The Coin-Flip Buck
Posted on September 13, 2012
There’s nothing easy about stalking blacktails in the late summer heat, but this bowhunter finds himself up for the challenge.
I was confused. I figured I should have seen the buck by now. I crept down the slippery grass chute, checking every break and cut for the past 100 yards, and still could not find the big blacktail’s location. I needed help. Focusing my binoculars on the tall knoll 500 yards away, I found a camo blob in the high grass, threw up my hands and shrugged my shoulders.
Sitting on the hillside, Dad rose from his position and pointed in an exaggerated motion down the hill. Next, he raised his arms as though he was signaling for a field goal one time, two times, three, four, five, six…
“What the heck is he doing?” I thought. Then I remembered our highly sophisticated signaling system—60 yards! I need to go 60 more yards!
I cautiously moved another 30 yards when, all of a sudden, there he was. Thirty-five yards below, I caught a glimpse of velvet branches moving among the low-hanging limbs of the Giant Oak below. I couldn’t make out exactly how big he was, but I knew he was a shooter. Getting ready for my chance, I thought about how I ended up in this position and how improbable it was.
It’s funny how things shape your life, even when you think they have nothing to do with you. Such was the case with my blacktail this past archery season. I had a fairly uneventful first three days of hunting. Opening morning, I snuck within 48 yards of an old forked-horn in the first 30 minutes of daylight, but couldn’t bring myself to shoot my bow so early. Instead, I shot several pictures of him with my camera.
After that, I didn’t see another branched-antler buck—until the third evening. I was hunting with my parents, and after several slow hunts, I decided to use the evening as more of a scouting event. I volunteered to drop everyone at their various locations.
Before heading out, one of our hunting buddies, Richard, came over to wish us good luck. After a brief discussion, we found out that both he and Dad were planning on hunting the same spot. Trying to avoid an awkward situation, Dad came up with a proposition.
“Well, Richard, since we were both going to go to the same spot—I’ll flip you for it,” he said.
Although at the time I had no idea, the hunting gods started to shape the evening for me. As the coin tumbled end-over-end, Richard called “tails” and we watched George Washington’s big, bald head land face up. We all giggled and went our separate ways, while I paid little attention to the possible consequences of the 50/50 flip.
I dropped Mom off in one spot, Dad in another, while I was still wrestling with where to go. I worked my way down a canyon a few hundred yards from Dad, to check a spring that ultimately had little sign.
By Zack Walton