Camera Corner: Reader Photo 'Firsts' of 2016-17
February 08, 2017
Every week, dozens of Game & Fish readers share photos of their successes in the field and on the water in our Camera Corner section.
In 2016, many readers reported their "firsts" in hunting and fishing -- from kids' first bucks, to a woman's first tarpon, to the first goose for a young girl.
All have a story that goes along with the trophy. Below, we share many of these photos and stories.
First Buck with a Bow
Tristan's first buck taken with compound bow. 13 total points
- Taken At: Delaware, Ohio
- Taken On: 11/11/2016
- With: Tristan Conklin
My First Tarpon
It was my first time fishing for "Silver Kings" better known as Tarpon. I was told rarely you hook, and land your first fish but today that's exactly what happened for me! I hooked into this 100lb + fish on a live crab. Captain Andrew walked me though what to do, and what to expect. This fish was full of energy giving everyone an aerial show as it jumped completely out of the water a few times. I learned how to bow to the fish ( pointing the rod towards the fish) as it jumped trying to shake and throw the hook. Awesome experience, I will be back next year for more! I was fishing with Big Bully Outdoors, Fishing charters in Boca Grande FL
- Taken At: Boca Grande, Florida
- Taken On: 04/24/2016
- With: Raygin Fenslau
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First Deer Ever
Tony Sitko, age 15, shot his first deer ever on the last day of hunting season with his flintlock.
- Taken At: Montgomery County (Pa.)
- Taken On: 01/28/2017
- With: Tony Sitko
First mountable buck
I was in my stand maybe 5 minutes and this beauty walked up.
- Taken At: Gwinnett (Ga.)
- Taken On: 12/20/2016
- With: Tricia Hutchinson
Aiden's First Whitetail
Aiden Laird takes his first whitetail in Smith County, MS while hunting with his dad '¦ taken with a Winchester model 70, .30-06 at 125 yds.
- Taken At: Burns, MS
- Taken On: 01/09/2017
- With: Aiden Laird
Robbie's 1st Buck
Robert Glazier, 11 years old, shot his first deer, which happened to be an 8-point buck. Way to go Robbie!
- Taken At: Prince George County (Va.)
- Taken On: 11/05/2016
- With: Robert Glazier
Eva's First Goose
We were setup for an afternoon hunt in a corn field the geese were using to feed. After having a couple groups land in the decoys, Eva got her first goose from the third group. There were literally thousands of geese flying above us for the third group. She was really excited!
- Taken At: Minooka, IL
- Taken On: 12/17/2016
- With: Eva Davis
First Catch at Norris Lake
After fishing Norris Lake 3 times'¦ I finally pulled this beauty out with a Strike King Bitsy tubrjig! So exciting my adrenaline was running like crazy!
- Taken At: Norris Lake (Tenn.)
- Taken On: 04/02/2016
- With: Jennifer Fullen
First Cast at Cornwall Flooding
Fishing @ Cornwall Flooding in the middle of Elk Country (Mich.)
- Taken At: Cornwall Flooding Montmorency County
- Taken On: 07/04/2016
- With: Cayden Johnston
Cooper's First Deer
Shot taken at 112 yards at the family timber. 3 generations of hunting and many more to come.
- Taken At: Belmond, Iowa
- Taken On: 01/02/2017
- With: Cooper Reiland
14 Yr Old Son's First Buck
Son's first buck taken with a rifle.
- Taken At: Mason County (Ky.)
- Taken On: 11/16/2016
- With: Caleb Turner
Austin And Hank with Hank's first big Buck!
Early on the morning of Nov 20, 2016 with heavy frost on the ground Hank (6 years old) killed his 1st big Buck with his Uncle Austin (13) as his guide.
- Taken At: Mena (Ark.)
- Taken On: 11/20/2016
- With: Austin and Hank Aaron Rose
First Bow Buck, A Five Year Quest
Well, the season of 2016 began like any other. The official start of the archery season in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin was the middle of September, but like most bow hunters our season preparation starts in the hot summer months. In the middle of July, we got three food plots planted and three trail cameras hung to monitor deer movement and buck inventory.
Fast forward to the first week of September. Anticipation is high as we go out to check cameras. We have two shooters on camera and would be happy to get either of these bucks on the ground. One of the bucks is a 9 pointer that scores maybe 125" with a big bladed G2. For that reason, we called the buck "Blade". The other buck is a main frame 8 pointer but his left G2 was split so we named him "Splits". Both of the deer would be an awesome first buck for Samantha but we had no idea what was actually in store for us this year.
Like any of the previous four years Samantha has bow hunted, early season comes and goes and she passes many one and two year old bucks. We are still getting steady pictures of Blade and Splits but no daylight pictures.
We find ourselves scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed and see a picture we had hoped to never see. Our neighbor holding a familiar rack, he had shot Blade. Our hearts sank, the biggest buck on the farm was taken off our hit list. We continue to grab cameras through the middle of October only this time is different. We have pictures of a new buck on the farm! This buck was a main frame 8 pointer with both G2's split. He was tall and had towering G3's. We went through a lot of names trying to find the one for this buck when we finally agreed on "Slim Shady" which eventually turned into "Slim" for short. Our couple pictures of Slim were in the middle of the night but with the rut right around the corner we were giddy with excitement for the weeks to come.
