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Conservation-I Can’t Believe It (continued) By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
November 27, 2019

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You will recall from last week, that while bowhunting I had a buck come in to check out my doe decoy. It was around sunset and I was caught off guard. Did I mention that it was a nice buck? It was cold and I very slowly had to rise from the seat and ready the bow. All the while having to do it when the buck's attention was away from me and on the decoy. After having bow in hand and my release attached to the string, I turned my gaze back to where the buck had been standing but he was gone! I couldn't believe it. I basically had the trunk of the maple tree between me and the decoy. I now moved forward to look around the front of the tree and to my relief, the buck had circled around and was approaching the decoy from the side and rear. Just like I wanted except he was headed toward things on a path that would take him between two large trees. There wasn't much of a shot and I feared that when he reached the decoy he would figure things out and bolt away taking my shot opportunity with him. I couldn't wait for the right shot angle that was likely never going to present itself. He was coming on a path straight at me. When he turned enough to be quartering toward me, I decided to take the shot placing the sight pin as close to the shoulder as possible. Mind you, this all happens in split second terms to make the decision right or wrong. I released the arrow and although back on the deer because of the angle, it looked like a lethal shot. I use a lighted nock which activates on release and I could see the location as the buck whirled and took off. In a matter of seconds, a buck can travel quite a distance and when it stopped, I was praying he would expire. But after a time, he moved a few steps forward and again I prayed he would fall. But no. With the next steps he was out of my sight. Things can seem so right and so wrong at the same moment. It was at this time that I began to shake a combination of cold and excitement. It was low teens for temp. I got down and made my way to the vehicle. I so badly wanted to follow the trail right then before it got dark. But experience told me that there were too many variables to risk pushing him. I called my friend Dennis and discussed things. I went home and had supper. Gathered other clothes, handwarmers, and flashlights. I met Dennis and my son, Sean, back at the site about three hours later and we started out into the cold. The shot had been at about twenty yards. In the snow-covered woods we could follow the tracks and pick up enough blood trail to walk along pretty easily. Moving cautiously after awhile we came to where I had last observed the deer. I will admit that it was at this point, I was giving thought to backing off and waiting until the morning light. It was then that Sean said "What's that up ahead, Dad?" It was the buck. He had expired right after I last saw him. Did I mention that it was nine degrees now? Picture taking is difficult at night anyway but my phone was dying. Flashes weren't working the best but the three of us made pretty short work of getting him back to my Explorer. More pictures could come later and did. Right then I was thankful for family, friends, and prayer.

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