Written by Cliff Covington
Published in "Mississippi Sportsman"

The morning of January 1, 2007, started out much like any other winter morning in the Mississippi deer woods for 37 year-old Christopher Shea.  Arriving at his strategically positioned ground blind alongside a well-worn deer trail, he knew he would have a long wait before there would be enough shooting light.  Other than a few songbirds, the occasional gray squirrel and a great blue heron, Shea hadn’t seen any sign of the numerous deer that he knew called the small 212-acre cattle farm home.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Christopher Shea had first begun deer hunting in 1994 after vacationing in Mississippi.  After he got out of the Air Force in 2001, Shea decided to move to Mississippi. 
 “I discovered early on that the only way a transplanted “Yankee” was going to fit in here in the Deep South was to start deer hunting,” said Shea.  “So I began reading every book and magazine article I could get my hands on about the subject.”
Shea quickly put his newfound knowledge to work and was able to harvest a few small bucks and does.  All the massive racked bucks had somehow eluded him.  But that was all about to change, and in a most unique fashion.
It was almost 10:00 a.m. and Shea was about ready to gather up his gear and head for home when a flicker of motion caught his attention.  Coming down the trail at a somewhat rapid pace was a nice, fat doe.  Not far behind, and in hot pursuit, was the buck that Shea had dreamed about.  Using the skills he had learned while serving in the military, Shea calmly found the monster buck in his sights and took the shot.  Instead of the loud “boom”, the stillness of the morning was broken by a soft “click”.  Fortunately for Shea, the buck was more concerned with the hot doe than he was with the strange noises coming from the ground blind.  Without hesitation, Shea started shooting again.  Over the next 30 minutes, he was able to get off at least 90 shots before the giant 10-pointer disappeared into a nearby pine plantation.
O.K., before you get to thinking that this is just another tall Mississippi deer tale, I will have to do like Paul Harvey and tell you “the rest of the story”.  On that fateful New Years Day, Christopher Shea had not taken his deer rifle to the blind.  Instead, he was armed with a Nikon SLR digital camera.  The 90+ shots he took that morning were photographs of the giant buck.  But stay with me, because the story gets even better.
After leaving the blind, Shea drove over to his friends for lunch.  After showing everyone his photographs and recounting the experience, Shea didn’t quite get the response he expected.
“I took a lot of ribbing from my friends about how “camera boy” had missed the opportunity of a lifetime by not taking along a gun.
Realizing that he might never get another opportunity like the one he had passed up that morning, Shea decided to get his rifle and head back to the ground blind.  Since the buck had been chasing the doe, maybe they both would still be in the vicinity and offer him a second chance.
“I was anxious to get back to the stand”, said Shea.  “In fact, I was so excited that I accidentally drove my pickup into a barbed wire fence on the way back.”
Being a true wildlife photographer, Shea brought along his camera just in case the giant buck failed to return.  Arriving at the ground blind around 3:00 p.m., he wouldn’t have long to wait.  Less than 15 minutes had passed when the doe stepped out of the planted pines and started down the trail.  Once again, the big 10-pointer was following close behind.
Instead of reaching for his camera, Shea grabbed his Remington Model 700 and put it to his shoulder.  The path the deer were on would bring them within 40 yards of his ground blind.  This time Shea found the big whitetail in his Leopold rifle scope rather than the lens of his Nikon camera.
Calmly, Shea centered the crosshairs on the 10-pointer’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger. At the shot, the massive buck bolted down the trail, tore through a barbed wire fence, and disappeared into the brush.  Moments later a large crash confirmed that Shea’s buck was down for good. 
Shea wasted no time in getting to his downed trophy, which he found only 80 yards away.  The .270 caliber bullet had done its job and had been aided by a rather large cedar fence post.  In his attempt to escape, the big buck had run headlong into the cedar post.
Shea couldn’t believe his good fortune.  After admiring his trophy for a few moments, Shea loaded the big buck in his pickup and drove around town showing it to all his friends.  In the whirlwind of activity, Shea forgot to take any pictures of the buck before taking it to the processor.  Fortunately, his friend, Lee Redwine, had taken a couple of “hero” shots when Shea had dropped by to show off his buck.
The big buck would later be measured by an official scorer.  The 10-pointer grossed 148 inches and received a net score of 140.  For Shea, it was a buck of a lifetime, taken in a very unique fashion.  Although Shea continues to actively pursue his wildlife photography career, you can bet during the Mississippi deer season he will have more than his Nikon camera in the blind with him.  Shea isn’t sure if he has any more luck like that left and isn’t taking any chances.