Thursday, November 11, 2010
My Favorite Deer Hunting Story
Then, things got exciting. I heard the loud crunching of leaves directly behind me, and the sound was getting louder by the second, until whatever it was making the noise had to be less than twenty feet behind me. I slowly - very slowly! - turned my head to take a peek, being careful to use the large tree trunk to shield my movement. I was hoping to see a big buck coming right for me, but instead, it was my uncle! I couldn't believe my eyes. I hadn't looked at my watch in a while, but I knew it wasn't anywhere near lunch time yet, and my uncle, dedicated hunter that he is, never leaves his blind before noon on opening day.
"What the heck are you doing, Art?" I asked. "I've spent the whole damn morning trying to find a place to hunt! Everywhere I've gone, another hunter was there. They're everywhere!" He wasn't having a very good morning, to say the least. "That's strange," I said, "I haven't seen any other hunters over here, but I have seen a bunch of deer this morning." He went on to say that he was going to try to find a spot over by the swamp and he figured he'd stop by and see how I was doing.
I looked at my watch. It was a little after ten, far too early to be taking a break on Opening Day. But, given the interruption, I climbed down out of my tree and sat down with my uncle. We had a cup of hot chocolate together and snacked on some cookies, and were laughing and carrying on, when all of a sudden, we hear this crashing coming right at us from behind the hill where we were sitting. We both turned and looked, and here came this beautiful 8-point buck right at us. The rack on this guy was spectacular - huge spread, long tines, and perfectly symmetrical. When the buck noticed us, he stopped and stared us down. He was less than twenty feet from us. The dilemma: We're both holding cookies and cups of hot chocolate in our hands. My rifle is laying on the ground behind me; my uncle's is perched against a tree about five feet from where he was sitting. Simultaneously, we both looked at each other in amazement at what we were witnessing. The buck just stood there, glaring at us. Then, he started snorting and stomping his front hooves. He was one ticked off deer! We thought he was going to charge us. In all our years of hunting, neither of us had ever seen anything like this.
But, the buck didn't charge us. Instead, he snorted one last time and starting stomping down the runway around us, never taking his gaze away from us. He was moving rather slowly, so I slowly began to put down the cookie and cup I was holding in my hands and reached for my rifle behind me. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably less than ten seconds or so, I finally had my rifle in position and was ready to take aim, but as soon as I brought it up to get the shot, the buck sprinted into the swamp. I took the shot anyway, but missed. What a bummer! This was a beautiful buck - a trophy! To make matters worse, about a minute after the buck disappeared from our sight, we heard a shot. Less than a minute after that shot, we heard a guy celebrating back in the swamp. He had obviously taken this beauty down.
My uncle and I sat there on that hill still shocked and amazed at what we had witnessed. That buck was visibly angry that we were in his way, and he wasn't going to let us prevent him from getting to the swamp. After the shock and awe began to subside, I turned to my uncle and said, "You idiot! That buck would have been mine had you not come over here and ruined my hunt!" His response: "What do you mean? I lured that big guy over here for ya!" As we were discussing this, laughing and carrying on, we heard some movement to the south of us. This time we were both ready for whatever would appear over the hill. But, it weren't no deer this time. It was my dad.
"Did you get him?" he asked, excitedly. I said, "Nope!" "Wow," my dad said, "that was one beautiful buck, wasn't it?" "Why, did you see him?" I asked. "Yeah, about ten minutes before I heard you shoot, he was standing no less than ten feet from me." "Well, what happened? Why didn't you shoot him?" I asked. "Because I was taking a leak at the time. I had to pee all morning, but held it as long as I could, especially with all the activity going on. Did you see all those deer earlier between us?" "Yeah," I said, "they were putting on quite the show for us this morning." "Anyway," he continued, "I couldn't hold it anymore, so I finally stood up, headed over to the base of the hill by my blind, and started to pee. And, as soon as it started flowing, that 8-point beauty came running down the hill right at me. He literally got to within ten feet of my blind before he noticed me. But, when he saw me, he stopped, turned around, bolted back up the hill, and started heading your way. I was hoping that he'd try to head for the swamp over by you, and when I heard you shoot, I was sure you bagged him. What happened?"
Art and I told him our story, and my dad got a huge kick out of it, although we were all greatly disappointed that this big guy had eluded us. Later in the day, we met the guy who had bagged this buck, and as he lifted up this big buck's head, the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm having this fella mounted!" I think we all said in unison, "Whatever, dude!" :)