First I wan to start off by acknowledging how beautiful the state of Kentucky is. Being from North Florida I was awed by the beautiful farms, hills, and hollers KY boasts. About a year ago a good friend of mine from high school reached out about joining him on a hunt in Kentucky, a state he was raised in during his early years before relocating to Florida. He promised a great time, good accommodations, great company and an opportunity to harvest a "real" buck. Not a little Florida deer as he put it. Since he had already booked a farm via AIRBNB we just had to wait on the day to come. A trip from Tallahassee with a night in Nashville finally ended at a farm an hour outside Louisville. We broke out the supplies, hiked the place and got blinds set and was ready to begin the week we had for the gun opener. All week hiking the hills made me realize how out of shape I am in, the uniqueness off the surroundings I was in and I was baffled by the size of the deer in general. Hunting in snow, during a nor'easter, was quite the eye opening experience. Having trees/limbs break under the sheer weight of ice was crazy to say the least. We saw does all week and the signs of the rut were there. The morning of the last day we were there we both had shots on bucks that resulted in missed kills. Disappointed in the last mornings results we were thinking we may end up driving back south empty handed. As we set out for the afternoon hunt and going in different directions, I remember telling my pal if I saw a deer, any deer, it was going to end up in my cooler. Well lo and behold a doe comes thru my set. Texting my bud that I was about to waylay this deer, he reminded me to be patient and wait. Best advice ever. A few moments later, my buck of my lifetime slips into the lane. I swear I thought it was an elk at first glance. I had never seen a deer so dark and so large before. The 7MM was true on this shot. As the buck ran over the hill, I shook uncontrollably and waited. What seemed like ten minutes later, I heard it moan, the death moan. Another half hour, the longest ever, all the while my phone is blowing up from my buddy, I've told him I shot at a deer. Wanting to come my way I encouraged him to sit longer until I located it. Finally about 45 minutes to an hour I finally get out of the blind and locate the deer. A text to my pal got him on the move and I hear a shot ring out from his direction. After a full week, we both sealed the deal in the last hour of the last day. A memory we both will cherish till our dying day and now with the second trip planned for the year, hopefully a tradition he and I can pass on to our sons, to carry forward in the future. Comradery, friendship, a passion for whitetail, and the awe of nature is what hunting is all about. Plus good food! Special thanks to Mike Dunn with Dunn's Taxidermy for the beautiful mount and cannot wait to put my hands on it and bring it home when we return to Kentucky in November!