The one that got away

It was November 12th, 2005, and I had settled in to a large maple less than thirty yards from where I had taken my first buck 23 years earlier. It was the place that my whitetail addiction was born. I hadn't taken a buck there since, but I had built up many fond memories. Plus, it was mid November, and over two decades of hunting have taught me that it was that "any" time of the season. I refer to it as the any time, because any buck can show up at any place during any time of the day. I was hopeful and confident. As the morning progressed I had the pleasure of watching several young bucks chase does throughout the woods. I also watched as a blue heron landed on a limb overhanging the creek. I wondered if it was the same one I had a picture of from my trail camera nearby.

My good friend and long-time hunting companion Darren Rueter was in his stand less than 200 yards away. He had arrived at my house plenty early for our morning hunt, so I invited him inside to view a 5 second video clip I got of a buck two weeks earlier with my home-built video trail camera. As we watched the footage, I told him I planned to pass up this buck, given the opportunity, but he would look real nice next to the 200 lb. 11-point brute he had taken in 2003. He has similar characteristics, with a big body and an extra point on his left brow tine. He was a nice buck, but not what I was looking for.

I hated to cut my morning short, but I am building a new home and I was having a garage door installed at 10:00 AM. I wanted to be home by 9:00 AM to make sure everything was cleaned up and in order. So I climbed down out of the big maple with more memories of the young bucks chasing the girls etched in my mind. I was taking an alternate route home, so I didn’t disturb Darren’s hunting any more than I had to. As I got to the creek bank, I looked upstream at the blue heron as he left his perch and soared upstream as they often do at first sight of a human. The spot I was standing has long been my favorite place on the farm. Here the creek makes a 90-degree turn, with rocks coming out from both banks. The water is shallow, with a couple pebbly sand bars here and there. From this vantage point, it is possible to see nearly 150 yards upstream and downstream, and much of the bottomland on the other side.

As I looked upstream, something caught my attention. I saw what resembled two deer legs about 120 yards away. I watched them stand there motionless for several moments. I had convinced myself that it was nothing more than weeds or sticks protruding up from the sand bar, and I was just about to make my way home. But then I saw the telltale flicker from the top of those “sticks”, and I knew I was looking at a real live whitetail. I still didn’t understand why a deer would be standing in the open like that for so long. Then he turned slightly and I could see antlers. I’ve witnessed bucks do strange things during the rut before, and I just figured he was on a date with a doe. Any second, I assumed, she would run up out of the creek bed and the chase would be on. But instead the buck turned broadside and I could see that he was head-to-head with another buck. I immediately realized they weren’t fighting, which must mean they’re exhausted, which must mean they’re locked together!

I left that vantage point to take a closer look. Using the terrain, I dropped into a drainage that entered the creek 70 yards from the deer. As I peeked around the bank, I realized I hadn’t been seeing things. Standing before me were two mature bucks, nearly motionless. I used the drainage to slip away undetected, and I ran toward Darren’s stand as fast as I could. As I crest the hill, I quickly realized two things; first, I was a lot more out of shape than I thought, and second, Darren was no longer in his stand! He had already left and gone home. Exhausted, I made my way home, phoned Darren and told him to get to my house post-haste. I then called my wife (on her way to work) and briefly explained the situation to her. She told me to call her as soon as possible to give her more details.

Darren arrived within minutes. I grabbed my video camera and a hacksaw and headed out the door. I explained everything to him as we hurried back to the deer. As we got to within 40 yards of the bucks, we positioned Darren in the weeds on the bank where he had a good vantage point for video. With bow in hand, I went out into the field and approached the deer at a right angle to the creek. I used the gusty winds and a big tree to conceal my approach. I sneaked to within 20 yards, and watched in amazement as the two bucks stood there helpless. Still unsure of what to do, I thought things over. The two of us wrestling in the creek with 500 lbs. of wild whitetail didn’t seem like such a good idea. It was impossible to predict what the outcome of that would have been. Both bucks could have drown in the creek and it would have been a huge risk to us as well. As I watched the bucks turn, I recognized one of them as being the buck in the video I had shown Darren earlier in the morning. I decided it was best, and safest, to shoot one of them. I settled on taking the one from the video. The other buck looked to have a nicer rack, with better mass and sweeping main beams. I knew we were going to have to sacrifice one life in order to save another. I waited as they turned, offering a perfect quartering away shot, and placed an arrow through his heart.

