Last week, I started relating a thrilling encounter that I had with a big buck while bowhunting a couple of weeks ago. If you recall, I discovered that I had rattled in a big buck after climbing down from my tree stand. The bruiser had raked around on the brush with his antlers and then pawed the ground after coming to within twenty yards of me. Now, he was swinging around me and eventually would be downwind where his nose would ultimately tell him that instead of a pair of battling bucks, there was a human hiding in the brush. Once I was made, he would flee or charge! Not that bucks are in the habit of charging people so please don't get that notion or fear, but during the rut, with light beginning to fade and a head filled with the idea that there are rival bucks in the immediate vicinity any movement could trigger that response.
I watched as his form passed through the underbrush. When his view was blocked by a tree, I drew my bow. Still on one knee, I watched at full draw as he approached a clearing in the thick stuff. He was going to pass through this clearing affording the shot I desired. He wasn't moving quickly, should I stop him by making a grunt sound with my mouth and risk being busted? These and many more thoughts and questions were flashing through my mind during the very few seconds that all this was happening.
Then he was there. He was walking into the open shooting area that I needed. Ears laid back. All the hairs on his body bristled in another way to show aggression and dominance. His entire form appeared darker as a result of this hair bristling - which also made him seem larger. I released the arrow and watched as the buck bolted and quickly disappeared into the brush. A thousand questions and emotions go through your head in the next few moments after an experience like this. He seemed so large and he should, he was no more than 12 yards away. Was the shot placement good? Everything about the shot seemed good and the crashing sounds soon afterward confirmed it.
Well, I am proud to report that on Tuesday, November 15 at approximately 5:00 PM I filled my tag with the largest scoring buck that I have had the privilege to take. Each of the three biggest racked deer that I have harvested has their own unique story. Likewise, each holds a special place in my deer hunting memories. Actually, each deer small or large, buck or doe have a unique story and fondness in my heart. That's how it should be.