posted on June 15, 2014 14:02
By Mike Handley
A not-so-funny thing happened to Mike Flanigan of Conneaut, Ohio, on the way to his deer stand last Oct. 27. When he arrived at his tree, the stand wasn't there.
Understandably upset, he could've walked back to his truck to stew in his own juices for a few hours while his friend and son hunted.
Instead, he channeled his inner squirrel – or maybe his 10-year-old self – and found a tree he could climb.
Had he done the former, his bank account might've suffered only the cost of replacing the treestand. He wound up having to pay another few hundred dollars to commemorate the day he discovered the theft.
The deer started moving through between 8:30 and 9:00. After two does passed, Mike saw a couple of small bucks between him and his son, who was about 100 yards away on the other side of a steep ravine.
Shortly after that, he spotted a very respectable 9-pointer approaching from the east at about 80 yards. Matt wound up shooting it when it came to within spitting distance.
Later, the two juvenile bucks returned, and they were grunting and snorting like bees had flown up their noses. Their antics enticed the bull of the woods to come out of hiding.
Although it winded Mike and did an about-face, it turned and passed through the perfect opening en route to the commotion it had heard.
When the buck approached the opening, it stopped with only its head in the window. Mike, precariously astride a limb, had already drawn his bow.
"I'm praying, Sweet Jesus, let him take just two steps!" he told Ed Waite, who's writing the story for Rack magazine. "My muscles were screaming at me to let down the bow, while the buck was sniffing the air."
When the deer finally moved, Mike grunted with his mouth to stop it, and the day that had begun so horribly ended on a very sweet note.
The buck's BTR composite score is 194 2/8 inches.