Rookie and Tactical Patience Part 2: My TV Buck or is he?
My Army buddy Paul and I had been on the prowl trying to find Mr TV Buck after my encounter with him a couple years back. Today was December 22, 2009, we had about a month before our Afghanistan deployment so we knew we didnt have many more chances left this season to tag and bag him.
We geared up and headed to my most prized hunting area the Bottoms. I explained in detail the layout of that area in part 1. As we walked down the hill we saw many active scrapes and rubs, so we knew there was a brute working the area. Like a good friend I let Paul have the best spot. That same spot where I had seen encounter with him after I shot his smaller cousin, if you will. Paul sat in his spot and I headed off about 50 yards to his left and found me a spot. I over watched the game trail as it wound its way from Paul's right to left and in and out of the thick brush and tree line. I sat down and got comfortable. I wasnt even there about 10 mintues later before I heard something walking through the brush behind me, game on. I turned my head to identify the source of the crunching sound of leaves. At first I saw nothing, but in a few seconds my eyes focused on the brown, legs of a motionless deer in the thick brushy cover. The legs began moving, almost silently, at an angle away from me. Could these legs belong to him? I wondered. As the shuffling legs approached a small opening, I imagined and hoped it was the huge TV deer I had seen before. Much to my surprise, the deer's appearance matched the image in my mind. Now the game had changed. This was a TV buck, and I wasn't going to watch him walk away again.
Fighting my nerves, I reached for the deer call in my pocket. I slipped the deer call from my pocket with my right hand and gripped my glenfield marlin with the left. The buck was moving at an angle away from me, scent-checking trails leading to an adjacent bedding area. When I gave two successive doe bleats, he changed direction like a Labrador retriever responding to a trainer's whistle. While scanning for the doe he had just heard, he was walking fast in my direction.
As he closed the distance, my adrenaline pump kicked in hard. Calm down, I thought. Pick a spot. Don't forget to pick a spot. Then, as if the buck sensed my impending mental breakdown, he halted just short of my shooting lane. He wasn't seeing that hot doe he'd heard, and his body language suggested he was as nervous as I was. After a few tense seconds he continued on at the same hectic pace. I was afraid to stop him with any kind of noise for fear he would bolt. As he entered the shooting lane I concentrated on the leading edge of his right shoulder, I shoulder my trusty 30-30, aimed and trigger squeeze. In a blur of motion the buck bolted forward and ran across a narrow field to the safety of his bedding area. I wasn't sure whether to be elated or concerned. I'd clearly connected, but it all happened so fast I could not tell exactly where the round had hit. Waiting 30 minutes, We quietly exited the area and returned later with our hunting partner, Eddie.
We found the magnificent buck about 30 yards from my spot back into the thicket almost invisble. The round had entered behind the ribs and angled forward through the chest. After doing a dance of joy for a few seconds, I knelt beside the buck and gave thanks for one of Mother Nature's most fantastic creatures.