The Dumbstruck Hunter and The Get-a-way Buck
Three amazing events happened to me on the day of November 7th. Turning six-teen being the first, my mother letting me take off a day of school; second. Lastly the most remarkable story of a hunt ‘till this day of my short hunting endeavors.
This was a picture perfect day of archery hunting. Almost as if I were in one of those show time hunting videos that all of us hunters know far to well. A damp fall breeze hit my face and I could have swore went right through my bones. While the weather rather at a bitter temperature only I couldn’t have asked for more. From past experiences and the rut in full throttle, I figured the best setup would be between two bedding areas hoping to intercept a solicit buck in need of love.
Feeling like a popsicle 23 feet above ground scanning ground for prey, as if an eagle would, I broke out the hot cocoa to replenish my quivering body. Considering having no action since daybreak. My thermos kept my cocoa lukewarm. Sip by sip, feeling returned to my toes. Ten o’clock rolled in as so did the fog. Unfortunately my empty stomach just wouldn't let up. At this time I couldn’t tell the difference between the gurgle of my food sack or a buck grunt! So I weighed my chances to have a quick bite before "hunting" again. Now at this particular situation, every hunter knows that a trophy buck is just yearning to step out and catch you off guard.
Two partridge behind me nearly scared me out of my 8-layered custom internal heat suit, before fluttering from one thicket to the next. Just as I turned around with the spoonful of chili dwindling from my mouth, here steps Mr. 11 pointer fifty yards out, sporting a jaw-dropping drop-tine off his G2. His over-sized body trembled with each step. Even his neck bursted in a swelled fashion. He acted as a king in his castle. Although by any means he was. My eyeballs watering, from either the spicy chili or the biggest rack I've seen all season, I can't remember. All I knew was that I was in a pickle.
With the actions of a sloth, I managed to hook my backpack on the tree limb, slide the cocoa and chili to the side of the platform and silently unhook my weapon off the holder, monitoring the step-by-step progress of the 11-pointer. Yet unaware of my presence his sixth sense took me by surprise. The cagey buck appeared to be coming in, but on the other hand, he had a different plan of attack. Instead of coming through my shooting lane, which was ever so carefully cut, he sneaked behind me through the fallen timber. He was trying to get a whiff downwind of me. Obviously, still out of my confident shooting range, the 145 class buck presented no ethical shot possible. I wasn’t about to fling a projectile at an animal wavering a miss or even worse, a wound. At that very moment for the first time in my life, I was finally beat by the whitetail. With the technologically advanced equipment and gear I forayed, he unwillingly got the best of me with his keen senses and ultra radar. I felt what every other hunter out there has felt one time or another. I was as helpless as a cat in a dog pen. I gazed in awe, watching a magnificent buck’s rack glide through the forest. Twisting his headgear through the obstacle course like forest delicately avoiding low hanging tree branches. The last image I saw of him before he vanished into the deep was his round rump wagging his tail at me saying, "Good luck next year."
That is what hunting is all about, successful or not, I had quite the astonishment. Now I can share it with you, family and hunting partners for years to come. “Stories are passed and received over campfires & dinners, take it as a token of appreciation to the glory of God and God’s wondrous creatures of the wild.”
This particular occurrence has brought me to many “I should have, I could have” theories. Being as ready as our soldiers are in battle is what separates the hunter coming out of the woods with a bloody arrow from the hunter with theirs streak-free. Practice minimizing simple mistakes, which deer thrive on. This holds true even during the rutting season. You will be surprised when you don’t use your basic strategies you’ve used all year to the rut. The rut is when buck’s seldom change, you shouldn’t have to other than a few tweaks here n’ there. Now with that said, I can only hope I have imprinted a memory of my failure to your arsenal. Use this key to open your success rate in bagging impressive deer. Maybe next fall I will have a happier ending to my story.