It’s game on


OUTDOOR Tales and Trails


For a white-tailed archery hunter, this is the most magical time of the year. We are fast approaching the white-tailed rut and that is, of course, the deer breeding season. During this all too brief period, even the oldest and wiliest of bucks shows himself in daylight hours searching to … extend his legacy.

During this “GO TIME” period of the archery season, anything can happen and it usually does. Every year as the rut approaches, I circle back to memories of a huge buck that came in and out of archery range and I never even got close to getting a shot. The story is too good to leave it with only that brief footnote.

I was sitting in my tree stand and spotted the huge buck off to my left in the brush. He was 100 yards out and walking a trail that wouldn’t bring him close enough for a shot. With no other options, 1 pulled out my grunt tube and blew three quick grunts.

Immediately the buck snapped his head around and looked in my direction. I knew I had him. Slowly and with a gait that suggested dominant posturing he moved towards me. At that point there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I was going to get a shot at him. I didn’t send a heads-up text to my taxidermist, but I knew I was going to get a crack at Mr. Big.

With his ears pinned back, the buck stood within range but also within the security of some brush that covered him up. preventing me from getting a shot. Then he moved out of the brush and before I could even think about drawing my bow, he blew right past my tree and me, roaring like a rocket. He didn’t stop until he was nose to nose with a second buck.

I guess my monster buck knew the second buck was there all along. It also became obvious fairly quickly that my monster buck didn’t care for that second buck in the least. He went over to kick the living … teach him a lesson.

The second buck immediately took on a submissive posture and the two bucks walked off together never knowing that the little guy just saved the big guy’s life. It was a great encounter and it was pretty neat to see those two bucks interact and quickly establish a pecking order. That was a long, long, time ago. That wound has mostly healed for me but if I happen to run into the great, great grandson of that old and lucky buck: it’s game on, again.

October 27, 2021