November 11, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I havenít spun any sob stories lately, so here goes. I saw the buck Iíve been waiting for all bow season last Wednesday evening.

It was one of those amazing evenings that make you think about excuses to go bow hunting every night.

I played hooky from work in the afternoon and got into the stand with a couple hours left to enjoy the evening.

I didnít even have enough time to empty my coat pockets, as while I was setting up my binoculars, calls, etc., I spotted a nice group of turkeys approaching. It was windy enough that I didnít hear themcoming.

There were several gobblers in the group, but a shot never presented itself. It did help me to spot a pair of does, which had also used the loud wind to sneak in on me.

The little eight-point buck that approached next did anything but sneak into the area. The aggressive male charged full steam into the feeding area of the two girls, showing off in every manor possible to try to begin a courtship.

Neither female seemed interested in the youngster. But his antics did not go totally unnoticed. My jaw drop nearly hit the ground below my 16-foot tall ladder stand when a giant buck came trotting into sight.

Unfortunately the rowdy little buck had separated the two does, and one ultimately ended up nearer the big guy. Fearing he might follow her away, I tried a grunt call to get his attention.

My strategy worked, too well. The big buck immediately turned his attention from his prospective girlfriend to the little trespasser in his territory. But the little guy had made his way quite close to my stand and his ears placed the grunt, correctly at the top of the tree, where he was now staring looking for a climbing competitor.

I wasnít busted, but I was unable to do anything as the big buck quickly lost interest and returned from where he came.

The little buck finally gave up on me and decided to try some new arrivals to our south. He quickly herded three new does together and had them right back in front of my stand.

The fresh targets not only drew in the eight-pointer, it brought back my big buck, so I thought.

This time I was not to be denied, as the nice 10-pointer followed one of the does down the trail toward my stand. I was drawn, waiting for him to present a better shot than the 25-yard pose he was giving as he walked toward me, somewhat quartered to reveal his right, front shoulder.

I was pleased with the chance, but I couldnít help but kick myself for initially thinking this was the buck of my life. Donít get me wrong, he was a nice 130 to 140 class deer, but the rack just wasnít nearly as wide or nearly as tall as I had envisioned.

As I was about to lose the arrow, I was relieved to learn that my rack senses werenít as bad as I was trying to convince myself. Thatís when the real big buck came back onto the scene, heading directly toward my shooting avenue.

So on past go the buck and his doe as I waited for the monster.

Needless to say, it didnít work out. He held up at about 50 yards and cautiously skirted my stand while making his presence known to the girls, who left the lesser men and wandered toward the king of the hill.

He put on a nice show, keeping my adrenaline shakes up for another 15 minutes or so as he stayed close, just not close enough. I never was tempted to take a shot. Iím not really confident of my long-distance accuracy, and I definitely didnít want to take a chance of just wounding this magnificent deer.

So, my dreams have been haunted by this chance sighting, and my days have been restless as I attempt to focus on work, or at least hurry up and get done in time for another hunt. So far Iíve been back in the woods just once, and the big one has eluded me. I suspect that the final few days before gun season will see me making plenty of excuses to leave the office early.

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