Did you see anything today?” I asked my grandson, Tyler, as he entered our deer camp wall tent a week ago Wednesday evening.
“Yup,“ he answered with a haunted expression on his face. “It was the biggest buck I’ve ever seen in the woods. I couldn’t tell how many tines it had, but there were lots of them. Many were really tall and its main beams were much wider than its body.”
“I got to my ladder stand with the railing by the river well before first light this morning,” he continued. “After carefully climbing to the platform and sitting down, I reached up and carefully eased the railing down to its horizontal position. Just before sunrise, however, the railing unexpectedly dropped into its locked position with a metallic click.
“About 100 yards away on the opposite side of the river, huge antlers immediately rose up from some deep yellow grasses. After lurching to its feet, the buck took a few quick bounds to dense cover and stopped where it was difficult to see. After I raised my rifle and began scanning for it with my scope, it began bounding straight away, tail up, zigzagging with each leap, an impossible target. It stopped again about 200 yards away. It was partially hidden, but I could see its body. Holding about six inches above the center of its chest, I fired, after which I never saw the buck again. I crossed the river at the ford where Uncle Ken got his biggest buck and spent an hour and a half searching for signs of a hit around the spot where I last saw the buck. I found no blood or hair anywhere. My bullet must have ricocheted off of something.”
“Too bad,” I reflected. “I had the same thing happen to me last year. Big bucks are lucky. You’ll remember this one for the rest of your life.”
“Metallic sounds likely have and likely will ruin your chances to take other big bucks in the future, with or without your knowledge. From now on, whatever sounds you make while hunting whitetails, try to make certain none are the kind that most frighten experienced mature whitetails, namely metallic sounds.”