Here it is folks, my 2014 trophy buck! Okay, it was an off year, but I couldn’t be happier. With only two days left in the season, I was very fortunate to find this buck up a little side canyon. After Thanksgiving, the area was being pounded by dozens of other hunters (or “dudes” as I call them).
I busted this little two-point halfway up a dense draw. He ran to fifty yards where he stood for a while before returning to feeding. For fifteen minutes I debated whether or not to take a shot. Would I find bigger buck? Highly unlikely. Do I need meat for the winter? YES!!!
The buck stepped through a narrow opening in the trees. As I shot, he stepped again… I was worried as I watched my arrow hit several inches behind where I was aiming. The buck exploded down the canyon and out of sight.
I hurried over to where he stood and found my arrow: a clean pass through with lots of dark blood. Thank goodness it wasn’t guts!
I waited a while then wandered down the canyon. The blood trail was easy to follow as it was coming out of both sides. About 100 yards down the canyon I spied a motionless pile of fur. The shot was good, hitting liver and lots of vital arteries.
As I sat in the snowy canyon cleaning my harvest, I couldn’t believe the season was finally over. I thought about the many challenges I endured this year–blown stalks, swirling wind, dreadful heat, blinding blizzards, and a major illness that wiped out half the November rut hunt for me. I also thought about the dozen or so BIGGER bucks I passed up for a chance at a real monster that never came.
In the end, I wouldn’t be that much happier with a bigger buck earlier on. For the trophy hunter, it’s all or nothing and I never found what I was looking for. But I’m also a meat hunter, and so this little buck means a lot. His death means continual life for me and my family.
It’s easy for the trophy hunter to lose sight of what’s really important. The experience, the opportunity, and the passion supersedes the kill. The reality is, we are extremely lucky to live in a time and place where we can still partake in this wonderful tradition of hunting. I know that without it I would be lost in a world devoid of purpose.
I hope all of you had a great season this year. I’m already looking forward to next year. Good luck in 2015!