I still had about forty five minutes of legal time left, but practically only about fifteen minutes of shooting light for my eyes. Figuring it wasn't going to happen again today, I was getting careless. A doe came in and was nibbling turnip tops and I picked up the binos to scan the hill behind her for any bucks that might held up in the bush. Nothing. Just as I set them down my eyes caught the shape of a deer's ears, down hill from the doe and in the brush. My heart jumped, because , though I could not identify the buck, he had those big droopy ears that mature bucks have. And I'd been busted! He was fixated on my position. Slowly I could see antlers, but they were dark against the dark brush and fading light. I couldn't reach for the binoculars again because he was staring right at me. For a long time! I was hoping it was the big buck!
A few more minutes and I was really beginning to fear the worst. Either he would fade back into the creek gully or I'd run out of light. Then, finally, he gave that "it's all good" tail flick and moved right into my best shooting spot. Facing me dead on. The doe had moved off to my right and I could just see her hind legs. While the buck was moving up I'd grabbed my bow and sat ready. Again something twigged him and he did one of those jolting squats like he was loading up to flee. Now I'm really a mess! I'd been drawing my bow and settling my pin on quite a few deer over the past few days, to practice holding that pin steady, right where it belonged. I was convinced I'd be Cool Hand Luke when the time came, steady as a rock and an ice cold killer. Well, Luke left the shack at warp speed! Just sweaty, heart thumping me left to do the deed.
A few more minutes passed, with the real fear of running out of light. Then the buck started to turn, like there was something he didn't like. If he went to my left, I had a great opportunity and time one my side, but of course he turned right, same direction the doe had gone. I quickly drew my bow. I knew the distance was twenty seven yards and had had many trail runs placing my thirty yard pin low on other deer's chests. I'm one of those guys that can never recall my shot sequence after the arrow is gone. But in retrospect, in my panic, I'm sure I put my thirty pin in the center of his deep chest and let her rip.
He dropped just as I shot and the arrow spine'd him, knocking him to his knees as he was spinning to leave. I've never spine'd an animal before, but I've heard enough stories of guys that did and while they were "high five'ing" the deer gets up and sprints away. In the few seconds it took to nock another arrow the buck was struggling down hill, facing straight away, with his front up trying to get his back legs under him. I centered the pin just below his shoulders and hit dead center on his spine. That knocked him right down. I jumped out of the blind and sprinted to the gully! He was thrashing in the brush and I tried to get an arrow through to his chest, and that one hit a sapling and then hit his neck. The only clear path was the one he made, so I got behind him and down low and drove one length wise into his lungs. It was over in a few seconds then.
From first shot to death was likely about three minutes, but I used up a lot of anxiety.
I immediately texted my buddy and long time hunting partner and sent him a pic. And in true to form, he dropped everything and headed straight there. His headlamp came bobbing up the trail about 45 minutes later and we spent some time just admiring the buck. I'd tried to kill this buck last year but was unsuccessful and now I'm sure happy I didn't. We figure he put on over thirty five inches in length and especially mass.
My buck of a lifetime and a real monarch.
Thanks for following along. I followed a lot of the Live Hunts while in the blind and it was very entertaining, so this is paying it back.
And kudos to you as well for quickly finishing the job after your first shot. Drives me nuts when you see these guys celebrating after hitting one in the spine.
That was pretty awesome. Relax, fondle..... enjoy. Congrats again! Thanks for the exciting finish! That was the coolest live hunt in a long time......
Thanks for the play-by-play.
did you have the opportunity to weigh him?? The size of those things always amazes me....
You planned the work and then worked the plan...over a couple of years!!
What a buck!!!