How much luck does a big buck need to make it to, say, trophy proportions?

Rob Harrison isn't sure, but he does have some evidence that, while they might not have nine lives like a cat, they occasionally cheat death.

Harrison took an 11-point, 150-inch buck Dec. 4 near Pendleton, and found 10 pellets of buckshot under the buck's hide when it was skinned out.

Harrison first saw the buck one night last year while driving home. He thought knew the big deer's approximate range, so he started hunting for him on private property near Pendleton.

Harrison saw the deer again this past Nov. 11, but he didn't get a shot. He kept hunting for the big deer and looking for his tracks, then one afternoon, he saw the big buck following does into a thicket, and he knew where the deer was going and what it was doing.

Harrison had been hunting near a clearing and a food plot of winter wheat, and he had seen scrapes going into the thicket many times before, but had never seen the buck there. The deer was waiting to freshen the scrapes when Harrison wasn't around.

On Dec. 4, Harrison was planning to take his 15-year-old daughter, Alex, hunting, but she couldn't go. Harrison went alone, and while hunting from a big ladder stand, he saw the big buck coming off a scrape and walking out in the shooting lane at 80 yards. He took a shot with his .308, but the deer whirled and ran off.

Harrison waited 20 minutes, then got down from the stand and headed for the spot where the buck had been standing, but he found no blood. Slowly walking down the trail the buck had taken, Harrison found only four small drops of blood about 100 yards away.

Second-guessing his shot, Harrison started circling the area to see which way the deer had gone. After another hour, he started walking trails and found the big buck 100 yards away.

Harrison's shot, taken with the buck quartering toward him, had gone through the front shoulder and lodged just under the skin in front of the opposite rear leg.

The buck was a 190-pound specimen with an 11-point rack that is estimated in the neighborhood of 150 inches, with bases that are six inches in circumference.
 
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