As he expired, I met back up with Darren to figure out what our next move was going to be. Originally I had planned to cross the creek and use the hacksaw to cut a tine from the live buck, freeing him. But by now the buck realized two humans were present, and he was thrashing wildly to get away. Darren convinced me that it was going to take both of us to do the job, but knowing how rare this situation was, I didn’t want to loose any video. He suggested that he go home (just down the road) and get his daughter Jessica to run the video camera. He would also bring a rope and a better saw. It was a plan.

I sat alone on the bank watching the deer on the screen of my camcorder. I wondered how long they had been locked together. I knew I would never get an answer to that question, but I guessed it could have been as long as 24 hours. Every inch of that sand bar was covered with tracks. As I sat waiting I decided it would be best to remove an entire antler from the live buck. I hoped this would discourage anyone from shooting him, and he would be easily recognizable if we saw him again. It seemed like an eternity since Darren had left, and now the buck began dragging and twisting the body of his rival into the creek. He became very twisted up with the dead deer, and now he was standing in several inches of water. The weight of the dead buck, coupled with complete exhaustion, made it difficult for him to keep his nose out of the water. I knew deer breathe through their nose and not their mouth, and this was now my main concern. He would raise his head up just long enough to get a breath, and then the tip of his nose would dip into the water again. This went on for several minutes, and his nose was getting deeper and deeper. But then, fortunately, he turned and struggled back on to higher ground.

Just then Darren returned with Jessica and his son Tyler. After giving Jessica a quick lesson on operating the camera, we crossed the creek downstream with a good saw and rope. We had planned on using the rope to hog-tie the legs of the buck for our safety. We approached the bucks from on top of the bank, and when we got to them the live one was worn out and lying on his belly. “This is good,” I thought, so I approached him slowly. But as you might imagine, he didn’t much care for someone walking up to him. He thrashed away from me violently, and he was quickly in water over two feet deep. Thinking quickly, Darren took the rope and lassoed the tangled antlers with one throw, like a cowboy on the professional rodeo circuit! I was relieved to see the slack in the rope tighten as he pulled. I rushed out to grab the antlers, and Darren followed. Things quieted down, and the buck was standing before us. It was then that it hit me that we were standing in the creek holding on to a mature living whitetail. He was standing calm now, and instead of trying to get him to the bank and tying his legs I decided to cut the antler right there. He stood relatively calm for us as I sawed. I finally broke through, and he was free. He took a couple slow steps backward and slowly shook his head. His head was tilted slightly, as the crown he had worn for months was now lop-sided. He then walked upstream a few yards and attempted to climb a very steep part of the bank. But his troubles weren’t over yet, as his front leg got caught up in a tree root protruding from the bank. We stood motionless, trying not to spook him, hoping he would not break his leg. He got free, came back down into the creek, walked upstream and up another rather steep part of the bank. Finally, he had gotten away.

As the whole ordeal ended I reflected back on what an unbelievable set of circumstances took place in order for this to happen. First, it had to be on a Saturday or Sunday so I wasn’t at work. Second, I had to hunt that stand. Third, Darren had to hunt his stand. Fourth, Darren didn’t bring his two way radio, so there was no way I could know if he was still in his stand, forcing me to take the alternate route home. Fifth, the only reason I was leaving early was because of the garage door guy (who, incidentally, was late). And sixth, I don’t think I would have concentrated so much attention upstream if it had not been for the blue heron. Also, if the bucks had been just a few yards further upstream (as they were when Darren and I got back to them) they would have likely been out of view. Between Darren, Jessica, and myself we recorded about 45 minutes of video on tape.

As the days passed the story traveled rather quickly. Looking back on it, I am certain we did the best we could with what we had. But I have had many people ask me “why didn’t you just shoot the other buck”? That thought never crossed either of our minds. Darren had a legal tag, and we certainly could have done that. But we would have saved both those bucks if we could have. I took no joy in shooting that helpless deer. Mentally it was the hardest shot I have ever taken.

