Monday, November 21, 2011


    The night before we went down to Mupp and Ginger's for Betheroo's birthday bash. I was beat. Up every morning at 5 am was taking it's toll. Nonetheless the next day still held the mystique of Xmas morning. I couldn't wait to get home and snuggle in the covers. I told Shewho and Smokey to follow me in their car. Shewho does not have the best sense of direction. By the time I reached 17K her headlights had disappeared in my rearview. That was a record for even her. I turned the truck around and pulled up along side her. "I hit a deer." she moaned, still shaken. Peta member Smokey was on full meltdown. I surveyed the damage. The plastic bumper and grill were cracked but not much else. Deer are tough creatures. I reassured them that the deer was most likely OK and we continued up the mountain. Either way the shooting started at dawn.
   I had set my stand high on the mountain, in the back of the Majestic Farm. I love this spot. I'd hunted it last year and got a big buck during muzzle loader season. The Budde's (who own the farm) are gracious enough to give me free rein. It's away from the usual Sullivan County rat-a-tat-tat of city hunters over by the church. Buddy Budde and I had it to ourselves.
   A lone doe slowly walked through at first light. Then another one, followed by a spike. By 9 am I'd had a big 3 pointer and 5 more does bedded down within 20 yards of my tree. The weather was mild, but not warm.....perfect. By noon I decided to go home, have a bite and quickly get back in the stand. I lowered my rifle, barrel first. Because I was strapped in I couldn't quite get the rope down. With 6 inches of slack I let loose. The shock loosened the knot and the gun stuck like a spear in the mud. FUCK! Luckily it hadn't hit a rock, but the barrel was jammed with dirt. I reamed it out with a green stick, but couldn't be sure it was clear. I remembered horror stories of hunters shooting with barrel obstructions. The lucky ones were blinded or disfigured. At lunch I cleaned the .243.
   The afternoon sit started slow. But then about 2:30 pm I heard leaves crunching. A buck was coming right towards me. I put the scope on him. He was a big bodied deer with a wide heavy rack. I could only see 6 points, but decided in a matter of seconds that I would shoot. I settled the crosshairs on his front shoulder and fired. He kicked, spun and took off on a dead run. Had I missed? Slowly I lowered the gun and got out of the tree. I went to the spot where he stood when I shot. The leaves were kicked up. I looked for blood or hair. Nothing. Damn. I followed the faint trail, scanning the forest floor. No blood. At about 50 yards I stopped, devastated. My heart sank. Had the scope been thrown off by the gun's fall? Then I turned to the right, convinced I had missed. There lay my dead deer. I breathed a sigh of relief, thanked the deer, the LGM and my lucky stars.
   The buck was a wide heavy 6, and the biggest bodied deer I'd ever shot. I gutted it and started the long drag down the mountain. A couple of hundred yards down the trail I was so sore and out of breath I realized this old man was not going to be able to get the buck out without help. I left him lay and went back to the farm. Sarah "Birka" Budde called Slick and Levi and as one of the Budde's cur dogs followed us and Sarah snapped iphone pics, we got that big buck in the truck.  Thanks to all. Sometimes it takes a congregation. Today I butcher him up. Drop by for a beer and a backstrap to go.


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