Tim Freund writes, "My best friend, Steve Swaringen, and I have been hunting buddies for about 32 years now. We have been trying to get drawn for X7A for 17 years. Finally, after our long wait, we both were drawn for X7A in 2008. This area is special to Steve and I because we used to hunt it as teenagers.
On October 4th, opening day of the hunt, we were pretty pumped, so we drove my 4 wheel drive vehicle to a place we call Jammers Chair. This area has always produced some really nice bucks. To our surprise, the landscape was the same, but the trees and plants were all larger. Once we were in the field it didn`t take but 10 minutes and we spotted a nice 3x2. Steve said, "I`m taking him." I looked at him and said, "Steve, it`s 7:00am and we are going to be here for four days, don`t you want to wait for something bigger?" He looked at me and said, "This may be the only buck I`ll see this season, so I am not taking the chance." So Steve filled his tag.
Later that morning, we spotted about ten does and two forked horns. The rest of opening day we didn`t see much. We were having a tough time finding any fresh sign. Later that night back at camp, Steve said he was glad he took his buck because it was the nicest one we saw that day. He asked me if I was going to take the first legal buck I saw the next day and I said, "I would like to take a real nice four point or better." If I couldn't, I would rather go home with a unfilled tag.
The next morning I decided to hunt an area we called the bowl. As I was walking up the trail, I remembered that I used to look over the trees and bushes....now I look under them. I made it to the top of the bowl three hours later, with no sign of anything, so I decided to head back to camp.
After lunch, Steve and I talked to a few hunters and they told us that they weren't seeing much of anything. Later that afternoon, I decided to go up to Merrill Valley located directly behind Jammers Chair. There is a dead end road, and I can walk up to the top of the ridge that takes you back to camp. Steve dropped me off and then he headed back to camp. I walked less then a hundred yards, and there he was! My buck of a lifetime! His antlers were reaching for the sky! I took him right then. A couple minutes later, Steve called me on the two-way radio and ask if the shot came from me. I said, "YES!" Steve ask, "How big is he?" I said, "I don't know yet, come back and meet me where you dropped me off".
Steve and I walked to where I last saw the buck. There, we spotted blood and followed the trail. We walked about 50 yards, then heard some movement up on the ridge to the right. We thought it was my buck. Our first reaction was to head towards the sound, with all the excitement I decided to stay on the blood trail instead. Less than 20 yards away, there he was...my buck. I yelled for Steve...."I found my buck! He's down over here!". He was laying in the tall grass, and to my surprise this buck had eight points on the left and seven points on the right. I was in awe, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. When Steve got over to me, we hugged and yelled. It was great for Steve and I to share getting our bucks and my "buck of a lifetime" after 17 years of waiting.
My buck was scored by B&C at 163-7/8 and 21-2/8 outside spread and the antlers were 24 inches tall. On his right G2 he has two abnormal points that are 4-1/2 inches long, sometime in his life he broke an antler off his G4. On his left side he has two abnormal 1 inch points on his G2 and one abnormal 1 inch point on his G3. B&C considered him a non-typical.
I'll never forget this hunting trip. It was great to get such a prize of a deer right here in my home land of California."