The 'dream buck' that wouldn't die. An amazing, agonizing adventure.
Many of us can relate to amazing adventures in life. We’ve all had a few. My first turkey hunt was an amazing adventure that launched a 37-year obsession with pursuing turkeys all over North America. Many, if not all of us, have also had some agonizing adventures. Those are the ones that prove more than a little bit troubling and sometime painful. Occasionally, we experience an amazing, agonizing adventure that actually ends unexpectedly and pleasantly. Such is the case with the amazing, agonizing adventure you are about to take part in.
In the midst of the heat and humidity of a Delta summer, Turner put up a trail camera on some family land. Hoping to see enough deer to warrant putting up a deer stand for the upcoming deer season, Turner didn’t see much activity for quite a while, a few does, but no bucks. Then he appeared, a nice buck with heavy horns, though not very wide. Clearly he was a mature deer and worthy of pursuing, but all the pictures of him were during the night.
By the time archery season arrived, the buck appeared in the daylight, and the adrenalin was flowing. An amazing adventure in pursuit of this mature buck had begun in earnest. From October to late December, the agonizing part was hunting and never seeing the buck. A tad frustrated, Turner let his cousin hunt the stand the day after Christmas. The agonizing adventure continued.
Two days later, after months of trail camera pictures, mostly at night, at least fifteen hunts with bow and gun, the persevering Turner had his dream buck in sight. The buck materialized, seemingly, out of thin air. There he was no more than 70 yards in front of the stand. Facing quartering to him, Turner calmly settled the crosshairs of his rifle scope on the buck and fired. The shot was perfectly placed. The deer kicked his back feet in the air and started racing straight at Turner. What an amazing adventure! Then the agonizing part began in earnest.
In his excitement to bolt another round into the chamber, Turner ripped his bolt completely out of his rifle. Passing within ten steps of his stand, all Turner could do was watch as his dream deer bounded past and then stopped no more than 60-70 yards behind his stand. Watching the buck turn and slowly walk away was a sick feeling.
Getting down out of his stand, he gave the buck time to expire and then returned to collect his trophy.
Well, his trophy was waiting, but he wasn’t dead. Once again, Turner watched in shock as his deer bounded off.
Giving the buck 3-4 hours, Turner and two of his friends returned with light and a shotgun with a couple of slugs to find and finish off the trophy. Following the very obvious trail, the buck was soon found, but he was still very much alive. The first shot from the shotgun missed, and the buck ran straight at Turner. The second and final slug dropped the buck. Everyone was giving high-fives and hollering. What a deer! What an adventure. Walking over to his trophy, Turner noticed that the deer was till alive. The amazing, agonizing adventure continued.
With nothing but a pocket knife, Turner took the buck by the horns, put his knee on the buck’s chest and made an attempt to finish the hunt. The knife only served to give the buck yet another infusion of adrenalin. Tossing Turner aside, the buck left for good. The amazing part faded into the agonizing part of this adventure.
Long story, which happens to be great, short, three weeks passed, and then on a duck hunt, there was this incredibly determined buck. Returning to the truck for the rifle, Turner quickly slipped up on the buck and brought this amazing, agonizing adventure to a grand conclusion. In all my years of deer hunting, though I’ve had plenty and heard of plenty amazing and not a few agonizing adventures, but never have I heard of such an amazing, agonizing adventure that ended with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon and trophy that will inspire this story to be told thousands of times to everyone who asks.
Believing that any hunting experience can be as amazing and agonizing and end as wonderfully as this adventure did probably is a long shot for nearly all of you, but…whatever you do, don’t be afraid to go with the long shots. Live life to its fullest every moment and be ready!
Rev. Richard Wiman is the pastor of First
Presbyterian Church in Belzoni, an avid hunter
and an accomplished, much-published writer.