Saturday was opening day of rifle season here in Alabama. I was hunting in a stand of planted pines in a three-acre field I plant each year in wheat, elbon rye, and ladino clover in an opening in some planted pines. A doe and a yearling entered the field just before dusk began to set in. I watched them through my binoculars for a minute, and then eased left just to check the woods behind them. Immediately, one of the most beautiful young deer Ive ever seen stepped into the field and filled my binoculars. Now, I am 44 years old and have hunted in central Alabama for most of them, so I have seen a whole lot of deer in my life, but this eight pointer was especially beautiful. In the later afternoon sun, he seemed to have been painted with high-gloss brown paint slick and shiny. His rack was at least twenty inches wide and had four medium length tines on each side. He was about 130 pounds and had good musculature, but a relatively thin neck and waist and long nose, and his rack was not heavy. I put him at 2.5 years. A six point then stepped into the field on the opposite side of the doe and yearling. The six crossed over to the other side, and the bucks split off and began grazing by themselves. I watched the eight for ten to fifteen minutes and then turned my attention to the six point. It was then that I noticed that the six pointer had a nicely formed rack on one side, but just a cluster of two or three small spikes on the other. I like to leave the woods undisturbed as possible on my place, so my heart sort of sank as I realized that I really ought to cull him. I eased my rifle into position and spent an inordinate amount of time studying the six through the riflescope in the hope that maybe I had seen it wrong, but I hadnt, so I settled myself to fire. At the moment my thumb touched the safety, both bucks turned took three leaps back into the woods, and disappeared. Three minutes later, I heard a shot from the adjacent property from the direction theyd headed. I hope they didnt shoot the 8, but Ill bet they did. Oh well. At least I did have the pleasure of seeing him.