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- Category Hunting Stories
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- Prostaff Member Trout Whisperer
I have seen this antlered deer five times this fall. He's got a blonde tall tined rack that nobody could forget. He's not Boone and Crocket or a record head for any one but me. In my book, he is spectacular. I caught him sleeping one day I was chasing woodcock in October and I have been buck struck, ever since. I watched him sleeping and actually saw him open his eyes. The sunlight was making him blink. When I registered in his senses he leapt, whirled and butt over teakettle disappeared in a thunderous brushy exit. I was eleven paces from where he napped.
Now today, my heart can't beat much faster and my body is really shaking. The buck disappeared as I entered the neighbors field a ¼ mile north of my dad's house. For the past three days the buck has shown himself in the latest possible light. When I say he has shown himself its more like a wisp of smoke into the cold darkened field. But today at three thirty he's just now leaving. The rut is screwing him up.
He hops the fence by a lone well fruited crab apple tree that some cow probably seeded years ago. Same thing each night. I get there very early and he does not enter the field until three does have grazed around for what seems like an eternity. Its always well past legal shooting time.
I have kept my eyes on the prize with my rifle ready and so tensed up that as I walk back from defeat after dark my neck actually hurts. But now, why he's headed south from the field INTO the woods away from the doe's yet to come? My brain scrambles for where he is possibly headed.
Since I was bound for my tree stand I decide to back track out to the road and cut east back into the woods to see if he is going to another over grown field. I run all the way to the road. Then I run south the ditch bank for over a 1/8th of a mile. Now I slow way down and check the wind as I work back east. When I get to a place straight south of the apple tree I stop next to some alder and diamond willow brush for cover and to break my outline.
I face with the November hung sun to my back and scan northeast continually. For no logical reason I check the southern edge of the clearing and the buck is zig zagging at a fair clip on a due south course. No way for a shot with all the brush, but his blonde rack has me shaking all the more.
If he stays on course he will enter my dad's yard in another four hundred feet. This makes no sense to me. The wind is quartering out of the north to the south east. I figure its make or break time so even with the wind possibly sending my scent to him I take off due east and after a good 1000 feet I cut south to the last over grown field on our property.
I'm in complete guess mode but I think the buck is chasing a hot doe or at the very least going to skirt a swampy wet pond area. When I get to the wooded field edge I hang just inside and try to calm myself down. I open my wool coat and wipe the sweat from under my hunting cap and off my forehead.
With my raised arm and hat in hand I catch some kind of branch snapping sounds and what sounds like a pig grunt. I freeze. A doe bursts out into the opening from the west no more than sixty feet away and spins around focused at the very woods I just ran through.
Her ears are rotating and she is doing an amazing tail wag maneuver. The wind is in my favor and she's not looking my direction. She is staring at her own back trail. This doe is locked on compass north.
I can see the antlers first. He is head down and scooting towards her. She bolts, twists and is leap running south. She disappears in some fifteen foot tall alder brush no more than twenty yards away. He turns broadside with his nose facing west and is just sniffing as the rack almost pulls his head up. Everything goes slow motion for me.
I can't remember what I did with my hat because I do remember picking it up off the ground after the shot. But the rifle is heavy and unsteady. My scope is sweeping all over a deer less than thirty yards away. I find the cross hairs and when they center on the boiler room I pulled the trigger. I did not squeeze the trigger. I pulled it with every ounce of strength I had.
The buck shuddered, held for an instant and dropped. So did I, to my knees. Then I grab my hat and start a wobbly legged walk. The rack just keeps getting bigger as I get closer. The buck is magnificent. I put the hair back in alignment where the bullet entered. I can't stop grinning.
If the buck would have walked out into the field where this all started today, the shot would have been reduced to target practice. But THIS BUCK made THE hunting trip. Growing up on the property I like to think I was guessing the buck's next move and with a bit of ego, I got him. It's easy when the trophy is in hand to take credit for the success in this deer hunting. But what if the buck would not have left the field as he did. This buck made me a better hunter. Oh yes, he's on my wall and the only deer that will ever be on my wall. That's my buck.