Every buck harvested has a story behind it, and I have vivid memories of all of mine. This buck has a more interesting story than most, but it was certainly less than fair chase. Luck. Fate. I don’t know. The mounted head of this buck will be displayed in my home next to several others, with the sawn off antler of his rival nearby. But I will never be able to take any pride in the way his life ended. I will, however, always have great pride… in the one that got away.

FYI- The buck I killed dressed at 201 lbs. and had 12 scorable points. He was a basic 5X5 with an extra point on each brow tine. He also had several short stickers on each base. The other buck was a real nice 8-point with good mass. The sawn off antler scored 65 5/8 inches. The other antler was very symmetrical, so with a modest spread of 15 inches he would have grossed 146 2/8.

hello kitty clip art

aboriginal art for children templates

feelings chart preschool

print map of south america

yo gabba gabba invitations personalized

traffic signs pictures kids

birthday charts for kindergarten

funny friendship poem

hooters calendar 2011 owls pdf

rock star coloring page

cradle cap on face

eye test charts

body part kids

free dress patterns

united states map with capitals

black history month plays and skits software

pizza hut coupon

happy birthday greetings for kids

free award certificate templates

snowflake writing paper

scottish deerhound rescue

medical dinnerware paypal

bookmark for kids

free pattern sewing

graphic organizer flow chart

reading chord patterns in piano sheet music

lesson plan formats

nice frames wallpaper

mathematics game puzzles for grade four

presentation cheques template

3d greeting card

love coloring pages

christina aguilera child

powered by smf 2.0 aol home page

free brochure background

coloring michael jackson

streaming film gratis

bee coloring stencil

wedding invitation layout

graph paper a4 size

powered by phpbb canadian regional jet

nike logo white

plane word search

paper bag puppets people

red panda wallpaper

preschool rhyming flashcards

powered by smf 2.0 online tennis

phrases of the moon with label

igrice andjelina balerina

image of burz khalifa dubai

southwest airlines careers

christian quotes and sayings

continent cut outs for kids

batgirl logo template

download vector army free

boy scouts clip art

indian food menu

division speed test

free church attendance sheets

alabama state map

masonic letterhead template

finalized sport project samples on fundraising

mathematical puzzle with instruction and solution

knight coloring sheets

ben 10 coloring sheets

paper ruler template

id magazine silhouette

totally spies rule 34

led light yahoo.com

paradise falls thousand oaks

bestbuy weekly ad

mexican fiesta parade

albino rhino - giraffe

activities for the seven sacraments

black frame line design

pictures of feelings for children

marine corps ranking chart

king hezekiah bible pictures

free ebay seller template

pic of a trapezoid net

numbered word puzzle

pictures of matt damons kids

calendar 2012 wallet size

pegasus coloring pages

applique free pattern

map of southbank

baby shower menu template

lineup card template

mini mental state examination

piano chart with notes

moses burning bush coloring pages

super bowl square sheet

action words with pictures for kids

wedding budget template

5 pointed star template

adana twins juicy fruit

powered by smf football tips

powered by mybb nature video

lego coloring car pictures

rosary prayer card pictures

clip art junior

blank brainstorming webs

for sale signs

powered by mybb kevin trudeau free money

powered by smf 2.0 red news

number grid to 100

cover sheet for resume

kids winter puzzle

label the map of africa

brainteaser quiz on parts of the body

congratulatting card wedding

driving log book template

resep risol ayam mayo

gum drop coloring page

easter decorating ideas

vishal gandhi birthday

cibc home page

uk classifieds profile yahoo.co.uk

hannah montana birthday invitation

soccer birthday invitations

credit card logo

coloring pages of tonka toys

princess daisy coloring pages

goku coloring pages

vegetarian food pyramid

korean alphabet table

calendar 2011 template free

haircut designs for men

funny fill in the blank stories

kinds of cute lettering styles

free valentines poster template

toddler observation form

microsoft jigsaw template picture free

kindergarten graduation cliparts

snowman art projects kindergarten

powered by smf business plan sample

lent bulletin board

diagram of pangaea

powered by smf fancy dog

dressage tests preliminary

leaf cut out template

map of the 13 colonies

