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Making Up for Lost Time

Marty PlunkBy Marty Plunk

-- My 2004 bow season was cut short following a doctor’s visit. A blood clot had settled on my artificial heart valve, requiring immediate surgery. I missed the following year as well.

On Nov. 24, 2006, after not being able to hunt for a season and a half, I was finally on my way to my deer stand in western Tennessee’s Obion River bottom. My brother was supposed to be with me that day (my wife refused to allow me to go alone), but he couldn’t make it.

I told my wife that I was meeting him at the field.

When I arrived, I got all my gear – .270 Winchester, grunt and bleat calls and rattling horns – and headed off on my ATV. I stopped just short of the tree line, knowing that I can’t walk as far as I used to without taking several breaks along the way. The slow trek covered close to 300 yards, some of it through knee-deep water. It took a little while, but I finally made it to the base of my tree.

Once settled in, I checked my watch. It was 3:30 p.m. My cell phone rang (on vibrate), and I assured my wife I was safe.

After about 30 to 40 minutes, I can-called twice, waited three minutes, and then grunted four or five times. I waited about 10 more minutes and grunted twice more.


Fifteen minutes later, I grunted three times, real long, and followed it with a short rattling sequence. After that, I just stopped and listened.

Soon, I heard a sound like water dripping from a faucet, only a little louder. I couldn't see anything.

I grunted loudly when the sound stopped, and then my nerves melted when a buck grunted back at me – so loudly that I froze and began to shake. My heart was hammering my chest. I was actually worried that I was going to have a heart attack and forced myself to breathe deeply.

And I hadn’t even seen it yet!

The dripping sound resumed.

I eventually saw the deer at 60 yards, moving VERY slowly. Every time he put his foot down, it sounded like water dripping (he was walking through 18 inches of water). I watched him do that for about 10 minutes, which seemed more like an hour. Thank God for my pacemaker!

When the buck’s antlers finally came into view, I knew it was the biggest buck I’d ever seen in my little area – way bigger than anything I’d shot. 

I waited until he stepped in a small opening, and then I sent a 130-grain Remington AccuTip through the top of his shoulder. A lot of splashing followed before the deer wound up almost underneath me. I bolted in a new round and fired again.

I could see the rack sticking out of the water after that. I don't know how long I just sat there, convinced I was dreaming. When I realized I was indeed in a treestand, I thanked God and called my wife to confess.

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