The Click Bang Buck
By HSP Member, Mark
This year, Hunting Sports Plus, provided us the opportunity to deer hunt. Our plans started back in March, when John and I, (Mark), poured over the maps and information looking for the property we wanted to hunt Whitetail. After we made our decision, we applied for the property and soon found ourselves, aerial map in hand, overlooking the land we had chosen. Spread out in front of us was a good-looking acreage with CRP fields, a wooded creek bottom, and tree strewn thickets.
After scouting the property, we developed our strategy for the opening morning's hunt, which was to place me in the woods and John up, over- looking two field edges. When the wee hours of the morning arrived we wished one another good luck, and made our way through the dark to our stands.
The woods where I had set-up, were comprised of a thick under growth of leafless brush that had grown to a thigh high height, so visibility was a concern. Several good deer trails twisted a path through the brush so my hopes were high. As the darkness began to lighten with the coming of the morning, I could faintly see the field through the trees below my hillside perch. It was a very grey morning, having had rain the night before and cloud cover was still present. The black colored trees silhouetted against a silvery background provided openings and alleyways of vision to a dimly lit field just beginning to show some tan colorization. Suddenly a shape moved in the field some 70 yards below, as the outline of a deer became easily recognized. Its head was down and became blocked by trees and shrubs so I couldn't see if it had antlers or not. I raised my rifle into position on my shooting stick to identify the deer instead of using my binoculars and noticed movement closer to me, just a bit to my right. Looking over my scope instead of through it, less than 35 yards from me, I could see a doe's head browsing the tops of the brush and I found myself thinking, "gee, how did she get up to me so fast from the field." Just then, directly behind her, I caught a glimpse of something, and realized I was looking at antlers making their way up the hill through the thick brush. I looked through my scope and could easily see four points on the right side of the bucks head. As I scanned down its neck towards where its body should be, the brush was hiding that part from view. The deer stopped and appeared as if it were looking right at me. I stayed still as a statue until it turned its head. I then placed the crosshair of my scope on the deer's neck. With my heart pounding, I started thinking I'd rather not take this shot in hopes it would turn and provide a broadside. Sure enough, like an answered prayer, he slowly began to angle up to his left and I could just begin to make out the shoulder. I moved the cross hair to his shoulder, eased the safety off, and slowly squeezed the trigger only to hear a "click." To my amazement and horror, I might add, the chambered round in the gun failed to go off. Fighting off panic, I stayed frozen to some degree and watched the deer through my scope. He had heard the sound and was searching for its origin. Ever so deliberately quiet, I opened the rifle's bolt, pulled it back slowly until the round clicked out, and fell to the ground. Metal sounding noise escaped from my gun as I helplessly tried to be quiet and the deer's curiosity peeked as he searched with his eyes in my direction, testing the wind with his nose and turning in my direction. One step, then two steps closer he came peering with more intensity towards the detected sound. All the while I continued studying the deer's face through the scope then pushed the bolt forward again to seat the next round. Having performed the operation, I eased my finger to the trigger for the second time. But now he was facing directly at me. I searched for his body, obscured by the brush, as he nervously scanned in my direction, looking for the noise he had heard. Realizing I had lost the opportunity for a broadside shot I quickly assessed my options when the forgotten doe made a leaf rustling noise that took the attention of the buck off of me, and he turned towards her. To my relief he had once again turned enough to get quartered and I focused the crosshair on his vitals, squeezed the trigger again, and BANG! The deer ran down into the field and collapsed.
When I arrived where the deer was lying, I was pleased to discover the buck was just a bit bigger than I had originally thought, having 11 points. Soon an excited John arrived at the scene with congratulations. After a few pictures, a moment of thanks and a recap of the morning to John, the work began.
Later that night as we recounted the day's events, I knew then how lucky I had been to harvest this buck. Luck in three ways actually. First I was given a second chance to pull the trigger. Secondly, thanks to Hunting Sports Plus for the opportunity to have land to hunt. Third and most importantly, a hunting partner that through his generosity made all of this happen. Thanks John!!