By Phil Fiene
-- It was a frosty Kansas morning on Nov. 13, 2002. The weather was not great for a morning bowhunt. Days like this make it easy to stay under the blankets. However, it was the first day of pheasant season, which would result in a lot of deer getting pushed around.
My feet hit the floor, and I set my compass for the kitchen. A quick bowl of hot chocolate malt-o-meal and I headed off to the woods to get into my treestand before those bird hunters started banging away. It was a short hike to the stand I selected that day, and I was on guard in the silent darkness well before daylight about 18 feet up in a cottonwood tree.
As the darkness retreated from the rising sun, I could hear the bird hunters' shots in the distance. I knew it was only a matter of time. It always is during this magical time of year. The only question is if a shooter buck will be in the master plan. The sun had been up for about half an hour when I caught some movement from the south heading my way. As I focused in on the deer, I could see it was a dandy, but I really had no idea of what was approaching.
It was tall and wide. I made up my mind that I would drop the string on this one if it gave me the opportunity. The trail I was hunting would bring the buck right to me. The buck was coming in but stopped at 20 yards away and decided to turn right and walk toward an open field.
My heart was thumping. Time was at a premium, and it was running out fast. All I could see was a spot behind the buck's shoulder through my peep sight, but I don`t shoot at moving deer. That's just me. So, I puckered up and blew the buck a kiss not knowing if it would spook and bolt or not. The buck stopped and looked right up at me. Steam vented from its nose as it tried to get a whiff of what was in the tree. It seemed like our eyes met and for a moment the world stopped turning. THUMP. WHACK! I heard the arrow hit the buck, but I was in such bad shape by that point that I wasn't sure how well the shot connected.
I watched the buck race across a field, down into a creek bottom and disappear from my sight. I sat down and tried to pull myself together. If I had sat there the rest of the day I don't think I would have stopped shaking. Keep in mind, this was not my first deer. Man, I love this kind of rush.
Thirty minutes passed before I climbed down to check out my arrow. What a beautiful sight. I knew my shot was on. I made my way to my truck for a Coke and to call my friend, Mountain Man Gary, to come out for another tracking expedition.
Only about 75 yards from the shot, down in the creek bottom we laid eyes on the buck. My shot placement could not have been better. As we walked up to another gift from God, I looked at the deer ... up at Gary ... back at the deer. I said, "Is that the deer I shot?!?" I had no idea, like I mentioned before, what a majestic animal this buck would be. I had been so intent on the point I was aiming at that its head gear had not even been in focus.
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