When I was thirteen I started more to seriously deer hunt. During the early archery season I saw a few bucks, missed one, and missed a few other opportunities. My grandfather ended his lifetime of hunting two years prior and I inherited his spot.
On opening day of the gun deer season, the most important day of the year, I was ready and up a tree next to my grandfather’s longtime ground blind.
A half hour, or so, after dawn I had a 1 1/2 old 8 pointer follow a doe to my right. I shot and watched the buck run away. I shot again and the buck walked away. I could have shot again but I thought that if I had missed twice already, then there was no point in missing again.
After a few hours my dad, who had heard my shooting, came over to see what the deal was. When I told him that the buck had walked away after my second shot he thought that I must have hit it or the buck would have ran away.
We followed the deer’s trail for a few hundred yards. And when my dad talked to a neighbor hunter, I discovered the skull of a long dead 3 1/2 year old buck. The skull and horns were white and crumbly. They were also chewed through by squirrels (there are minerals in antlers and bones).
When my dad came back, he was looking at the skull and horns, while I held both rifles. While holding the two rifles, another buck appeared a few dozen feet away. I attempted to give my dad back his rifle so that I could shoot with mine. But by the time I had only one rifle the buck had disappeared.
My dad returned to his stand and I to my grandfather’s ground blind, feeling rather poorly. Not a half hour later a saw a deer with a flash of white above the head. I shot as soon as possible.
It turned out to be a spike. 9 1/2 inches on the right and a busted off 5 on the left.
I made a series of mistakes, but I shot a buck. It was a good day.