Everyone learns, at one point or another, to stay calm and be patient. These qualities come easily and quickly in life to some people, but it takes years for these qualities to develop in other people. Most parents try to teach their children these attributes at a young age by not giving the children anything and everything they want. It teaches the children to stay calm and be patient, both of which are important life skills. Let me tell you the story of an experience of mine that showed me the importance of calmness and patience.
For years my passion in life has been bowhunting whitetail deer. The rush of tenaciously trying to outsmart and ambush a mature, wise buck is what I live for. Stepping onto his turf and beating him at his own game of survival is quite the challenge. I’ve managed to progressively outsmart older, wiser, and bigger bucks every year, but I have yet to take a true monarch of a deer.
Last season I hunted a lot. I hunted countless hours .Every weekend I would leave my house, go to the woods, get settled into a treestand before daylight, and often sit almost 20 feet up a tree for over 10 hours. Every minute of daylight that passed, I was in the tree patiently waiting for my one chance. I had numerous opportunities at young deer, but I consistently waited for an older buck. Throughout the early stages of the season, I did see and come close to shooting a few nice bucks, but the pieces of the puzzle did not fit. I was never able to send an arrow.
On November 5, 2012, I headed out with plans to hunt from daylight to dark. I got settled in just as the sun began peeking over the hills. It was a calm, crisp morning. All of a sudden I hear leaves crunching behind me, and the sound is getting closer. At only 15 feet away from the base of my tree, an eight-point buck appears. As I examine him though, he appears to be an immature deer. I decide to let him walk by and not shoot.
The next two hours were filled with the enjoyment of watching wildlife interact around me. I witnessed several does, a few more young bucks, and many squirrels. I also had the privilege of witnessing a red-tailed hawk swoop down and talon a chipmunk off of a fallen tree. The hawk needed to kill the chipmunk to eat. The hawk needed to eat to survive. It was a beautiful sight.
As time continued, nine-o’clock a.m. came. I hear a twig snap behind me, and it was close. My mind started racing as to what it could be. I figured it was most likely a young deer or squirrel since I typically don’t see many older deer at this time. Yet I dare not turn around to see what it was and give my position away. I sat motionless. I strained to hear every sound I could. Finally, a shape appeared in the corner of my peripheral vision. It stopped. Within five seconds it continued walking, and at this point I knew it was a deer. As the deer walked behind an old poplar tree, I turned my head towards it.
As the deer emerged from behind the tree, my eyes grew big and my heart began pumping faster. It was the deer I had been waiting for all season. It was an old, wise, magnificent ten-point buck, standing just 30 feet away from me. He stood there, with his beautiful rack atop his head and his breath steaming from his nose in the freezing temperature. The adrenaline filling my body was remarkable. The buck started to walk, and I anxiously drew my bow back to execute the shot I have been waiting for.
At that exact moment, the buck saw my movement. I was busted. He wasted no time to see what I was, he just ran. Weeks of preparation were poured down the drain. The emotions I felt at that point were strong, and not happy. I was devastated, yet I still had a smile on my face. The rush of having that deer so close, knowing I had outsmarted him to a certain extent, was absolutely amazing. I decided to learn from my mistakes and stay persistent with my hunting.
The next day I went hunting after school. This time I was with my grandpap, who is who introduced me to deer hunting. We have a special bond between us. We’ve always hunted and fished together, and I couldn’t ask for a better role model. He took me out that day, and we got into our treestand around three-thirty p.m. We only had two hours to hunt, for it got dark around five-thirty.
After two hours, we had only seen one young doe. It was nearing five-thirty, and we were pondering leaving. Then, I saw a deer about one hundred yards away. It was coming towards us. As the deer got close enough for me to see what it was, I saw that it was a mature buck. My heart started pounding. The buck came in behind us. It closed the distance all the way to a mere eighteen yards. I drew my bow back, settled the pin, and released my arrow.
It was a perfect shot. My grandpap and I hugged and said we love each other. We began packing up our things, and then we climbed down to the ground. I rushed to where I saw the buck expire, and I recovered him. He was the biggest buck I had ever shot with my bow and by far the oldest. His body was massive, and he sported a beautiful, dark-colored rack.
My emotions came over me like a tsunami. My grandpap and I were both ecstatic. It was, and still is, one of the best moments I’ve ever experienced. My hard work and persistence finally paid off. I remained calm and patient throughout the season, and especially at the moment of truth. I have no doubt that staying calm, and being patient, was the single most important factor of taking this buck and sharing such a great moment with my grandpap.
Would love to see a pic with you and the deer.
Bowfisher: I have seen your words grow in maturity the last few years and could not be happier for you. You are wise beyond your years. What a great experience you shared with your Granpa! Have a safe season and enjoy the "view from above"!! C
Please show us a photo.
Does bowfisher still post on here?