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My 2008 Season

By John Dummer

Typically when one writes about his or her season they share their story about the monster buck they were able to put a tag on.  Well, my 2008 season was one of the best ones of my 20+ years of hunting, but I did not put a tag on a monster buck or any deer for that matter.  Here’s what happened.

The season started off like every other opening weekend of archery season in WI except the one I spent in Alaska.  I found myself perched in a tree in my home state of Wisconsin.  Typically the 3rd Saturday of September, opening weekend has never produced a monster buck for me, yet I so look forward to it every year.  Not only does it mark the beginning of another season it has presented several encounters with some nice bucks. 

The 2008 opener did not turn out the way one would script out for oneself.  It rained pretty hard during 3 out of the 4 hunts.  My encounters were pretty much non-existent.  Jimmy Davis, my cameraman for the weekend did keep the camcorder dry though.  That was a bonus!  Another highlight of the weekend is when hunting partner Gerry Boortz was able to connect on a 130” 13 pointer.  The base 10 with 3 stickers was filmed by Jake Davis.  The footage will be used for the first Whitetailworld DVD set to be released in the spring of 2010.  After Sunday nights hunt I packed up and started the 3 ½ hour drive home.  Day 1 and 2 of my 2008 season were in the books.

I must admit I found myself putting a bit more pressure on myself in 08.  You see back in March, my wife Gina and I found out we were set to have our 3rd child in November.  In fact the due date was November 8th.  I knew if I could connect with a buck early I would not have to worry about leaving to far away starting late October.  There was no way I would miss the birth of our child. 

With a pretty heavy work schedule October filled up quite quickly.  Before I knew it, it was Halloween and I had not been able to put day 3 in the books.  It was at this point I was ljohn_alex_fishbowl.jpgiving my hunting thru the members of Whitetailworld.  I have always enjoyed listening to and reading the stories from fellow hunters.  This was definitely the case in 2008!  A big highlight of my 2008 archery season is when I got a call from a very good friend and hunting partner John Charles (Lucky).  On November 4th John called to tell me he had connected on a buck named “Fishbowl”.  This was a buck that John wanted in a bad way.  Besides the fact he was a main frame 8 with a 7” drop tine that grossed in the low 160’s, we had a lot of history with this buck. 

John also had an interesting fall.  Shortly before he connected on Fishbowl, John and his wife Dawn gave birth to their second child.  On the 9th of October, Gavin was born.  With our baby due within a matter of weeks John and I would soon have more to share than just hunting stories. 

Our first 2 kids, Natalie (9) and Mason (2) were both born 2 weeks past their due dates.  I would have bet that with the 3rd it would have been the same case.  emme_gina_john.jpgGood thing I didn’t bet because on November 8th my wife gave birth to our newest addition.  Emelia Grace weighed 10 lbs 2 oz.  I never had a problem with my lack of hunting up to this point and holding her only strengthened my feelings.  I wouldn’t trade a healthy baby for any deer in the world.  This was by far my ultimate highlight of the 2008 season.

After a day and a half at the hospital my wife and baby came home.  The transition was good and after about a week Gina gave me the go ahead to head north.  On Sunday the 16th of November, my cameraman Steve Olson (b-roll) and I were on our way.  We would have two full days to try to connect.  Steve and I have spent many hours in the stand together.  We both knew we would make the most of the two days.  Although we didn’t have any shot opportunities we had a ton of action.  We got to experience it all.  Chasing, fighting, snort wheezing, cruising, etc.  I don’t recall the exact number of bucks we saw, but you really couldn’t of asked for a better 2 days of hunting. 

One interesting story is when the 140” 8 pointer came in.  It was around noon on the first day’s hunt.  Steve whispered, “shooter, shooter!”  This got me a bit excited to say the least.  I knew the buck was close, but I just could not turn enough to see him.  Finally after what seemed like forever Steve whispered the buck just bed down at about 50 yards.  This gave me an opportunity to try to finally make a visual of the buck.  I knew it was a buck that I would try to get a shot on.  This only got me more fired up!  I honestly cannot say when I last got that worked up over a deer.  I was down right shaking in the tree!  At one point I whispered in my wireless mic to Steve, “Steve, I gotta sit down!”  After 30 minutes the buck stood up.  Of course he headed in the wrong direction.  I attempted a few calls on the grunt tube, but to no avail.  The buck continued his cruise down the ridge.  I look back and I still can’t believe how excited I got.  I suppose that’s what it’s all about.  I just wonder if I could have pulled that shot off?  Man that was fun.

