Yes, I missed!
Jess Shut Up
But I was not the only one.
This column was supposed to be about a father and son going on what was most likely their last hunting trip together. It was going to conclude with the father getting a monster buck, one that he and as his son would never forget. Well, that could still happen, it just did not this weekend.
It sounds like it was a very successful opening day out there in Coulee Country. For a while it sounded like everyone got deer opening morning, including some really big bucks across the area. As a matter of fact, one local even said it was the best hunting in the area since the 1980s. But I know for a fact that not every one got one on opening morning. A small group I was with, and the group hunting near us, had nothing hanging in the garage as of Sunday night. It was not for a lack seeing and trying though.
Opening morning I had my shot, literally. We knew what buck we were hunting for and we were pretty sure where it was in the area we hunted. We had a plan and it worked. Well, almost.
I settled into “My spot,” the place we hoped the deer would be funneled to, his escape route. It was starting to get light, and as the sun came up, so did my excitement. I could hear shots a long way off; I knew they were not from any of our bunch. I sat for 45 minutes and had heard nothing else. I decided to make my way toward the father-and-son duo, hoping I would push something to them. As I stood, movement to the left. The buck was trotting away from something and did not see me. I went back down immediately and my gun came up. The buck stopped. Looked back at me, I counted. Yep, legal. I took a breath and pulled the trigger. Too high. The buck took off on a sprint, heading for the next ravine. I loaded the next round. As I did, four does came running out right below me. I looked to them for a second and then focused back to the buck. It disappeared over the next ridge. I waited for him to come up the other side. Nothing. The wait seemed like hours.
I finally made my way to the spot he’d been when I missed him, just in case I did hit. Nothing. I peered over the ridge. Nothing.
I knew I was about to be razzed the rest of the day. I made my way to the others. Yes it was me who had shot, and no, there will not be cleaning anything this morning.
Over the next 20 hours, we saw lots of deer, some shooters too, but we never had the right angle, or there was another hunter behind the shooting lane. So Sunday before noon we tried again for the one I missed.
New plan. Same result. Except it was not me that missed. After a short chase, I had the same buck in my crosshairs, only this time I made the most rookie error. I forgot to take the safety off. By the time I recovered from that miscue, he was gone again.
Oh, and this buck, which I am now calling the Kryptonight Buck, I found out has been shot at 10 times in a 48-hour period and is still gathering his does. The story does not end today. I will be back out there looking for him again before you read this column. If I am lucky, he might even be hanging in Ed’s shop before this paper is printed and we might have the ending we want for the father and son.