By Mason Ellis ~
Killing a seven-point whitetail buck after surviving a wreck 11 months earlier that almost took my life and left me paralyzed was impressive, but I was ready to beat that achievement this year.
My friend, Logan, and I got started during bow season by spotlighting deer several times. This was the first year I have bow hunted and I was using my new Mission MXB Sniper Lite crossbow. I also had my Ozonics machine, which proved to be effective as we had a few deer come in close without catching wind of us. I had a few good opportunities where I took a shot but couldn’t get the job done.
It was now gun season and the first year that high-powered rifles were allowed in Indiana. I was anxious to be using my Remington Model 700 .243 in the Yamaha Viking UTV that my dad and I setup with a shooting table on the driver’s side. Logan and I went to a hunting spot and had a little four-pointer come up within twenty yards of us. The next time out, we went to that same property but to a couple other spots before settling down. That is where it got interesting.
I was playing music from my phone because I told Logan that deer like music. Then a doe came out in the cornfield to the right of us and he told me to get ready. I waited for the doe to get where I could get a good shot. Logan turned the safety off and… BOOM! The gun went off because the safety was stiff and the gun jerked slightly when he clicked it off. I worked the bolt and put in another bullet. I thought I was on the deer and pulled the trigger again, but missed. The deer stayed standing there, so I put another bullet in and dropped the doe.
About 30 minutes later, a nice buck comes out at about 150 yards. I tried to get situated and was almost on the deer when… BOOM! The gun went off again by accident. I worked the bolt and made sure I was on the deer this time… and CLICK! “Ahh, don’t tell me we’re out of bullets?” Logan asked.
“Yep!” I replied frustrated.
My dad and I went hunting in the truck a couple days after that because it was cold and windy. Being paralyzed, I have a permit that allows me to hunt from a motorized vehicle as long as the vehicle is parked and turned off. My dad cut the wheels and turned off the truck, that way we could move easily if we needed to. Three does came out at 100 yards and I shot the biggest one, dropping it.
Ready to get a buck next, Logan and I went hunting again. It was a Monday on the 21st of November, 2016. We tried going to his great grandpa’s property first but saw his cousin going down the driveway to hunt the same area. Heading down the highway and the empty light turned on in the Viking, so we decided to run to town and get more gas. After filling up we decided to go by the cell phone tower on the property we tried hunting at a few days ago. We got my shooting table mount set up. We were ready to get a ‘biggin!’
Five does came out in the cornfield from our left and we debated on whether or not to shoot one. Luckily we didn’t because a buck came out at the far end to our right. Logan looked through the binoculars and instantly knew he was a shooter.
After losing sight of him several times, he finally came out to where I could get a good shot. Asking if my finger was off of the trigger, Logan turned off the safety. He grunted at the buck to stop it. The buck stopped and looked at us. Making sure I wasn’t going to mess up this opportunity, I got the crosshairs right behind his shoulder. At 200+ yards, I pulled the trigger… BOOM!
The buck took off and ran into the woods. We went to look for blood, but couldn’t find any. My friend went into the woods and I hear him holler, “YEAH! It’s a nice one dude! It has a kicker! It has two kickers! It’s a twelve point!” The hollers kept getting better! When I shot it, we both didn’t look at it too much but figured it was a decent eight point. I couldn’t wait to see it!
I drove over to where the deer entered the woods. Logan dragged the deer out and I got a good look at it. He was a nice one! Since my wheelchair was not with us, Logan carried me over to the deer to take pictures. I was excited because I knew pictures would be cool if I was just sitting on the ground with the buck.
I backed up to the deer and the UTV was angled. We were wondering how we would get it in the bed, but he got it halfway and I decided to pull the UTV up on flat ground in order to get the deer the rest of the way into the bed. We both still had buck fever and were ready to tell the story to others!
I learned a lot during our hunts this year. I learned to make sure my finger is off of the trigger when moving the safety, to be prepared with more than enough ammo, and to make sure you have enough gas. Above all, I learned that patience is key and that I have a great friend that looks at me no differently than anyone else.