Why It’s Called Hunting

Having done a lot of posts over the years, this perhaps, is my favorite.  There is a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety, coupled with some really bad luck, but since I’ve shot 2 really good bucks in the past 2 years, pictured below, it was a definite learning experience.  It paved the way for my excellent luck on bagging these monsters.
Since opening day of deer season, I had rattled up 2 bucks for my sons and had planned on getting a chance on another, for me, this afternoon.  Some times our plans can really get fouled up!

As I was leaving my house, the phone rang and a very close friend was calling from Houston just to check up on me.  Talking for a while I finally told him that I was on my way out to shoot “Bambi”, he laughed and said “Good luck.”

Quickly hanging up, the phone rang again and it was one of my daughters, Suzanne, calling from Paris, Texas, looking for her mom.  I couldn’t just brush her off, so we talked for a few minutes and finally I told her that I was on my way to hunt.  She said, “Isn’t it kinda’ late, but good luck anyway.”

Yes it was late, almost 5:00 PM, so I decided to hunt a special “hide” of mine, 10 yards off of a well used, deer trail and reluctantly decided not to take my rattlin’ horns with me.  No “rattling” this trip, but my “hide” was cut into a cedar tree and some buck brush, a very concealed spot and sneaking into it and pulling on my camo face cover, quietly chambering a round into my .270 and slipping my “grunt” caller over my head, I’m ready for the deer, I thought.

Not two minutes later, looking down the trail, a doe was running, about half speed, toward me followed by a beautiful, big, 10 point buck, with tall horns at least 6 inches past his ears, a 20 inch spread for sure!  Boy, am I ready for him, I thought.  The doe flashed by and I could hear her hooves pounding (or was that my heart) as I raised my rifle with my left hand and tried to slide my “grunt” caller under my face, mask.  When I “grunted” he will stop in his tracks and he is mine, but, the caller was tangled in the mask and as I tried to blow into it, nothing happened and the buck, nostrils flared and mouth half open, as if in a mocking smile, flashed past me, and both deer turned into the brush.

Deflated, but I told myself, “Wow!  What a sight!”  Not to be outsmarted by the deer and finally untangling my caller from my face mask (I was very frustrated now), I blew a defiant challenge call to the, apparently, long gone buck, “Grunt, Grunt, Grnt, grnt, grnt, grnt.”  Barely a minute later, looking down the trail, here came the buck trotting back looking for this unseen adversary.  Now, he was more interested in fighting.  I’ve got him, I thought.

Facing me, a large cedar tree blocked out a portion of the trail, and my mind, in overdrive, quickly calculated he would clear the right side of the tree, and I shouldered my rifle and prepared for the killing shot.  Waiting, for what seemed like an hour, no buck.  I cut my eyes away from the scope and looked to the left of the tree and there stood the buck, not 15 yards from me, behind a knarly, dead mesquite.

Moving my rifle slowly, ever so slowly, from the right side to the left side of the cedar tree and moving the safety to “fire”, I saw there was no killing shot available.  Maybe a head shot, but I choose not to as the buck wheeled and moved off, masking me with the cedar tree.  I don’t even know where my grunt caller was, I guess, still around my neck, so instead of fumbling with it again, and my “store” teeth prohibiting me a whistle, I yelled “HEY!”   The buck didn’t even acknowledge me, no stride breaking, no tail flashing indignantly toward me, just trotted back, after the doe, into the thick stuff.

Thinking to myself, well Jon, you really blew this one.  The buck has marked me at this spot, so I eased out of my hide and began slipping toward a new spot about 300 yards away.

After slowly moving about 50 yards and rounding a curve in the trail, all the while looking through the heavy cover, I spotted my adversary again, watching me from behind a mesquite that hadn’t yet shed its leaves.  The buck was approximately 75 yards away and slowly moving my rifle to my shoulder and sliding off the safety, he was in the cross hairs, along with several mesquite limbs.  My mind racing, can this 115 grain bullet traveling at over 3,100 FPS, break through the brush and score a killing hit, or will it be deflected? Should I shoot?  Not taking the chance of wounding and loosing this fine buck, I lowered my rifle and he turned and walked back into the thick stuff.

Walking back to my Jeep, my thoughts were a jumble.  I really screwed up a good opportunity to bag a trophy, and, on the other hand, I choose to pass on a marginal shot.  There will be another time for both of us.  In spite of my earlier well, wishers, my luck wasn’t good this hunt, I got beat real bad!