Miracle Buck Part II

Posted on October 2, 2013

Conclusion to Miracle Buck Part I, posted last week. Click here to read Part I. 

Ron Way’s buck had enormous antler height, with G2s and G3s measuring well beyond 12 inches each.

Ron Way’s buck had enormous antler height, with G2s and G3s measuring well beyond 12 inches each.

A Second Chance

The next morning found me back in the same stand, hoping for another opportunity, a miracle you could say. Matt was insistent that this buck was still in the woods and “we needed to get him with a bow.” So, off I went, excited, but deep down I knew my chances of seeing this beast a second time was slim to none.

At first light, a small buck walked underneath my stand. Then, at about eight o’clock, like a puffy dream in the clouds, the miracle happened. There he was standing, like a statue, directly behind the stand. He was just 70 yards out and on the trail of some does. Moments later, he was on one of the doe’s heels like a fierce freight train, blasting through brush and small saplings like they were mere toothpicks. The big buck was actually with four other bucks trying to corral the does, stomping leaves, jumping bushes and breaking branches—true pandemonium.

Suddenly, just as the buck funnels one of the does my way, instantly I think, “Yes! Another chance! I can’t believe it.”

Then, at the last second, the doe turns away with the big buck still chasing her. Then they disappeared. However, I could still hear them. He was on the hill behind me somewhere, as I could hear his snorts and growls. Man, another missed opportunity.

I stayed on stand all day and didn’t see a single thing but a flock of turkeys just before dark. The turkeys were going to roost in the area around my stand again, so I stood up and waved my hand to move them away from the area. Fortunately, they turned around and roosted about 150 yards uphill. At least I wasn’t going to get my heart racing the next morning for the wrong reason.

On the fifth and final morning of the hunt, while sitting down at the breakfast table with the other hunters, I couldn’t help but say, “It’s the ninth inning, and we’ve got one out.” They all knew what I meant.

After a great meal, I gathered my gear and bow and headed for Matt’s truck. He would take me to my stand location.

“You’ve got to get this big boy today,” he said. “Gun season starts next week, you know, and I would sure like to get him with a bow.” I had confidence in Matt because he knew where this buck was and had good stands. He was a great guide, and great guy! But, boy, I just didn’t know if I’d actually get to see this deer again—for the third, and hopefully last, time! That never happens.

Third Time’s a Charm

I got into my stand about 45 minutes before light. I had everything situated, my bow in my lap, grunt call and rattle horns close by, the works. I was ready for action.

It was a perfect morning too—calm and finally chilly. Sitting in a tree stand, watching a hint of glow coming over the hill, always gives me time to meditate and thank God for all his blessings. I ask Him for protection for my family and I, and pray for another opportunity at this incredible buck just one more time. And, if it were to happen, that it would be a good shot with a quick and clean kill.

As I’m sitting there, the glow starts to get brighter and brighter, and I can hear the shotguns blasting away on the Mississippi. Duck hunters are at it again. About 100 yards away, I hear the crunching of leaves and snapping of twigs down in the ravine, which goes on for 30 minutes or so. I know there are deer around, but will they come my way?

Later, a doe emerges, and about 20 seconds after that there came the big boy. I couldn’t believe it—one more chance. Make it happen, I kept telling myself.

The doe was heading to my right, which would’ve created the perfect shot scenario, but at the last second the buck cut her off and pushed her over the drainage across from my stand. Please turn back, I thought.

As if on cue, he turned to the right and walked gingerly, headed for one of my shooting lanes. Before I know it, he was 30 yards away. Unfortunately, he was still covered up by cover, so there was no shot. Anticipating his path, I saw a small opening, about 30 yards out.

Now, he was only a few steps from a small gap in the trees, so I began drawing my bow. But then he suddenly he halted. I held tension on the string, still undrawn. Then moved his neck forward, so I thought about drawing. But then, he didn’t budge. He did this “head fake” two more times. My nerves began to take over, and I wondered if I could get to full draw in time before the buck cleared the gap.

Moment of Truth

Then, just like that, my wish came true. The buck began slowly walking broadside. When his eyes were obscured by a tree, I quickly hit full draw. Once he filled the shooting window, he turned a bit, now slightly quartering towards me.

Since I’d been in the stand for a few days now, I knew every possible shot distance imaginable. I knew the buck was exactly 25 yards away. I centered the 20-yard sight pin tight to his shoulder, and squeezed the trigger.

In a quarter of a second, I saw a baseball-size bloodstain behind his shoulder, and I knew the Rage broadhead had cut a devastating hole. The buck was mine! He turned 180 degrees, ran 50 yards and then stopped. Then he stood for about two seconds, started staggering sideways and then crashed to the floor. Immediately I began thanking God, for the chance, and for the perfect shot.

After settling down for a bit, I texted Matt, writing, “I just shot a nice buck.” Knowing this was the buck he wanted me to go after, I thought I’d have some fun with him so I didn’t tell him it was the big boy. He texted me right back, “How big was he?”

“He’s at least 150,” I wrote. I got out of the stand and then walked over and picked up my arrow. Then I walked the red carpet to my prize.

He was even bigger up close than far away. What a beast!

Later, as Matt arrived on the scene, he began looking for the deer. The buck had fallen into the drainage, so it was tough for him to see the buck. I watched his face as he popped over the edge of the drainage and saw the massive buck. Matt was so excited that his hands were shaking so hard that he struggled taking pictures. These guides, at Heartland, were as excited as the hunters who claim success, as if they had actually shot the deer themselves.

What else can I say other than I’m already planning for and anticipating next year’s hunt. Who knows, maybe I’ll get even luckier next time. After all, there’s nothing wrong in believing in a little bowhunting luck.

By Ron Way

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