This story begins during the juvenile hunt of 2008.
My son killed a doe early that morning and we walked back to the truck to get our deer cart because the muddy conditions, coupled with the beans still being in the field, made it impossible for us to use a four wheeler to get his deer out.
On the way back to get his doe we noticed several deer coming into the field from the opposite side. There were about 12 or 13 deer when it was said and done and the last one to enter the field was a buck.
I could tell it was a buck but at nearly 500 yards that is about all I could tell about it.
I dropped the cart and took his rifle and told him to come on and I took off running.
We had to run about 200 yards through standing beans to get to the top of the rise so we could see farther into the field in the direction they were going.
Just as we got to where we could see, two does popped over the rise. I handed the rifle back to him and he dropped to one knee and told me he couldn’t see over the beans.
I told him to wait because the buck would be following the does up the hill. He argued that the does had already seen us and I told him that would be ok because the buck hadn’t seen us and he wouldn’t until it was too late.
Sure enough the buck topped the hill and presented an 80 yard quartering towards us shot.
Running 200 yards, falling twice and fighting the beans, coupled with the fact it was a free standing shot proved to be too much for man and he missed.
The buck was instantly named “Chocolate” due to his antlers being a chocolate or more accurately, dark caramel color. I must admit he was the most beautiful racked buck I had ever seen.
He was, I thought, a six point at that time and clearly a yearling buck.
The rest of that year it just never seemed like it was going to happen. We never saw him again and we were afraid someone else had shot him.
Two other people hunted this farm and we knew they didn’t get him but the surrounding property is all rather heavily hunted so we just didn’t know.
The last weekend of rifle season I turned around in my stand and there he was, pretty as you please. I got a good look at him and he was indeed a 6 point and still had those beautiful antlers.
I will admit when I put the scope on him there was a twinge that whispered, “Shoot him.”
Although he was a yearling and had a small rack, he was simply beautiful.
I banished those thoughts rather easily and let him slip on his way.
When I realized he was headed in a direction that could possibly put him within shooting range of a man that hunted the same property via my father-in-law I “accidentally” coughed and the deer took off the other direction.
Fast forward to September 29, 2009 for my very first deer hunt of the season.
My son decided not to go hunting but to ride his dirt bike instead. I sat in his ladder stand and was fortunate enough to kill a doe at 5:15 p.m.
I stayed in the stand because my father-in-law and the same man were hunting that afternoon too. I knew that if one of them did kill a deer they would need help dragging / tracking.
The man has already wounded one deer so far this year that was never recovered.
At 6:30 I caught movement to my left, along the edge of the cut corn field.
There was a deer coming my way and it would walk right in front of me at a range of only 10 yards, so I got my bow up and got everything ready for the shot. I was pretty excited at the prospect of my very first “double” with my bow.
As he came into view I knew instantly it was indeed “chocolate” from last year.
He still has the amazingly beautiful dark caramel antlers that are so shiny they appear to be wet.
He is just as pretty this year and has added two points. Perfect 8 point and the only “deduction”, for lack of a better word, is the fact that his left G3 is about an inch and a half shorter than the one on his right side.
I am guessing his rack to be 16” wide on the inside and points that range in length from 3 to 8 inches.
He is a 2 ½ year old deer and I would have mounted him in a heartbeat.
I drew my bow and placed the pin right above his heart, just behind the crease in his shoulder.
I whispered, “You’re mine” then slowly eased my bow down.
I then wished for my digital camera but I only had my cell phone.
I took several pictures of him as he stood there, broadside at ten yards, looking away from me.
Slowly he moved around and headed back towards the way he had come from.
I have a feeling he just sensed something wasn’t quite right.
I would have loved to of had that deer but there is absolutely no way anyone should kill that deer except for my son.
I just wish the guy hunting there felt the same way.
When I got out of my stand, just before dark, the buck had actually circled around my position and was headed right towards my father-in-law and the same man, who were hunting across the field and about 75 yards from each other.
The buck saw me get out of my stand and was running across the field when I saw him. I have to admit I begged him not to stop.
The man told me that he saw him as he ran by him and that if he had been paying attention he felt that he could have “got a shot off at him running by”.
I pray that he never sees him coming. I guess that is wrong but that is how it is from where I sit.
Come on Juvenile season !!
Good hunting and God bless.