the gruffalo lesson plans

free vector download side human body

powered by smf 2.0 thin client network

bon jovi guestbook

beer label template

leopard cartoon name tag

digital art by mrm

pictures of graphic tattoo designs

blank march madness bracket

basketball court dimensions meters

gecko for coloring

northeastern states and capitals

quarter inch grid paper

linda from operation repo

valentine box ideas for kids

papper craft mask

ten commandments of god

united state map

japanese student hidden cam toilet

whiskas wet food in philippines

arena curling size

free vector world

music notes symbols

s pdif port

jack y sally

pizza hut menu

kids in diapers

acer wallpaper widescreen

preschool coloring pages

geomerty poster collage

john wooden pyramid of success

free template photoshop

united states state capitals

welcome back to school

rubber duck template

valentines card sayings for mother

mexican moustache template

bubble writing numbers

wallpaper nature 3d

halloween borders and frames

humorous easter church plays

demi's birthday suit

diagram of the lungs for kids

seed drill jethro tull

print t shirt

free examples of resumes

april snow korean movie

empty map of united states

valentine pictionary words

map of minnesota cities

scrabble score pad

gambar colouring page

blank map of midwest states

jeff thomas emo cartoons

sample chart of household chores

basic sign language number 1

powered by smf 2.0 thin client network

powered by mybb home depot appliances

types of beef cuts

trivia in volleyball

cub scout fake money

pictures of rabbits to colour

shoe size scale

brain teasers for middle school with answers

powered by smf causes of anorexia

popcorn bag template

dinosaur footprint template

fairy tail loki wallpaper

children map of france

free puzzle piece template

snow man drawing

powered by phpbb mexican food traditions

black bicycle cards

male angel anime

world latitude and longitude map

alphabet in script

finance organizational chart

blank speech bubble

luna lovegood wand

map of canada and capitals

faces of feelings

cat in the hat coloring sheets

free scrapbook borders

blank pokemon cards

arctic coloring pages

renaissance map of europe

doodlebops coloring sheets

fake utility bill template uk

seed package template

2011 superbowl squares template

blank daily schedule

japanese student hidden cam toilet

green bay packer helmet

xmas decorating ideas

blank sticker charts

snowflake border paper

muslim boy cartoon

kitty paw print

binary code table

human gun target pics

art theater cartoon

coca cola logo

types of beef cuts

lil boosie daughter

cool coloring designs

map of world with country name

new born gift ideas

circus birthday ideas

bible reading guides

powered by phpbb alaska regional anchorage alaska

steps of meiosis

free download wallpaper burung cendrawasih

sister quotes and poems

diy wedding card

stars clip art

best boyfriend certificate

teri meri nazar ki dori remix song

angie dickinson bio

jason earles shirtless

coloring pages superheroes

childrens place coupons

lindsay lohan vs etrade

powered by smf economics in the news

simple map of the globe for kids

powered by smf trinity paintball equipment

filipino luncheon menu

lenten clip art

nursing notes template

powered by smf 2.0 enterprise car

blank pokemon cards

graduation invitation card

space crafts for preschoolers

bible dot to dot

new york yankee

panther animal top view

blank magazine covers

kangaroo mask template

paper bag puppet templates

small monthly calendar

diamante poems for kids

national costumes of the world preschool activity

pictures of pumpkins to color

designs for scrapbook

helping verbs sheets

cow hoof print

colouring for kids

friendly letter graphic organizer for kids

funny test answers

crochet shirt pattern

soccer stat sheets

free sequencing pictures

free dog snood pattern

literacy genre wheel

sarcastic valentine's day pictures

free cartesian cartoons

palm trees clip art

powered by smf product life cycle

dino monster coloring

patricia velasquez bellazon

bartenders cheat sheet downloads

moving train gifs

sample fax cover sheet

ancient india map

past tense word

picture of hand signal of volleyball

bow tie quilt pattern

double wedding ring quilts

bible verse wallpaper

powered by smf michaels art supplies

daily medication log sheet

goat mask template

the new christy min

diagram of life cycle of oomycetes

mehndi designs for hands arabic

caribbean side dish recipes

weightlifting percentage chart

quotations about teachers

chinese take out boxes pattern

powered by mybb companies in austin texas

intake and output form padiatric

