Nov. 12 is special to huntress for numerous reasons
For Veronica Backlund, Nov. 12 has been a special day of the year ever since that date two years ago. She shot her first six-point buck that day, and minutes later, still in the deer stand, her husband proposed to her. And on Nov. 12 of this year, she shot her biggest ever buck, a 10-point Chatham County brute that’s been green-scored at 122 inches.
“It was basically our engagement anniversary. My husband was hunting on the back side of the property and I was sitting in a box blind about 75 yards from our corn pile. My husband shot at the deer. Or at least he tried. He was about 100 yards away from me. I heard his muzzleloader cap pop, and nothing happened,” Backlund said. “His muzzleloader didn’t go off.”
The couple had a few respectable bucks showing up on their trail cameras, including this one. Her husband had nicknamed it “Hammer.”
After hearing the misfire, Backlund said a number of does immediately came into her field of view. And so did Hammer.
The buck stopped about 60 yards from Backlund, quartering toward her. The Siler City huntress raised her Optima .50-caliber muzzleloader and fired. The deer ran off, crashed into a downed tree, jumped a fence, and ran onto the neighboring property. Luckily, it walked a horseshoe pattern, coming back onto the Backlund’s property. But the search for the buck took some time.
Her first experience tracking a deer was aided by gift to husband
“I shot the deer at 4:17 p.m. and we found the deer at 9:30,” she said. “The blood trail was very difficult to follow,” she said.
Some waist-high weeds made the tracking difficult. A little blood would show up on the ground, then a faint drop would be on a piece of dog fennel three feet high. Then as darkness descended, the couple turned on a DeWalt flashlight that Veronica had given her husband that morning as a bit of an engagement anniversary gift.
(Click the below link to listen to the podcast and hear the story in Backlund’s own words.)
“We would not have found the deer without that flashlight,” she said.
Up until this buck, Backlund’s hunting experiences had always included a broadside shot at deer that fell basically within 20 yards. So this time was different. She said she learned a lot about the process of tracking a deer.
“It was a learning experience for me. This hunt will always stand out a lot to me, for many reasons. It was my biggest deer, it was the first one I’ve had to trail, and it happened on my engagement anniversary. I also killed this deer from the same stand I’d killed my previous best buck, which measured 118 inches,” she said.
The hunt wasn’t a total loss for her husband. He had texted Veronica that he was seeing coyotes from his stand, so before they tracked her buck, she took his .308 to him, and he was able to kill one of the predators.