“He Chose Me”

 

A brisk 16 degree morning for opening day of modern gun season in Kentucky. I climbed into the stand where the buck I chose had busted me the week before. Just after day break, I hear grunts in the distance. This is significant. The deer on this property are notoriously quiet, so any vocal signal is unusual. About 20 minutes later, four doe come running behind me. Five minutes later, off in the distance, I catch sight of antlers. Surprised by the sight, interesting that the rut had begun, but here I see three bucks still running together. I never felt like I could have gotten a good shot, so I relaxed to sit a little longer and enjoy the woods. I came down several hours later, headed inside to warm up and have a bite to eat. My husband and I discussed our morning sits. I was heading back out into the same stand. We decided that I would take a clean SD card to switch out of the camera to review time of traffic.

I walked into the woods, toward the stand, from a different direction than usual. I decided, knowing it would be dark when I left the stand, that I would go ahead and switch SD cards during the daylight. I dropped my pack at the base of my stand, took my rifle and began the 50yd walk toward the camera. About 10yds from the camera, I see the buck that I chose to pursue. I put my Remington .243 to my shoulder and followed him with my scope as he walked through the brush and trees. It seemed like forever with a rifle that got heavier with every second. I was trying to think ahead to where I needed him to stop for a good shot, the brush was thick. When he stepped into a spot where I had a clear shot, I grunted loudly, expecting the buck I chose to stop broad side for the perfect shot.

Instead of stopping, he quickly stepped behind a hill. I had a split second of frustration and disappointment. Suddenly, over my right shoulder, I hear a loud crashing through the forest. I turn toward the noise and gasp. Running straight at me through the woods was a large buck. He wasn’t slowing down. There was no tree close enough to step behind. I let out a scream. Yes, a genuine girly scream that my husband later claims that he heard half a mile away on the ridge where he was sitting. Yes, the scream was out of fear, and the thought that he would stop or turn in another direction. He didn’t turn, he was still charging straight at me!! Did he think I was a buck he could beat? Did he think I was a doe he was chasing? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what he buck believed I was, his mind was made and he closed the distance to 10ft. He chose me! I shouldered my rifle and had no time to worry about a scope. He was so close, I would have hit him regardless. He chose me! I squeezed the trigger. The buck paused briefly, turned right, jumped the fence 5yds away and fell against a tree. He chose me!

It all happened so fast. I just shot a buck. I have no idea where he came from. I have no idea how big he is or what made him choose me. I take a moment to slow my breathing, heart rate and calm myself down. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was almost trampled!! The buck that I chose, and have pursued over a year, got away. On the ground lay a buck. He chose me! I slowly cross the fence. I cautiously approach. I nudge an antler with my boot. I take out my camera and snap a photo. I look carefully to make sure he is no longer breathing. His eyes were open, no movement, he is dead. I count points, eight tall ones. A big buck, 8 points, chose me today. He decided he would be my 2018 buck tag. As I sit there in the forest, admiring the buck I had just taken and marveling at the experience, I hear a rustling again. I look toward the ladder of my stand and sniffing my pack was the buck that had taunted me, teased me, escaped me at least four times. I shook my head as I watched him sniff my pack. I smiled and thought, “Boy, you missed your chance. Another fella came late to the party. I hadn’t seen him before. He asked me to dance. He chose me!!”

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