We're hunting hard late October early November, no sightings. On October 25th we had one daylight picture at the crack of dawn but every other picture of him was at night. We had one critical thing working against us, it was relatively warm for November causing most of the deer movement to be a night. The middle of November found me in my truck scouting the back roads and for the first time ever I laid my eyes on Slim! He was 60 yards off the road in a winter wheat field about a mile from where we had been getting pictures of him. With gun season opening up right around the corner on November 19th, we knew we had to get it done quickly otherwise the chances of seeing Slim again were dismal. We hunted up until the gun season with no luck and once again our hearts sank to rock bottom. With no recent pictures of Slim, we thought the hunt for him was going to be ended by another hunter.
Gun season opens up and makes it through opening weekend without any word of Slim being killed. During the middle of the 9-day gun deer season, Samantha shoots a mature doe with her .243 to put some meat in the freezer. The ninth and final day of gun season closes and no pictures or rumors that anyone had killed a buck with split G2's.
The Monday after gun season we put trail cameras back out and start baiting one gallon of corn at two different locations. We baited a gallon on the north end of the property and a gallon on the south end of the property. Muzzle loader and a 3-day antlerless only season kept us out of the woods. The bait is getting hit hard and we continue to bait every day because the deer cleaned it up every night. We grab cameras the weekend of December 10th and to our surprise there he is. We get almost 100 pictures of Slim on the south end of the property which is very close to a big cedar thicket but again, every picture is nine, ten, eleven o'clock at night. We look on the Weather Channel for the first big front and from Monday to Tuesday it's going to go from 25 degrees to 5 degrees. We arranged plans to sit the evening of the cold front, December 13, 2016.
We wanted to sit in the Bale Blind where we had gotten so many pictures of Slim the week before, but the wind was bad for the set so we elected to hunt in her Redneck Blind which was sitting on the north end of the property. We enter the blind at 2 o'clock, Samantha's Strothers Hope compound bow and Schwacker low-poundage mechanical broad heads ready for action. First deer movement was 2:20pm, few does in a radish field about 100 yards in front of us. They end up running south to the bale blind. More deer pour into the radish field and make their way south. Finally, at about four o'clock we can see three deer about 80 yards behind us in a hay field. It's hard to see them with the foggy windows from the heater but two of the deer are bucks and one of the bucks is a good size buck. As they work their way closer, we agree one of the bucks is a shooter. The shooter buck makes his way to 40 yards and I see his G2 is split and I tell her "Its Splits!" The buck walks another 10 yards closer and then I finally recognize him. I whisper with excitement, "No, it's Slim!" Samantha doesn't believe me so I try to convince her "I'm 90% sure it's him I swear!" He's walking through a small patch of corn we planted in summer and then he steps out, Samantha draws back, I range him at 27 yards and stop him for her and await the shot. Confusion fulfills the blind. "I can't see him" Samantha says. What she means is I stopped the buck before he made it to her vertical window. I could see the buck perfectly broadside at 27 yards but she could not. Slim takes a few nervous steps forward and we try to stop him again, but he trots off nervously into the woods with the other 2 deer he was with. Once again, our hearts sank. The buck we had been dreaming about since October was at 27 yards and we let him slip through our fingers. For the next 10 minutes we discussed where we went wrong and what we will do differently next time, no one pointed any fingers as to who was to blame, but it was pretty apparent I may have just screwed up the only chance we get to harvest Slim. I felt terrible, but then I came back to reality and thought to myself. He doesn't know what spooked him and there's still a little bit of light left, lets hang tight and see what happens. Suddenly, a few does come out into the food plot and the bait pile and I look into the woods and see a buck. Not a very big buck but then I wondered, what if that's the same buck Slim was with before. A few minutes go by and Samantha says "There he is!" Standing broadside at 20 yards on the edge of the woods he starts to walk into the middle of the food plot. I slowly start to open her vertical window and the deer beneath us that were feeding on the corn start to get suspicious. I get the window opened and she draws back. Slim is getting a little nervous but Samantha stops him. He's quartering away no more than 25 yards. She set her 20 yard pin on him and let the lighted Lumenok fly and the arrow sticks right in his side! He ran about 120 yards and we watched him fall in the radish field. It's hard to explain with words the feeling we both felt. Often times in the blind we asked ourselves, "Is this really happening?" We make a couple phone calls and I can hear it in Samantha's voice. About a million words want to come out at once with your heart pounding a mile a minute! We get down from the blind and check out the arrow that fell out of the buck about 60 yards from where he lies. The bubbles in the blood don't lie, she got one lung for sure. We walk up on the buck confirming that it is 100% the deer we have been after for so long. Take a few pictures and just admire the animal before field dressing him.
What an incredible ride up and down on this roller coaster, that I was so happy to be a part of. We'll await his return from the taxidermy for an official score, but the buck grossed 125 7/8. Although, no Boone and Crockett whitetail here, it is one story I'm sure both of us will never forget.
Written by Preston Olszewski
- Taken At: Kewaunee
- Taken On: 12/13/2016
- With: Samantha Stauber