"I've always had something to stop me from getting a rack deer," said Hidalgo, who goes by "shidalgo" on the MS-Sportsman.com forum.
But when he squeezed the trigger that warm, muggy morning, the hard-luck hunter bagged a 153-inch buck.
Only he didn't know it.
The hunt actually almost didn't happen. Hidalgo was at the property leased by the company for which he works (Quality Energy Services) and owned by Bill Teague mainly to take company clients hunting.
But most of the clients on the property that morning were more interested in sleeping in because the conditions were less than optimal. Temperatures were already knocking on 70 degrees – and it was still dark.
"I woke up at 3:30, and some of the customers didn't want to go hunting," Hidalgo said. "But one of them did."
While the property is really leased for client entertainment, Hidalgo has a special deal allowing him to hunt in return for working to maintain the property.
"I figured, since I've got to get up this early, I might as well go hunting," he said.
So after dropping off the one client who got out of bed, Hidalgo climbed into his own stand.
About 7:30, he saw movement right by the stand in which he was sitting.
"He was in some weeds, walking away from me," Hidalgo said. "I just saw the (butt) end of a deer. I saw the white of the butt and the tail flicking.
"I thought to myself, 'Hey, that's a good doe.'"
When the deer turned to walk in front of the stand, it moved behind a tree. When it emerged on the other side, Hidalgo saw antlers. He didn't take a lot of time to check out the rack, knowing at a glance that it met the property's 8-point-or-better standards.
"He walked out in front of me at 40 yards, and stood broadside," he explained. "I thought, 'Well, it's a nice 8-point.'
"I was just thinking he was an average 8-point."
The hunter quickly lined up the cross hairs and squeezed the trigger. The deer hit the ground, and Hidalgo settled in to wait.
"I sat in the stand 25 to 30 minutes," he said, noting he still had no clue of the size of the buck.
When he finally left the stand, it didn't take long for the enormity of the kill to sink in.
"The closer I got, the harder my heart started pumping," Hidalgo said. "I thought, 'Oh, man, this guy was bad.'"
The buck had nine long points, with the longest being an 11-inch brow tine. The main beams of the 220-pounder stretched around 19 inches of air, but it was the mass that was really impressive.
"It has 38 inches just in mass," Hidalgo said.
The first call Hidalgo made was to his father, but even after texting photos of the deer the elder Hidalgo refused to believe it.
"He kept saying, 'Oh, that's somebody else's deer,'" Scott Hidalgo said. "I guess he's just used to me coming home with does and little 4-points from our other property.
"It wasn't until I drove home a week later and showed him the head that he finally believed me."
The kill was made more sweet because it was Hidalgo's first rack buck, but he couldn't cover his relief that the almost two-decade trophy drought was over.
"It's about time," he said.
View other bucks killed this season and post your own in the Nikon Deer of the Year contest gallery. If you're not already a registered member of the site, be sure and sign up to be eligible for the monthly and overall prizes.