December 21, is my birthday. This year my son, Hal, my grandson,Jimmy, and I were hunting at Itta Bena Hunting club as usual. Jimmy had been hunting with me, trying to kill his fourth buck (he is ten years old). This morning Hal had taken Jimmy duck hunting, where he killed his first duck in the air. This gave me a little time to hunt alone. The rut was in high gear so I climbed into a stand on a CRP field right on a gravel road. It was 6:45am when I first saw a big deer across the field. He was laying under a tree in a thicket about 150 yards away. I soon realized there were two big bucks in that thicket with a hot doe. Around the thicket were eight to ten small bucks running around like bees! Every now and then one would run into the thicket just to be beaten back by one of the larger bucks. This went on for hours! I had four small bucks within eight yards of my tree through the morning. One 16' eight point stood on his hind legs and ate red berries off a tree right by my stand! From the short glimpses of the two big bucks I had made up my mind to end my season on either buck if I got a shot. At one point, one of the bucks chased a four point twenty yards from the thicket and gave me a shot. My 35 whelan went off but did not kick! The bullet was a dud! I broke it down, loaded another and got back on the deer. Before I pulled the trigger I thought I better check the barrel just to be sure. I broke it down checked, reloaded, and got back on the buck in time to see him headed back into the thicket! At 12:15 pm he chased another small buck out. I got the cross hairs on him and pulled the trigger. This time the gun fired and the buck dropped. I got down and moved to within thirty yards of where I thought he went down. All of a sudden a deer jumped up and ran! I ran into the woods and saw a tail twitch. I put the cross hairs on him but could not see his head. I waited until he moved,thank goodness, because the deer I was looking at turned out to be a 15' eight point!. I walked back to where I thought my deer was and found him laying there dead! His rack had caught in a bush keeping his head up and the small buck had been on top of him fighting! The buck on the ground had a 23 3/8 inch inside spread with eight points. We estimated him to be around six and a half years old give or take. He weighed 236 lbs and was poor from the rut! So far this season my son has killed a nice nine point and my grandson has taken a high rack eight point! Happy birthday to me. Does it get any better than this? Yes when my Grandson Matt takes his first one! Take em huntin! You won't regret it!