Curiosity Kills the Buck

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Curiosity Kills the Buck
By James Southerton

At the spot of the miss, stood my arrow – LED nock at full radiance. The anxious deer scanned the countryside in bemusement. “I can’t believe I blew it!” I muttered in dismay. He was now standing well out of my range at 50 yards . . .

My hunting adventure commenced after a long day of teaching. When the final bell rang, I bolted to the parking lot, sprang into my Jeep, and quickly drove home in serious need of some tree-stand therapy. There, I dressed in my camo, grabbed my gear – which included my newly-equipped LED-nocked arrows – hopped back into my vehicle, and headed to the woods. (My lighted nocks usually assist with locating errant shots, but on this day, they would carry out an unforeseen mission.)

Upon arrival, I took the short stroll to my ladder stand. I was encouraged by the slight northwest breeze; from my perspective, this would counter the keen nose of an approaching deer. With about an hour of sunlight left, I pulled an arrow from my quiver, clicked the LED nock to my bowstring, and began the peaceful wait.

As dusk settled in, I heard a rustling of leaves coming from the tree line behind me. Sure enough, a nice six-pointer strutted into the soybean field just slightly out of my comfortable shooting range. “If he gives me the perfect shot,” I whispered to myself, “I’ll have to take it.” On cue, he quartered away almost daring me to fire. I placed my pin on his vitals and released!
Startled, the buck bounded into the air and trotted 20 more yards to his left. At the spot of the miss, stood my arrow – LED nock at full radiance. The anxious deer scanned the countryside in bemusement. “I can’t believe I blew it!” I muttered in dismay. He was now standing well out of my range at 50 yards.

Suddenly, noticing the bright LED taper calling his name, the buck was drawn to where all the commotion had originated. He could not contain his curiosity as he sauntered towards the illumination in the field. I nervously loaded another arrow. The deer began sniffing the grounded projectile as if he were a dog at a shimmering hydrant. I thought for sure he would detect my human scent on the shaft, but he just stood there bewildered over what had just happened.

At this moment, he was facing me at 30 yards, but then he made the fatal mistake of turning broadside to revisit his point of entry. He skittishly stepped to within my range at about 27 paces. As I drew, I blurted a grunt in his direction. He halted, perked up his ears, and I let the death-arrow fly. I saw it punch right behind his front shoulder, hearing that perfect “pop” sound of a double-lung strike. He vaulted into the air and then took off like a dart into the high CRP grass. I knew that I had made a great shot, but there was no evidence of a pass-through as only the first arrow lingered.

Aware of the lethal placement, coupled with the dimming conditions, I began to follow his trail at once. Unfortunately, I could find no substantial sign of blood. The tall CRP grass provided a vast disadvantage for even the most experienced sleuth. Searching for a glow, I could not see the second nock anywhere.

Having shot a deer three years earlier that had taken a similar route, I had a hunch where my nocturnal trophy may have proceeded. I quickly trudged my way through the 150-yard strip of towering meadow to find my six-pointer lying in a harvested corn field – almost exactly where my buck three years before had expired.

Strangely, the death-arrow was nowhere to be found; I’m guessing it made its way to the bottom of the CRP field during the buck’s futile exit. Come what may, my initial wayward shot allowed me to bag this inquisitive six-pointer. I will never forget that incredible evening, and from that point onward, I have utilized LED nocks with all my hunts.

Submitted: September 25, 2018

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Submitted: September 25, 2018

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