2. The Godfrey Buck
Albert Godfrey Sr. already had some experience tracking and killing big bucks before he set out on opening day, 1969. His first weighed 211 and his second, just over 200, was one of three bucks Godfrey happened upon at the height of the rut, all three of which were in the process of breeding does.
Godfrey had been invited to a friend’s camp near Eustis, Maine, that was well off the main road in an area gated off to the public. The morning passed without action. Soaked and discouraged by the heavy rains, Godfrey was slogging up a haul road when he glanced to his right and saw a huge animal. It was so large his first thought was that it was a caribou that had wandered off from one of the state’s failed re-introduction programs, but a second look showed it didn’t have the right headgear.
The deer was standing in an elevated clump of cedars barely 30 yards away, so close that when he raised his Remington 742 and found the deer in his 4x scope all he saw was a sea of brown. Without a clear shot, Godfrey gambled and took a couple steps back. This prompted the buck to lean forward, perhaps for a better view of the strange intruder, exposing its shoulder to Godfrey who wasted no time in shooting. He lost sight of the buck momentarily in a cloud of steam created by the muzzle blast and his rain-soaked barrel but he quickly ran over and found the deer lying still in a hole behind the cedars. Godfrey later discovered his bullet had hit a rib and split it in half, one half hitting the heart and the other traveling up the spine to the base of the buck’s skull.
When his companion showed up later, the two hunters were able to drag the buck to the road, but couldn’t heft it up onto the trunk of their ’69 Plymouth Fury until another hunter happened by and offered to assist. They knew the buck was big but didn’t realize how big until they got to town later that afternoon where it weighed in at 307.