If there’s one thing I love about Wired To Hunt readers, above all else, it’s the passion. We’re a passionate, excited, engaged and active group of deer hunters who center our lives, to a degree, around this pursuit. And whenever I get a story from a reader about their passion for this pursuit leading to success, it just makes my day. And today, we’ve got just such a story. Wired To Hunt reader Wes Gall experienced a 2014 season full of emotional highs and lows, but his persistence and passion paid off. And that’s an important reminder for us all. That said, enjoy Wes’ story below! – MK

By Wes Gall

“We are all in this game of life. It’s a game full of ups, downs, thrills, spills and so much more.   The pursuit of happiness is what everyone is seeking.  At what point is that happiness the purest?  Seems like the more effort and energy you put into an interest, the greater the rewards and happiness you get out of it.

I’ve hunted hard for over a decade in pursuit of a buck that would be what I wanted on my wall and in my freezer. A buck that would tell stories long after I’m gone.

My story takes place the second weekend of deer hunting during the 2014 Minnesota firearms hunt. My brother Joe and I headed to our destination Friday morning in single digit temps to meet up with my Uncle Jay. The first 2 days of battling bitterly cold temps brought us nothing but a handful of smaller fawns, does and bucks.  However, the final day was anything but ordinary.

For starters, we woke up late and didn’t get to our stands until 8am. A light dusting of snow covered the ground. I took out my real rattling antlers and hit them together. Five minutes later, I found myself saying a small prayer hoping for some luck to come my way.

Out of nowhere, what I just asked for magically appeared into my shooting lane at 20 yards. It was a buck. He was looking right at me! He pulled a fast one and turned downhill along the ravine into thick brush. I shifted around hopelessly trying to get a clean shot. I couldn’t twist any farther. A small hole gaped through the tangled mess of branches and BOOM! The deer ran off with a high tail.  BOOM! Two shots were all I could get in before he disappeared in what all seemed like a quick flash!

I should be ecstatic, but I did not feel confident in my off balance shots. I found hair. 20 yards away I noticed a couple specs of blood. I was hopeful; that is until I saw half a rack sitting in the snow. I SHOT OFF THE ANTLER! I had a golden opportunity and blew it. My first reaction was laughter; I was disgusted, humiliated and mad.

Frustration came and went. I felt like I learned a lesson from it. I was pondering that lesson and out of nowhere a doe came screeching into play! I pulled my gun up quick and the doe spotted me. She stopped dead in her tracks! Right before I pulled the trigger I heard, “BRAA, BRAA, BRAA”.  A BUCK was on her trail!

I barely held off the shot on the doe, and caught glimpse of this buck cruising the ridge. INSTANTLY I knew! I couldn’t believe the buck that was making his way right in front of me! My gun already pulled up on the doe, quickly repositioned itself on the first spot I could get my scope on this buck. He was 30 yards away when with a BLINK of an eye, the doe busted me and bolted the way she came…She took the buck right with her!!

I grunted as loud as I could to get the monster to stop. He never skipped a beat.  He was head down, nose flared and hot on doe tail. I was in disbelief…AGAIN. I could not believe that I just had the biggest buck of my dreams step into range at 30 yards, and I was not able to get ANY sort of shot on him. My excitement quickly dwindled to horror. My mind screamed RATTLE. I took my rattling antlers and hit them together as HARD as I possibly could. I held nothing back. I finished and put the antlers down in defeat. I slouched against the tree, amazed again at what just took place and what took place before that. All these opportunities within one hour, the luck came and the luck went so quick!

About one minute after the rattling, I heard a twig snap. I turned to find a full rack coming my way. It was the monster! My adrenaline kicked in full force. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for.  I had him sighted on the front brisket. He made his way to 20 yards, stopped and looked right at me. BOOM! His knees slammed to the ground! A shock sent through my system. He got back up to his feet and scrambled downhill. I KNEW I hit him good, but didn’t want to assume anything!

I questioned myself. “Did I just shoot a monster?” I sent a text to my wife “Pray, I think I just shot a monster!” The adrenaline and realization of what just happened was powerful.

I cranked up the heater and sat in anticipation and fear. I called my uncle Jay to make his way up the bluff, I waited 20 minutes and called him again to see his progress. Laughing came from the other end. “Where are you?” I asked. He chuckled “I’m standing by this HUGE buck on the trail. HOLY COW!”

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The walk to my Uncle Jay and the giant was pure joy! It was that pinnacle of happiness I was pursuing.  A memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. I had a smile on my face the whole way and I will never forget the look on my uncle’s face as well. The respect I had for this animal when I laid my hands on him was powerful. My Uncle Jay, Brother Joe and I stood around the buck, mesmerized about the size of animal that laid before us and the story that just played out.

Best of luck in your pursuits of happiness!”

– Wes Gall

For an extended version of this story visit The Outdoor Report