Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Buck Stops Here!

In the previous post of the "Finding Ways to Unwind" series you were able to see that I had several critters appear in my view from the deer stand.  From cattle to does the evening hunt was picking up.  Hopefully with a little more luck something else was going to come into view.  That something was  getting ready to show up.

After about twenty minutes of watching the does wait patiently for the cattle to drink and move around, he showed up.  It was a sight right out of the movies.  As my view went from left, watching the does, to right, he appeared on the ridge top of an old railroad track. Although he was twenty yards behind a hedge apple tree, the sun was still able to peek through the windblown leafless branches.  As the rays hit his antlers, they had a shine that caught the corner of my eye.  Finally I was seeing a quality buck!  All of the waiting was well worth the next thirty minutes.  It would take him about ten minutes to check out his surroundings and make sure it was safe to jump the fence and pursue the does. The older a deer gets the wiser he become.  The rut season will cause him to let his guard down and compromise his well-being.  Although this buck had the does on his mind, he was still being cautious.  At this point a hunter is fighting the remainder of light.  If the buck moves slowly, the hunter may not even have a shot due to darkness.  Looking through a pin hole sight requires some light.  Without it you are shooting blind and will more than likely lose an arrow.  Losing an arrow is frustrating because they cost anywhere from $15 to $25, depending on the quality.
I was in luck, with about an hour worth of light left he made his move for the fence and wandered west to join the does in nibbling on some of the wheat that was coming up.  As he moved within 75 yards of my stand, I was able to get a clear picture on his size and number of points.  He was a ten point, a younger deer.  I could tell this by his body and face size.  He would have room to grow and make a better deer next season.  At that point I decided that he wasn't something I would shoot or as bow hunters say, he wasn’t a "shooter".   Although a little disappointing at first, it didn’t take me long to just sit back and enjoy this beautiful animal get closer and closer to my stand.  I was able to take some decent, for a phone camera, pictures of him.  Eventually this buck made his way to my deer stand and stopped.

     President Harry Truman had the saying "The Buck Stops Here!" on his desk in the White House.   As a leader it’s something we have to do.  The responsibility resides with me.  I made the decision so I have to live with it.  As the buck came into view, I had to evaluate several items.  What size of deer is he?  Does he have potential to be something better next season?  Is he any better than what I have shot in the past?  What will my fellow hunters think of me if I pass on this deer?  Instead of "Peer Pressure" hunters call this "Deer Pressure"!  Okay, I made that up.  No one has ever said that around the campfire after a hunt.  But it sounded funny and really does fit in some circumstances.  Once a leader gathers their information, they make the decision and must live with the consequences.  Don't pass the buck onto someone else.  No blame game.  Good or bad a leader must live with the consequences.

Follow this portion of the hunt through the pictures below.

The ridge on the upper right hand corner of the picture is where the buck first appeared.  He would take a few more steps along the fence line and then jump into the "Melon Patch" field.   At this point he was about 125 yards from my stand.  I was busy looking through my range finder and counting points.
Within 75 yards I was able to determine he was a ten point buck.  I was evaluating whether or not he was  a "shooter".  Although you can't tell because of the weeds in front of his belly he wasn’t a big body deer.  Combining this with a small face, he was probably a three to three and half year old.
Can you find him?  He was within ten yards of my stand and well within my comfortable shooting range.  Several minutes before this I had determined that he wasn't a "shooter".  Two reasons, his potential to become a very good - meaning bigger - deer next season and he wasn't bigger than the one I shot a couple of years ago.

There he goes following the same path of the does.  Hopefully he will live through the remainder of bow season and rifle season.  I hope he can live through this season and grace me with his presence again.  What a great hunt!  In the next thirty minutes, due to darkness, I would be getting down from my tree.  Although the hunt was over for the evening the best part was coming.  Sitting around the campfire and enjoying each others company.

Next post:  Around the campfire.

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