The Deer of a Lifetime ... Twice

By Ken Canterbury

Ken CanterburyKen Canterbury
Colorado, 2008, DIY, Public Land

My son Ken and I had been glassing an area from a vantage point since first light and were about to leave when I thought I saw a doe just over the next ridge. We slowly eased up to where we could see over the crest of the ridge and saw a doe grazing 150 yards away.

To our amazement, "Mr. Big" was lying down 20 yards to her left and staring right at us. As soon as he saw us, he jumped up and started to run. I turned to Ken and said "Shoot!" just as I heard the deafening roar of his .30-378 Weatherby-Mag., and the rest is history. I had just seen a 200-inch typical buck go down; truly the thrill of a lifetime...for the second time.

As I write this story, I am reflecting on over 70 years of hunting. Obviously I don't remember much about the first two or three years but I do have pictures to prove I was there. I was six months old on my first hunt and rode horseback on a pillow in my mother's lap about six miles to my dad's homestead and hunting camp. For as long as I can remember, hunting was in my blood and I never missed a season.

I could hardly wait until I turned 12 so I could buy a license. My first buck was a three-point but I was proud of him. Over the years I have killed many deer and several big bucks. I have had the privilege of taking my four grandsons on their first hunts and taught my two sons Rob and Ken to hunt. The two most memorable hunts in my 72 years of hunting, however, were not about deer I killed, but the ones someone else shot.

The first hunt occurred in October of 1951 when I was 15 years old. I was hunting with my dad when I got a shot at a nice buck. I was following the tracks and looking for a possible blood trail when my father rode over on horseback to see what had taken place. I explained to him what had happened and he stood up in the stirrups and said, "There he is lying over there under that tree."

He calmly pulled his .30-40 Krag from the scabbard and shot the deer without getting off his horse. It turned out to be a different deer than the one I had shot at. The deer was not officially scored until many years later, but the giant typical scored 203-4/8 B&C - an all-time giant.

Ken Canterbury

For a full account of Ken's adventure, go to page 6 in the June/July 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.