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Antler Eater Tips One Over

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Antler Eater Tips One Over

Old 11-14-2008, 01:57 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Antler Eater Tips One Over

The forecast was for rain, possibly heavy. It didn’t matter, bucks were chasing and as long as it wasn’t coming down in sheets my plan was to sit. Nothing new about this program, it is an annual event that reaches back in my past where a portion of every day available is given to this plan. My son calls it the power of the sit. Although the number of deer that have fallen to my arrows is into triple digits I have never considered myself a whitetail wizard. At least half of being successful is being out there. I can’t control what walks by, but the one thing I can control is being in the stand if they do.

So on this particular morning after hunting for a good part of thirty five consecutive days sitting through unseasonable heat, cold, a five inch rain storm, relentless winds, and watching 120 deer go by (about 30 of which were bucks), my luck was about to change in an unexpected way….

In the distance I see a deer go through an opening; the binoculars confirm it is an antlerless deer, my guess a fawn. About that time my phone begins to vibrate, I check out the number and it turns out to be my Mother. She lives over 200 miles away from me and I don’t get a chance to talk to her everyday so I don’t ignore her calls if I can help it. When I answered she asked me if I was at work; I chuckled and told her I was sitting in a tree.

We were talking about the outcome of the election when I first saw him. Even though the distance between he and I was considerable, it wasn’t hard to see he was a keeper. When his progress in my direction stopped I saw her. My heart sank as she took off the opposite direction. I pulled out the grunt tube hoping to coax him closer. By his reaction to the sound there was no doubt he heard my calls but the urge that was raging within was stronger than his desire to explore for a phantom grunt and he retreated in the direction of the unwilling doe.

All of this went on while my mother was on the line. The funny part is though she has never been bow hunting in her life she knew what was going on. She said she was going to get off the line so she wouldn’t mess things up but I assured her in my infinite wisdom that the buck would not be back anyway because he had chased the doe out of sight in the opposite direction. Shortly thereafter our conversation ended and I went back to thinking about what I just saw and what might have been. It wasn’t five minutes later that I see the same buck heading my direction along the same trail he was previously on. This time he was alone.

His mouth was open and he was panting incessantly as he made his way down that fateful path, unknowingly moving ever closer to our impromptu meeting. This buck’s headgear was impressive with mass and width. He acted like he knew it too as his head swung in a side to side fashion, accenting a swollen muscular neck with each deliberate step he put down on the forest floor. Where had this old warrior’s journey taken him over the last four or five years? Where did he come from? Where did he intend to go from here? I didn’t know the answer to any of those questions; the only thing I knew in those fleeting moments is where I wanted his journey to end.

For reasons only an ungulate would know he suddenly quickened his pace; he was trotting now and in a precious few seconds he would be entering my “red zone”---I would be ready! The path he was on would present me with a thirty yard broadside shot. What I didn’t know was that the path split just before it got to my shooting lane, a faint trail went down a shallow draw and back up forty yards away, and the other went around the draw which was the thirty yard shot I was counting on. I’m not saying this guy was a Robert Frost fan, but he definitely chose the road less traveled and it did make all the difference.

When I saw he would be forty yards (measured) away I wasn’t happy about it but I am thoroughly prepared, unshaken, and without question can make the shot. In some areas I hunt out west this same scenario would not be unusual.

As he enters a generous shooting lane without thinking the string comes back, the shooting position is assumed, and I endeavor to stop him…Maaa…no reaction…I try again-louder Maaa…He can’t hear me. A pang of panic pierces my emotional radar as I feel this encounter suddenly slipping away. A “hail Mary” bawl bellows out of my mouth MAAA!!! ....Our worlds have suddenly collided! He locks up all fours, slams to a halt and in doing so he slides across soft soil pushing up leaves in front of his hooves. He jerks his head around glaring in my direction like a seasoned pointer on a quail. I have his attention and he has mine.

It is as if time has stood still on this acre of earth for this occasion. In my universe at this instant there is only he and I. A contest of predator versus prey in a dual that is older than mankind itself. The many hours of practice with my weapon, the enormous amount of work in locating, lugging in equipment, and erecting stand sites. The immense toil of cutting, trimming, and clearing shooting lanes, contending with poison ivy, battling ticks, fighting mosquitoes, dealing with sore muscles that cramp you into nausea, and finally spending more time in a tree than Tarzan ever thought of are all just stepping stones in a journey that has led me to this juncture in time and space. I am ready to put the final smack down on a buck of my choosing! The moment of truth is at hand….