square net template

letter a coloring pages for preschoolers

walmart scorecard training

food pyramid games

invitations for all occasions cowboy western

origami dragon instructions

organ chord chart

preschool tooth template

diy hawaiian invitations

japan subway map

causes of pollution animated

bookmark for kids

levi's introduces waterless denim

maths conversions table

henna designs and meanings

army rank structure

assassins creed 2 feather map

blank map of usa

birdman new album

free template powerpoint

fujimoto star diagrams

volume conversion list

1 dollar bill secrets

dinosaur outline coloring pages

ni hao kai lan invitations

double elimination bracket maker

las vegas taxi receipt

map of paris

passport cover template

cheering dance group kids

travel journal templates for kids

16th birthday invitations formats

kindergarten math assessment - graphing

3d geometric figures

birthday card invitation

sukhoi fighter jet wallpapers

border frame free

easter flower arrangements

tree of life tattoos

3 basic food groups

rhine river map

employee termination letter

betty boop drawing

maslow's hierarchy of human needs

physical map of ancient china

free dora color pages

lap dancing video

parts of speech chart for kids

free download amazing joomla alternative medicine template

rainforest coloring sheets

food and energy pyramid

black sheep costume

powered by smf 2.0 skateboard website

blank map of russia and surrounding countries

weather chart template for kids

canadian tire job application form

baseball spray charts

walpaper power point

marshmallow snow man

happy birthday beatles

disney fairy coloring pages

coordinate grid template

cell cycle chart

ncaa march madness bracket

story plot line diagram

winnie the pooh

iq test .pdf

number activities for preschoolers

home safety pictures

prom invitation templates

graffiti tag names

octagon box template

linkedin albuquerque audio

measurement man template

sugar clip art

pattern block snowman template

happy 50th birthday layout

math number cube maker

inch ruler paper template

letters from home chords

map of pangaea

www.hotroomm.com

reading passages with r sound

english tenses for kids

old father time

paint a picture

aloe vera flower

dora the explorer games

wanted poster layout

pics of light green smocked dress

future tense irregular word

what school university in spain

winter centerpieces for tables

periodic table with charges of ions

coloring pages by numbers

words starting with q

dudley moore imdb

president barack obama coloring book

costa rica brochure

romantic greeting cards

powered by phpbb free diet plan

powered by phpbb applied physics letter

1 cm square dot paper

monopoly game board

front porch ideas

prek daily schedule

superheroes coloring pages

radio times big picture quiz

happy birthday sign

wedding menu card sample

valentine coloring puppy pictures

blank brain diagram

john deere tractor coloring pages

logo volley ball

farm animal cakes

gum ball machine in the philippines

100 in bubble letters

intitleindex.of born free mp3wavoggshnflac

long division table chart

diy templet box

flash about angels

halloween scrapbook pages

diamond size chart

powered by smf mercy hospital

body muscles with label

the holidayspot.com

pyramid of energy flow

examples of birthday invitation

activity toddler tracing

rosa parks costume

seoul train map

chinese take out boxes pattern

math string design

powered by smf mortgage interest rate calculator

porter paint almond brittle

baseball ticket template

feedback form template

plant cell without labels

borders clip art for word

serenity prayer wallpaper

church anniversary program template

family tree outline kids

bright angel trail map

order greendot pak online

kangaroo coloring sheets

paper cube stencil

qatar dubai map

diagram of muscles in your legs

life cycle of a human

dart scoring sheet

five sense kids pictures

psychrometric chart download

paper football helmet template

martin luther king coloring sheet

anatomy of organs

handicraft for kids

little red hen coloring pages

frank by rick day

cartoon lucu with birthday cake chinese

shoe size charts

air traffic control cent download -softwaregeek

blank dinosaur coloring pages

diagram of human body organs for kids

three types of triangles

powered by smf information technology and finance

vintage images free download

wood carving patterns

powered by smf strader folk art

knight coloring sheets

free coloring book

super mario birthday invitations templates free

maps of australia fake

labels on packaged food or drink

love cheque template

bear vs man