The Two-Fer Bucks
By Anthony Harmon

The Saturday morning of November, 17th was clear, cold and calm, with temperatures in the twenties. As the hint of dawn began to arrive, I set out for the dayís hunt. I headed east which would bring me to the edge of the cedar swamp and the hardwood ridge.

The leaves were brittle under the foot, which made the going quite noisy, so I found a place to sit among the young hardwoods. As time passed the feet got cold and I started moving again, along the edge of beech, ash and dark cedars so typical of prime deer hunting in Maine.

Only a few moments later I stood and listened for about ten minutes when I heard the rustle and thrash of leaves and sticks off in the distance. I stood for approximately ten minutes listening to the sporadic noise and realized it was not getting any closer, nor was it moving away. I decided to creep closer, continuously scanning for movement. About 15 steps later I saw a flag go and thought, that was it, and at lunch would report, "jumped one," but today would be an entirely different story.

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The flag remained and I saw a figure of a deer broadside in front of me. He spun so he was facing me and at this point I spotted antlers. I was preparing for a shot when the deer thrashed with his head pinned to the ground, and I knew something wasnít right. Now more curious than a hunter, I approached to within fifteen feet of two whitetail bucks with their antlers locked. One of them had already died and the other was straining with all he had to escape my presence. I thought of the fear and stress the animal had endured when I fired.

The area of cedars and moss was completely torn up where the two animals had battled and where the live deer had struggled pulling the other deer over stumps and logs.

Before me were two trophy whitetails of nine and eleven points. The nine pointer had been dead for a couple of days from a broken neck or exhaustion.

Thanks to the help of some family and a home-made stretcher we managed to get the deer out of the woods.

The irony of the story is we know whitetails as always completely in control and masters of their territory. We toil each year to outsmart the whitetail, yet this year I stumble upon two completely helpless and vulnerable in land Iíve hunted for fourteen years. It was completely out of character for a whitetail, but the often fierce truth of nature.

My grandfather always told me if you spend enough time in the woods youíll see and hear the oddities of nature at work. That day, a story for the ages, it happened to me.

Anthony Harmon, 24,lives in Portland. He is training to be an airline pilot with Pan-Am.

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