I do however have one final hurdle to get over to collect my prize. It took me so long to get the buck stopped that he was no longer in the middle of my shooting lane. Roughly one third of the way to the deer there was a couple of small branches hanging high from the side of a tree; most would refer to them as twigs. They almost formed a circle which covered the top and the bottom of the rib cage. A glance at the twenty and thirty yard pins indicated to me that I had enough clearance to get through the “hole”. With the pin settled, I “squeezed” my shoulder blades together and the Slick Trick tipped shaft was gone….


I would like to say the arrow found its mark and I watched the buck whirl away and fall within eyesight. More often than not that is the norm. In this case however there was another culprit at work that I failed to take into consideration. More on that in a moment.

I watched mortified as the buck turned and ran away with the arrow sticking out of his neck.[/i] What made it so unusual however was that the arrow was not sticking out 90 degrees from the body of the deer as one would expect from a broadside shot gone awry. It was perpendicular to his body. (Like the horn of a unicorn except it wasn’t coming out of his head.) When he made his turn it hid the arrow from view. I saw no blood coming from the wound.

He ran about 70 yards turned up the hill and stopped to look back. When he did I could see the nock end of the shaft pointing forward. Again at that distance there was no visible blood falling from the wound. When he was satisfied looking around he literally walked[/i] up the hill and out of sight as if there was nothing wrong.

I thought I was going to puke! I was sick and upset with myself because what I felt was a sure thing had turned into something very questionable. The best I could come up with was that I hit him too far forward in between the neck and the shoulder. He didn’t stand long enough to get the binos on him and when he walked up the hill the arrow was hidden from view. I sat for almost an hour replaying the scenario in my mind. I wondered out loud about the possibility of a good blood trail but I had my doubts because I didn’t see any blood on the animal from my vantage point. My doubts however were about to be put to rest….

Coming down the hill were a pair of young coyotes. When the lead dog hit the spot where the buck stood his nose was to the ground a long time. The question in my mind concerning a blood trail was answered. They began to work the trail backwards. I watched them follow the exact path that the buck took when he fled. It would lead them to the spot where impact occurred. When the front coyote hit my shooting lane my bow was drawn and ready. A flex of the back muscles, a surprise release, and ….THERE IT WAS!!! My arrow fish tailed (and hit just under the coyote)! A cross wind, of course, what an idiot I am I thought! I didn’t feel it because I was tucked in behind the hill. It caused the arrow to fish tail thus preventing my shaft from getting complete clearance through the hole in the branches and I got a ricochet effect.

I was happy to know what happened but still sick about the outcome. Now there was work to be done and I was afraid the next couple of days might be spent searching. When my boots hit the ground I was relieved with what I found-there was an ample blood trail. Except for one spot where he doubled back I could have ran and still followed the crimson stained path.

He went a couple of hundred yards, laid down and expired with my undamaged arrow still protruding from his neck just behind his jaw line about even with his mouth. Rigor mortise had set in by the time I found him so he expired soon after the shot. The arrow had sunk deep in his neck lengthwise; that is why when he turned I couldn’t see the shaft due to it being buried so far.

It was a great relief to know that this buck did not suffer as a result of my misjudgment. Rare it is that I have a lucky miss. But you know what they say….”Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.” In this case I will take lucky.

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Old 11-14-2008, 02:07 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

Great story Budski. I was worried as it did not sound like a killing shot. I know your not CSI but what caused him to die so quickly??

Glad to know your too smart to hit the ignore button on Mom.. Would have been bad karma. Nice Job!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:11 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

Congrats on yet another great story and buck!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:13 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

Awesome... what else can I say? Ive been here over a year now, and I know one thing for sure. If its a post by Antler Eater... Im clicking it, and enjoy.

Truly Congrats on an awesome animal. Thanks for the wonderful Story as expected.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:13 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

AE, I look forward to your stories every year and again you do not disappoint. I can completely relate to the "better to be lucky than good sentiment."

Congrats on the buck. Another beauty for you. Great job on the hunt and on the story.

I still don't get the facemask in the pics though.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

I still don't get the facemask in the pics though.
I too, would like to here the story behind "the mask"
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:18 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

Pretty wild. Sometimes you don't hit where you want, but it all works out.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:21 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

That was a great read, you should write a book! Great buck and glad you got a good outcome.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:25 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

great buck!
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:26 PM
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Default RE: Antler Eater Tips One Over

Congrats AE on another great buck.

I still don't care for the mask in the pic look though.
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