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Where There's a Will, There's a Way

PhotoBy Jon Bryan

-- In a previous story I submitted to, I had mentioned seeing a nice buck with tall, uneven antlers and a pronounced limp. I had decided that if given the opportunity, I would harvest it.
My neighbor captured a photo of the deer coming to his feeder, and it clearly showed that it was missing its rear, right hoof and leg, just below the joint. Maybe barbwire or a bad shot, we couldn't tell what happened to this buck. As expected, the deer's left antler was deformed and much smaller than the right one and with only one rear leg, I was wondering if it could perform its yearly reproduction duties.

On the first cool Friday morning of the year in my part of Texas, I was in a treestand overlooking thick cover when three does came in. As I was contemplating shooting one of the does, I noticed movement to my left and another doe came trotting up through some thick cover toward the feeder. Making a mistake, I followed its movement, and before I could react, a buck was moving quickly behind the doe. It headed into the thick stuff, and the young doe hopped over the wire for the corn.

Seeing a shape and antlers moving around behind some cedars, I couldn't shoot, but I did notice the buck was limping badly. With none of the does displaying any interest in the buck, it made a fatal mistake! It turned and came out the same way it had gone into the thick stuff.

Putting the grunt call in my mouth and biting down on it, I shouldered my .270. The buck cleared a big cedar as I blew through the call and centered the crosshairs on the buck. BAM! The buck was down.

Climbing down from the stand, I walked back to the house to get my tractor to haul the deer. Layla, my wife, had heard the shot and she was waiting for me on the porch, and Spike, was bouncing around, like only an excited Dachshund can, hoping that I would take him out to 'find' the deer.

Our little caravan, Jeep and tractor, headed out and I put Spike down about 75 yards, crosswind from the deer. Spike started sweeping until the dog winded the downed deer.

Sometimes nature is strange. How can a deer, missing a portion of its hind leg procreate? How can a little Dachshund recover from a near fatal operation, not have the use of its left leg, only to return to the field to track downed deer?

It just goes to show that where there's a will, there's a way!

Jon Bryan
Bryan Ranch
Goldthwaite, Texas

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