ARTICLE: MY SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE HUNTS – SHOWING THEM HOW IT’S DONE
It’s been awhile since I shared a tale of my great hunting prowess and it’s going to be awhile still. As I sat cooling off the other day from enjoying my favorite summer time hobby, cutting the grass, my thoughts turned to the upcoming hunting season and then to last season’s failures. There were a couple but for this story we’ll focus on just one that occurred during the first weekend of firearm season.
Opening morning saw me, and nephews Tim and Chris in our stands scattered across my property. Tim in Death Valley, Chris at Sleepy Hollow and me in the Permanent Stand. We were all pumped at the chance to take one of the many bucks that had been photographed on the trail cams that fall.
After a few hours I heard Chris shoot and immediately went on alert as his stand isn’t far from mine and there was a chance that if there were more than one they might end up in front of me giving me a chance. Confirming via text that he had shot I waited to hear the results.
After 15 minutes or so he finally texted that he had missed the deer. The doe got away clean to taunt us another time.
The stand I hunt is at the crossroads of many trails. Deer can come from every direction so you have to be constantly scanning the area. I had been looking left then scanned right then back again and, Bam! there was big 8 pointer standing at the edge of the field twenty yards away about to cross a narrow opening in the field. He wasn’t in a hurry, just strolling along.
There wasn’t much time. By the time I got my gun up and got into position he had strode across the opening and behind a bush. He was going to cross into a small window that would give me one chance at a clean shot.
But he had different plans. As he entered the opening I used the tried and true “Mah” on him. He strolled on.
I grabbed my “Can” call and hit it. No response. I then hit him with the grunt call. Still no reaction. He was on a mission and nothing I did was going to stop him. Personally I think he was so old he was hard of hearing and forgot to change his batteries in his hearing-aid that morning.
I watched the buck as he circled around me, jumped the fence and disappear into the undergrowth.
I wasn’t too down. After all it was only opening day and there was a lot of time for another buck to come into range. I settled back into my vigilant watch.
Sometime later I heard a shot from Tim’s direction.
Texting him he confirmed that he had shot and just like Chris, missed.
Of course I started laying it on the boys then.
“Can’t hit the broadside of a barn”.
“You guys couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat”.
“Guess it’s up to me to put some meat on the pole. I gotta do everything.”
I could say all of this because I hadn’t shot and missed and reminded them of it at lunch.
The afternoon was pretty uneventful until 4:20.
I spied a deer working its way up the edge of the field to my right. It grazed along at a casual pace as a grabbed my binoculars to look it over to see exactly what I was about to shoot. Was it a doe or button buck?
Through the limbs that partially blocked my view it finally gave me a good view and determined it was a doe. Good. “Doe, it’s on the pole.” Now I just had to wait for a clear shot.
Several minutes went by as it got closer and closer.
I put the crosshairs of the scope on it many times but the view was always partially blocked by limbs.
She finally turned right and starting crossing the field at about 25 yards. Perfect set-up! I still needed to wait until she cleared the limbs.
“I’m going to show them boys how it’s done. Yes sireee. Meat on the pole!”
She kept working her way into the open and I put the gun to my shoulder.
“Gonna be big man in camp tonight. Only one to get a deer.”
I placed the crosshairs on the sweet spot, went “mah” and just as I squeezed the trigger with thoughts of “showing the boys how you do it” a sudden “what’s that blurry thing in the scope?” hit my brain.
The doe jumped straight up at the sound of the shot and took off running across the field, into the trees and out of sight. Her tail was down, then up, then kind of neutral.
I was sure I had hit her and she was balled up over in the brush.
I texted the boys, “scratch one slick-head”. I almost hurt my arm patting myself on the back.
With it starting to get late and not wanting to track and dress her in the dark I grabbed my cleaning bag containing my knife, gloves and accessories and got down out the stand.
I crossed the spot in the field where she had been standing on my way to the other side and saw no blood.
Getting to the spot where she had entered the brush I still saw no blood.
After a 15 minute search no blood or deer had been found. It had been a clean miss.
Getting back into my stand as there was still a little shooting time left I started replaying the chain of events in my head.
“She had jumped straight up when I shot. That means I shot under her. That means the blurry thing in the scope was a limb obstructing the view."
My “for sure, meat on the pole, big man in camp” shot had hit a limb and deflected under the doe causing her subsequent exit out of my life and with it my bragging rights.
I had to eat a little crow that evening for giving the fellows so much “business” for missing. It was all in good fun. That’s one of the great things about deer camp, all of the b-s.
Chris got to be “big man in camp” as he redeemed himself by taking a doe at the same time I was searching for my deer. The shot had really startled me as they all do when everything is quiet and you’re not expecting it.
I came through the next afternoon by taking a button buck. (don’t judge me.) Tim got on the score board with a doe and Chris took a small buck with a messed up rack. Brother-in-law Tommy scored a doe over on his place so at least we all had some meat for the freezer.
I’m starting to get excited about the upcoming season. My friend Steve invited me come down and bow hunt his property in Missouri this fall giving me a new place for another chapter in my ongoing saga I call, “My Series of Unfortunate Hunts”. I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, Jim Bob.