Gainey's father had gotten a Moultrie trail camera last Christmas, and Gainey mounted it overlooking a food plot on a tract of land in Chester County that had produced some nice bucks in previous seasons.
The two Gaineys spent the better part of six weeks inspecting 200 to 300 photos a week, hunting over the food plot three times without success but beginning to figure out which deer were visiting and when.
Of special interest was a huge 8-point buck that usually showed up during the middle of the night.
"I was a little (reluctant) to go to the spot without my dad because he had been diagnosed with (cancer) and had been receiving chemo treatments," Gainey said. "Everyday I'd go hunting I'd call him to see how he was feeling and see if he would go. If he felt like going, we'd go to our spot, and if he didn't, I'd simply go somewhere else.
"He assured me that he didn't care who killed the deer as long as he could see it in person."
The younger Gainey checked the trail camera on Oct. 10, and the big 8-point buck had been in the food plot four days in a row, around 30 minutes before daylight and right at dusk.
"We knew it wouldn't be long before he was going to be out on the chase and could end up anywhere," said Gainey, who took a photo to his friend, Heath Rayfield, who owns Thompson Creek Deer Processing and has been a hunting guide and cameraman for Dropzone TV.
"He said the deer could score somewhere in the mid 130s to low 140s," Gainey said. "On Oct. 11, I went to Heath's place and talked about hunting that afternoon. We knew the weather would have a chance of pushing the deer out a little earlier or a little later, so I decided to go.
"I called my dad, and he said he wasn't feeling good and for me to go."
With the wind blowing from the northeast, Gainey decided to walk in from the back side of the food plot and hunt from the ground. He sat against a pine just inside the tree line, his outline broken up by a small sweet gum in front of him.
After more than two hours sitting in the rain, Gainey checked his cell phone for the time, saw that it was 7:14 p.m. and slid the phone down in his boot. When he looked up, the big 8-pointer was standing broadside at 40 yards.
Gainey waited a few seconds, and then squeezed off a 95-grain .243-caliber bullet from his Remington 788. The buck bounded over a bank and into an overgrown pond.
"The first person I thought of was my dad," he said. "I called him before I ever stood up. I said, 'I just shot the man!'"
Gainey found the buck about 20 yards from the spot he shot him, in the middle of the overgrown pond.
"Of course, the first person I had to carry (it) to see it was my dad, and he was way more excited than I was," Gainey said. "That's when it hit me how much I wished he had been sitting beside me."
The two Gaineys had plenty to be excited about. The big buck weighed 202 pounds and sported matching 5-inch brow tines, 11-inch back tines and other tines that measured 7 and 5 inches each.
"If we hadn't been paying attention to the trail camera, seeing the times and directions, I would have never had the opportunity to kill such a great animal," the younger Gainey said.