By Larry Robertson
-- I have a friend who doesn’t hunt, but he loves venison. He’d asked me several times to hunt his 10-acre tract if I’d split the meat with him.
I didn’t put much stock in a place so small, but I finally got around to visiting his land in 2006. I even hung a stand in the middle of the property. A couple of weeks later, I caught a break from work and went out for an evening hunt.
Texas weather is unpredictable, at best. There I was, sitting 12 feet off the ground on a hot and muggy October day, sweat dripping from every pore. I didn’t see a single deer – no great surprise – until about 20 minutes before sundown. That’s when a great big, plump and Roman-nosed doe showed. She had to be 6 ½ years old … perfect for harvest!
While she grazed and was getting ever closer, I tried to remain calm and got ready to draw. When she was within 15 yards, I pulled back and held, waiting for the doe to clear the final cedar tree.
Before she did, I caught some movement to my right and saw a buck’s antlers weaving through the underbrush. The doe forgotten, I let down. My heart was racing as the buck emerged with its nose in the air, lip curled.
My wife says men have only three things on their mind: sleep, food and procreation … maybe four, if you include hunting, although that could fall under the food category. I can tell you for sure that this buck didn’t look sleepy or hungry.
It seemed like only a split second passed between the time I spotted the buck and his falling in behind that doe. He covered about 60 yards in a flash, and they both were coming straight to me. The doe passed directly underneath my stand. When the buck got there, he stopped only four yards from my tree.
With my heart in my throat, I put my green pin where it needed to be and released the arrow. The buck never flinched. It merely lowered its head and resumed the chase, totally unaware that I was trying to invite him to dinner, permanently.
As the doe led him into the cedars and out of sight, I stood there slack-jawed. I couldn’t believe I’d missed a chip shot. “Lord,” I said, looking at the sky, “please give me another chance!”
No sooner had I finished my prayer, I heard cedar limbs breaking. The doe, with you-know-who in hot pursuit, came crashing back into the picture. I quickly nocked another arrow and drew, not really knowing where the buck was going, if or where it would stop.
The doe passed my tree again, and the buck stopped almost directly under my stand. I waited for him to step forward a bit, and then I let the arrow fly. That time, I heard the thwack of arrow piercing shoulder blade. The buck took a short jump and then slowly walked behind a stand of cedars. Moments later, it sounded like someone had dropped a large sack of potatoes on the ground.
What an incredible feeling of relief!
When I went to examine the deer, I saw two triangular holes. I had actually hit the buck with my first shot, and it was a good hit. But the 3 ½-year-old, 137-pound whitetail paid no mind to what was going on inside its body.