I'm not feeling real wordy, so this won't be a novella. I have always said that anytime I have a close encounter with a game animal one of us will end up unlucky. Because I hunt with a longbow and can't kill anything (except Dixie cups) past 25 yards, I'm almost always unlucky when some gorgeous antlered thing saunters into my life. It's normal and I'm so used to it that it doesn't bother me. I don't waste time bemoaning the 160 which trotted by at 30 yards and ignored my grunt call. Who cares if a jumbo doe catches me turning my head at 80 yards...right? If I beat myself up over lost opportunities I'd be nothing but bruises until after Thanksgiving.
But anyway....occasionally I win one. It's nice when the longbow thumps and meat or taxidermy follows. I can't complain. I've probably been luckier than I realize. After all...and in defiance of all the laws of luck...I shot the two biggest whitetails of my life on Friday the 13th. That was back in another decade, and I've never written the story. Maybe I'll do it someday, but not this day.
Here it is 2020 and NOTHING is normal in my life. I can't even get in a vehicle without my wife hosing me with hand sanitizer. I can't trust the news anymore about anything. I don't have an orifice someone in the medical field isn't wanting to swab, probe, scope or eyeball. But at least I can still hunt....here on our farm....without worrying about the world's issues. And I've been hunting. Popped a nice unlucky mama doe back in October and made venison. Hallelujah. Age being the advantage it is, I've stayed away from my best rut stands....saving them for Halloween and beyond.
So here I am on the 12th of November and this 160ish 10 point gallops past my stand chasing a doe. Rats...no shot. And he didn't come back. And you know how it goes with really big bucks. You're fortunate if you get one really good opportunity per season. But no disappointment in my mind. It's a good day just to see one of those ghosts. I'm excited and it's gonna be a great evening. And so it was....even if luck had little to say.
It was a five hour return drive back to Colorado and home and during that drive time, I listened to a few books on tape and did some Transcendental meditation. All was good by the time I got home and so far I am at peace with myself. I turned the unlucky issues into "better luck next time" issues.
I am sure you will also have better luck next time if you take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and of course listen to your wife as she has your best interests in mind and that is a lucky thing. Peace of mind is important.
my best, Paul
I'd seen 5 bucks that morning and the chase was ON. Bucks oinking and does running helter skelter trying to elude them. I couldn't wait for evening. The leaves had dried and if there had been a deer within a hundred yards of me I could've heard them walking. And of course I left the woods wearing a white stripe. Skunked. On an evening you'd bet money the deer would climb the tree just to sit with you. But dinner was good and I had zero complaints. There was tomorrow and with all the action I'd seen today I figured it might be a good morning.
When I woke up it was 34 degrees and foggy. Everything was dripping....not what I wanted for conditions.
Another buck was to the west but not in view. I stayed quiet and he came walking. My first reaction was 'no-brainer'....then...'mass'...'beams'...'great points'. Coming dead-on and the longbow was wanting to flex. At 20 yards he cleared the limbs and I was tracking him for the shot. Suddenly he veered outward and absolutely looked to be headed away. I knuckled down and started the draw....then something told me 'no'...'don't'. Several more steps and unaccountably he turned left and it was then that I began chilling down for the impending shot. He would walk broadside in the open at 8-9 yards and I had this.
Almost straight in front of me and perfectly broadside, I came to a smooth full draw. I was just about to hit solid anchor when luck decided to get involved. The buck did a sort of funny sidestep and left turn...slightly toward me. My thinking brain began to say 'stop the shot' but my anchor was tight and my fingers relaxed before any conscious thought could stop them. I probably moved the bow in that last instant, correcting for the deer's track. The arrow flew clean and crunched into the buck's back, getting some penetration from the heavy head. He went straight down to the leaves and didn't move. I knew enough to not trust the hit I'd just made, and so I delivered a coup de grace from the stand. It was over.
Later that day my wife was congratulating me and suddenly said something I'd completely ignored....
“Friday the 13th is just your lucky day!”
And you know...I'm not arguing with her on that. I'll take it.
Appreciate the comments. Just wanted to toss a little entertainment in here. I mean .... it’s always funny when I manage to shoot something nice!
Your tales of the hunt's are top notch !
My reality isn't that I feel unlucky (as a hunter) at all. Rather, it's just that I recognize that luck...if it even exists...tends to be fickle and in favor of those great animals we pursue. Being that I'm a 'really close or go home' longbow guy, I'm used to coming up short the majority of times. When it does work out for me, I can't help but feel lucky. I sure as hell can't blame it on talent!
Steve...great observation. This dude had plenty of bark shreds and grit in his beads and all through the forehead hair. He'd been rubbing aggressively. Like you, I figure he was a sideways rub-er. Those beam tips don't leave a lot of space.
Plenty of good guys here who hunt their guts out, and know what it's like to win big. I hope you all find luck and success again....soon. Until then....see you in the woods.
Congrats on a beautiful buck. Things are interesting these days but life is good.. enjoy it.