Monday, October 14, 2013


I heard the thump. I knew I had hit him, but had not seen where. He ran, then stopped at the edge of some thick stuff. I waited for him to drop. He didn't. Then I lost sight of him....but lets go back a little.

    After letting the small six walk I couldn't wait to get back to my spot. The weather was still unseasonably warm. I hadn't even had a coat on yet, let alone gloves or long johns. A t-shirt and some light leafy wear was comfortable, even at dark. I got in the stand by 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon. The chipmunks were chirping and every once in a while I'd hear an acorn drop. Otherwise there was a light breeze out of the west, rustling the leaves, and not much moving. This time I had obsessed over washing my clothes and myself, spraying down my rubber boats and gear. I hoped this would work.
   About 5:30 pm I heard crashing coming my way. A small doe streaked by me, followed by two large does. They were acting like a buck was chasing them, but I never saw horns. I had no shot at either doe, but they didn't spook either, as they crossed my path. Maybe my scent proofing was working. When things quieted down, my heart was racing. Could the pre-rut already be happening? About 15 minutes went by and I heard more crashing, this time behind me. Another doe appeared and on her tail was a big bodied, dark deer. I saw horns. This was no small six. The buck stopped, too far for a shot, as the doe vanished into the pines, the buck right behind her. I didn't even have my grunt call on me. Who'd have thought I would even need it this early in the season?
   As the sun started to set, three more small does appeared and worked their way in front of me. I kept hoping for another look at the buck. It was getting dark fast. Then I heard the crunch of leaves to my right. I saw a big body emerge out of the pines. He was crossing broadside 30 yards to my right. My eyesight is terrible in low light. I drew back and almost didn't take the shot. He was walking slowly. I should've tried to bleat him to a stop......but I didn't. When he hit a clear spot i touched the release. THUMP. I had hit him.

I waited about 10 minutes before getting out of the tree and searching for my arrow. Once on the ground I checked my watch. 6:30 pm. It was almost dark when I found the arrow. It was a pass through, but my initial joy was tempered when I examined the fletching. It was brown and stunk. I had gut shot the buck. Damn. Between the low light and moving animal, I'd fucked up the shot. It was too late to even follow a blood trail. I backed off, drove home and called Savage. He said he'd meet me at my house at 8:00 am Monday, with his dog Bonnie. "It's a dead deer." he said confidently. "We just have to find it." I was not so confident. I knew from experience, that this was easier said than done, especially with no snow, coyotes and a bad shot. I would not get much sleep that night. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!


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