What the buck?
By Megan Plete Postol | PUBLISHED July 11th, 2022
Hours before daylight, I dragged myself out of bed, brewed coffee and dressed in my hunting gear. I had plans to meet my Dad and my brother at their house around 5 a.m. and then we would drive to our hunting spot from there.
It was a clear, frosty morning. When I arrived they weren’t ready so I impatiently paced in front of the house. By the time we were in the truck, a warm pink glow was cresting over the horizon and I knew we would have to hurry to get settled in our stands before dawn broke.
My dad and I took the four-wheeler into the forest while my brother hoofed it. When we got to the spot where he dropped me off and I walked into the stand, the sun had almost fully risen and I didn’t need my flashlight. Before we split ways, he gave me the lecture about being sure of what’s in front of you and not shooting unless you can get a good, clean shot.
Less than an hour after I settled into my stand, I heard a gunshot from the direction of where my dad was sitting. My ears perked up. I waited. Then I heard another shot. I carefully and deliberately retrieved my phone from my pocket and texted him, “Was that you?”
A few minutes later came the reply: “Spike 10 yards downwind. Big doe came up behind. I rushed the shot and missed.”
I cringed. “What a bummer,” I thought to myself.
I continued to sit, silently alert to my surroundings. Then I checked my phone. My dad had texted me that he found what he had thought was the big doe. It was actually a spike horn. I decided to get out of my tree stand and walk to where he was. I walked slowly, absorbing every ounce of sunshine and forest air.
When I caught up to where Dad was, a found the man perplexed. “It was the strangest thing,” he told me. I listened quietly as he relayed the tale.
He was in his tree stand overlooking a grove when a spike horn walked out of the thickets about 15 yards from the stand. He decided not to shoot. He had a doe tag to fill and that was the goal of the day. Soon after, while the spike was still there, a big fat deer that he thought was a doe came into sight about 75 yards straight in front. The deer’s ears were laid up over the antlers, and Dad thought it was a big doe.
He squared up and took the shot. To his amazement, the spike was still standing there, seemingly unfazed, and the “doe” was nowhere to be seen. He was certain he had missed. He was mad at himself for doing exactly what he had lectured his kids not to do.
The spike horn hung around for another half an hour while Dad sat unmoving in the tree, waiting for him to leave so that he could check the spot the other deer was standing for signs that he had connected. When he finally crawled out of the tree, he found traces of blood. He traced the deer’s blood trail and found it about 30 yards from where he took the shot, sprawled out in a briar patch. It was a clean heart shot. And to Dad’s surprise, it was a spike horn, not a doe! He was not impressed with himself.
Every day spent hunting is unique and strange things like that can happen.
This buck was not a trophy deer by any means, but it was legal and we were hunting for venison. It might not make too magnificent of a photo, but it’s a full freezer and a nice memory of a morning spent hunting with family.