posted on September 21, 2010 06:30
By Mike Handley
Have you ever been so focused on a distant deer that you were oblivious to - or unprepared for - one in your lap?
I made that mistake once. I was hungry for venison, determined to put down the first legal deer I saw, and I did. And when I shot that doe, the earth moved, trees swayed, I was struck mute and reduced to a mouth-breather ... while the largest buck I’d ever seen whirled and ran. He’d been right behind me.
And then there was the time I forgot all about a young 6-pointer a mere 15 yards from my stand, and it saw me draw my bow when a record-book 10-pointer was a couple of steps away from a broadhead’s kiss.
I know I’m not alone. I hear the stories.
Greg Sims has a good one with a happier ending. His is proof of what can happen when you’re able to think and act on the fly. He probably doesn’t snore either, but I digress.
The Arkansas bowman was hunting in Iowa in 2005 when he saw what he swears was a world-record Typical 500 yards across a pasture. He was willing to barter with the devil to gain the giant whitetail’s attention.
Greg smashed his rattlin’ antlers together in a Hail-Mary attempt to stop the buck with the wall of tines, but it never flicked an ear. Seconds later, his cell phone vibrated. A buddy was calling from Kansas to tell him that he’d taken a big 8-pointer.
Greg doesn’t remember much more of that conversation because he hung up on his friend when another surly buck burst out of a draw in front him. It veered downwind, trying to get a whiff of the brawlers. And when it didn’t, it began walking away.
“I grunted every time the deer started to leave, and it turned back,” Greg said. “It finally wound up at 50 yards, behind a thorn bush. It seemed to look through me for about 13 minutes. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
When the buck finally turned to leave again, Greg resorted to a snort-wheeze call, which brought it back to the thorn bush.
“That really ticked the deer off,” he said. “It turned a complete circle and started my way again, all frizzed up.”
Knowing that he’d have to do something to persuade the deer to commit, Greg snuck an arm behind him and groped for the rattlin’ antlers, which were dangling from his bow-hanger. After barely tickling them, he smiled as the buck in front of him came 10 yards closer.
When the buck fell, a drop tine kept its head from lying sideways.
Like me, Greg had lost all sense of what was right in front of him. Had he not glanced up at the right moment, he could’ve easily missed the second buck’s arrival.