Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Opening Day Buck and The Lessons Learned (Part 1)

Physically and mentally exhausted from over two days and 12 hours of searching, Sunday afternoon at approximately 12:00 pm, I came to the painful conclusion that I was not going to find my deer. Heavy rains on Saturday evening, faded blood trail and a thickly overgrown alder bog were all impediments that gnawed at my quickly dwindling options.

An animal wounded, in agony and slowly dying or being eaten alive by coyotes is a thought that weighs heavy on a hunters soul. My family and friends tried to console me with tales of deer that were shot and survived but it does little for my mindset. Instead, I replay the event over and over in my mind, like the annoying skipping of a CD player, trying to determine what went wrong.

I had been hunting a favorite spot that over the years had produced many deer. The highly elevated stand made shot placement an easy task and most ranges were 50-100 yards, very capably ranges for the 180-grain hurling .30-06 Springfield. Unfortunately, on this particularly morning an uncooperative ungulate decided to play by a different set of rules. At 9:30 AM my growling stomach had planning my departure from the tree stand and by 9:35 AM I had my climber on the ground and was busily picking up my last bottle of doe scent when I heard a loud crunching coming up through the woods. At 9:37 AM I realized that the crunching was not a hunter, as I had originally expected, but instead a spike horn. Surprised at the sight, after all of the noise my bargain basement climber makes, I slowly raised my rifle and waited until the small buck cleared the underbrush. Settling my sight on the forward shoulder, I squeezed the trigger until . . . a very loud KABOOM echoed forth from my Browning semiautomatic. Shocked I watched what appeared to be a very healthy deer bounce through the hardwoods and disappear into the woods.

The story continues Thursday November 18th . . . 


  1. I feel for ya. It is the WORST part of hunting. The second guessing will gnaw at you for a while.

    The upside is what we learn a lot about ourselves, our preparation, our technique and our equipment. We re-evaluate, our mettle is further refined and the temper improved.

    In nature nothing makes it out alive. Typically the end is not quick. Starving, freezing or being preyed upon is the harsh reality. We've all seen the remains of winter killed critters as the snow melts. From their deaths Bears, Coyotes and Ravens draw sustenance, nothing is wasted, the cycle goes on and on.

    I know you aren't looking for justification or and excuse, but I hope that sting you feel in your heart will soon diminish. You did everything right and sometimes it still doesn't work out.

    Your sharing this experience may also benefit those with less experience. Thanks for that.

  2. 12 hours over two days is a heck of commitment to the animal and deserved. No words make it easier or skipping CD to stop. Only time will help.

    MO said it best "nothing is wasted, the cycle goes on and on." Still hard for us hunters to accept but it is true and taking some relief in knowing that nothing was wasted helps a smidgen.

    Hang in there.

    Even though it is difficult to share, thanks for sharing.

    Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

  3. Mo and PitO . . . thanks a lot for taking the time to share. My apologies for taking so long to respond!

    It was a tough time but as Mo said the cycle goes on.

    Thanks again!


Thanks for posting a comment. Your thoughts and suggestions are much appreciated!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...