Was it Really That Bad?
The telephone rang, so as the taxidermist answered it, Sue and I wondered off to view some of his work. It’s a bad habit of mine to try listen to multiple conversations at once, which is surprising for someone who struggles with one conversation at a time. But as Sue and I were oohing and ahhing over some of his art work and doing our own critiqeing, I could hear the drone of the taxidermist in the background. “Yeah Steve, he was hunting with a rifle and his wife was hunting with archery and he shot the buck right out from under her”. About a minutes worth of conversation later it all of a sudden hit me, he must have been talking about us, me in particular. Now when it comes out of someone elses mouth it didn’t sound very pretty and beings that I am male, my ego had taken a terrible hit. I had told this gentleman exactly what had happened and how it came to be that the deer was closest to Sue but I had ended up shooting it but by the time his brain had processed it and it came back out his mouth, it sounded pretty ugly. So in case you have heard his side of the story I feel everyone deserves to hear the truth or at least as close to it as a hunter can get.
Sue and I had come to this area five years ago to do some moose hunting and had found the moose to be invisable but we were impressed with the whitetail deer we saw and decided to give these little ghosts a try. We have so enjoyed it that we haven’t missed a year since of setting up the old wall tent and spending a week trying to put one or two in the freezer. There’s just something so awesome about rattling and calling till you think you’ve totally gone nuts for thinking this can actually bring in a buck, and when you’re at your lowest ebb you look up and there he is. Where did it come from? The spike of adreneline can even confuse you and cause you to think at first that maybe you are hallucinating. This year was different.
We left home at three in the morning because we had over five hours of driving, then set up camp and got our ground blinds and tree stands set up and ready for the next mornings hunt. The tree stands were our choice in the morning and I’m not sure why because it was snowing, but up the trees we went anyway. To get the picture right, I was in a climber stand about 20 feet off the ground with my rifle and I am left handed. Sue is in a 15 foot ladder stand 13 yards to my right with her bow and she is right handed. Right after my second series of rattleing I see out of the corner of my eye a nice buck coming up on Sue’s right side from behind. This in itself was all wrong as it was early enough in the hunt that we were still pumped with optimism. Anyway, Sue spotted it just as it came along side her tree at 15 yards so she drew which was all wrong as she was pointed the wrong way. When she did draw evidently the buck must have heard her as he turned and looked up at her so she was stuck to hold that pose of aiming off in the wrong direction until he became satisfied there was no danger. By the time he decided all was well and started walking again, Sue was beat and let down her draw just as he stepped behind a string of trees that hid him from her. When you are 13 yards from someone in the forest you have no way of knowing what they are seeing and what they are not seeing so at this point I decided to concentrate on the deer. I watched it walk between trees and then out into about a 20 foot open lane and still there was no shot from Sue. At this point I was afraid he would walk out of our lives if I let him go any farther, so I pulled the trigger. He was only 50 yards from me. I had very mixed emotions at first as I wanted so bad for Sue to kill a whitetail with her bow and yet I was glad for a solid hit. Finally I decided I better take my medicine and looked over at Sue expecting a disapointed look. Whats this I wondered, here the little archer was pumping her fists and grinning from ear to ear, it made things all better immediatly. When we got down and compared notes, thats when I found out that that buck had taken a path that I could see and she couldn’t. This is one reason I love hunting with her as she is as excited about others success as she is of her own and she will laugh in the situations that have a laugh or cry element to them. So I may not have the nicest taxidermist in the world, but lucky me, I have the greatest hunting partner and thats a lot more important. We were both so emotionally and physically involved with the taking of this buck we now refer to him as the ‘We’ buck.