera for months,” Winslow wrote. “I’m so happy I didn’t lose him.”
Nathan Bieber, the state deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, had a theory about the rack, which featured what he called a “split main beam” on the right side.
“It looks as though both beams come out of the same pedicle,” Bieber said. “[I] can’t really say for sure what caused this, but injury to the pedicle would be my prime suspect with this deer. Other bodily injuries and genetics can cause antlers to develop in strange ways as well. Very cool rack.”
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