Wednesday, December 11, 2013


 I almost didn't go out. But with fresh snow from yesterday and clear skies, I forced myself. I got in the tree a little late- about 6:45 am. It was 15 degrees with a brisk WSW wind and you could see clearly into the bowl, covered in snow. Even with two layers of long johns, pants, jackets, overalls, face mask and gloves, I was freezing my ass off. Nothing was moving except a red and grey squirrel and my tree stand in the wind. Last night I had been so discouraged and beaten down by the season, that I was losing touch of just what this is all about. Like any addiction, deer hunting can turn overwhelming if you let it. Moderation in all things....even moderation. By 9:15 I was chilled to the bone. Hoisting the gun rope, I tied it to the sling and was about to lower it, when I thought better. Last week I had lowered the gun without checking my back and busted a doe creeping in. I turned my neck. Nothing. Then, as I tipped the gun muzzle to the ground I spotted brown 200 yards below me in the bowl. I untied the gun.
   A small deer fed it's way towards me, then all of the sudden ran. Could there be a buck chasing it? Could it be a hot doe? By the time it was below my stand I was disappointed to see two spike horns. Still, it was a good sign to see even a small buck on it's feet. I settled back into my cold torture. A half an hour later with no other movement and I was once again ready to call it. I repeated the process and this time didn't even get the rope up before I saw movement about in the same spot where I saw the spike. Alright. I guess I was staying. For about 20 minutes I watched a doe feed in the bowl. I'd lose sight of her, then see a leg or her ass. I told myself if she got close enough, and was a good sized doe, I would take her. Forget hunting the big one. It was too cold.
   Years ago i made the mistake of paying too much attention to a deer too far for a shot, and missing one coming in behind me. I don't always repeat my mistakes. Absentmindedly I looked to my left and saw the neck of deer feeding on the side of the logging road. I pulled up the scope and saw horns.....big horns. I had no shot. Slowly I stood up and raised the gun. It was the deer I had been hunting all season, not 10 yards from the broken tree rub. I didn't dare take a neck shot. His vitals were behind two big trees. If he turned I had him. But if he continued in the direction he was heading I only had one small opening for a shot. One step was perfect. Two steps and he would be gone. I was shaking from the cold and adrenalin. I tried to breath and fogged the scope. By the time I lowered the gun and cleared the lens I had lost him. Had he kept going?  Oh my God! Had I just let this buck slip by? Then I caught sight of a tip of antler. He was still feeding. Phew! The wind was in my face. He didn't know I was there.
   It seemed like 15, but I'm sure it was no longer than 5 minutes before he moved forward. I settled the cross hairs behind his shoulder and fired. All I saw was smoke. Then I saw him turn and stumble. Was he going down? No. In a flash he bolted down into the bowl. I tried to calm myself enough to reload the muzzleloader. It was no easy task. In fact I couldn't get the bullet down the barrel. If he was still alive and I jumped him I'd be holding nothing but my dick in my hand. I had to chance it. I climbed down. Slowly I moved to the spot where I thought he was standing. The leaves were scuffed up, but I couldn't find blood. Could I have missed this deer? I widened the circle and on a leaf I saw red. Then a big spray in the snow brightened my day. My heart lifted. I followed the tracks and red streaks of blood down the hill until I saw brown back and a beautiful, high, 8 point rack.

I thanked that deer, God, and the Little Green Man for allowing me to be so privileged as to hunt one deer for an entire season and kill it with one clean shot. You have no idea the joy and sense of accomplishment this brings. I gutted it out, got a hold of Pigpen and DD's ATV, and drove that deer out of the woods in style. I want to thank PP, all the folks at Majestic, Shewho and all my friends and family who choose not to intervene in my addiction. I don't think I can get any higher. I am one happy man.



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