On day 2 we got a special treat as John offered up one of his best spots.  The spot that I filmed a 140” 10 pointer at the year before.  I had a vision of this buck coming in for us.  Although it didn’t work out we seen plenty of deer.  What a great way to end two days of hunting.  Day 3 and 4 were finally in the books.

After 2 ½ days at home with the family I headed back up to Buffalo County for the opening weekend of gun season.  The best part of the gun season for me is the tradition of it.  Spending time in camp with family and friends.  The plan for Saturday was to sit back in John’s valley.  This is always a special treat.  Just the opportunity alone made the day a success.  It was an all day sit for me with several deer passing by my stand.  Of course the 150” buck I would have squeezed the trigger on was across the field on the neighbors property.  Saturday mornings highlight came when John called and said he shot a buck.  He was hunting the very stand Steve and I spent day 4 in just 4 days prior.  The buck he shot was the buck I videotaped the year before.  The 160” 10 pointer came by in pretty rough shape with an arrow sticking in his neck. 

Sunday morning I found myself back at the same stand I sat in on Saturday.  This time I only sat until 11:00.  I wanted to hunt my property for the evening hunt.  I made my way back to John’s house and had a quick lunch.  I decided to hunt the last 4 hours without my video equipment.  This is very abnormal for me, but I just didn’t feel like carrying the big camera up the hill. 

Of course just as I cross onto my property line I look up and see the albino buck laying hugealbinobuckwhitetailworld.jpgabout 120 yards away in the woods.  This was unbelievable.  I had not seen this buck for 2 years before this point.  I knew I had to try to get some video footage of this buck.  With all the history and documentation we have I wanted to be sure to add something for his 8 ½ year old rack.  I backed out of there, set my gun and fanny pack down, and literally ran back to John’s house to get my camcorder.  I told the guys at camp what was going on and ran back up the hill.  By the time I reached my gun I was out of breath and sweating pretty bad.  The buck was still there!

I put the camcorder up and took a few minutes of video.  This was not good footage at all, but I just wanted to make sure I got something.  I took about 10 steps and taped some more.  I did this for the next 40 yards or so.  Finally at 80 yards from the bedded down deer I set my gun down and sat down.  I felt this was as close as I could possibly get.  I filmed the 175” monster albino off and on for the next 25 minutes.  He had no idea I was there.  Finally he got ready to stand up.  With the camera up and rolling I got about 6 minutes of really good footage as he made his way off.  What an encounter this was!  Absolutely unbelievable that I was able to get that footage.  After the buck left I made my way to the top of the ridge.  I honestly don’t remember what I saw the last couple hours.  Day 5 and 6 were now in the books. 

Just under 2 weeks later I made 1 last final trip to Buffalo County for 2008.  This time my whole family made the trip with me.  My goal was to take a deer with the muzzleloader.  I only hunted the last 2 hours of each day.  The plan didn’t work out too well.  The first hunt I was holding out for a buck and only saw does.  The second hunt did not produce much activity.  Day 7 and 8 were now in the books.  This would complete my 2008 season.

Emme_325.jpgAll in all I had 8 days of hunting.  Normally I would not be proud to admit that fact.  However, in this case I knew my priorities.  Plus with all the action I had during those 8 days what more could a guy really ask for?  I got to spend 8 days in Buffalo County, had my fair share of action, videotaped the largest albino buck ever, and had a healthy beautiful little baby girl.  I would say that makes for one fantastic year.  On a side note, this 2009 season I will make up for lost time.  I have a trip planned to Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa, and of course Buffalo County.  And yes, I will be there for my daughters first birthday party!



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