MY “SECOND CHANCE” BUCK
By Lee Phillips, Excalibur Field Staff
My friend Wade Derby at Crosshair Consulting sent me a photo of a whitetail buck that had very long brow tines. I was really impressed with the deer, and soon I made arrangements to go after the buck with Butch and Deb Dick at their Dragon Creek Ranch in North Dakota.
Butch picked me up at the airport in Fargo, and we enjoyed a nice conversation during the 70 mile ride back to their place. As we were driving along, Butch says…”I hope you realize that this is not a guaranteed hunt”, and I replied with my agreement since I knew they had 660 acres (one square mile) under high fence. Butch said…”That is good – because we haven’t sent the deer you’re interested in – in 10 days”. My heart just sank. My only thoughts were that if they haven’t seen him – how were we going to get him in front of us at 20 to 30 yards?
I tried to remain positive. The plan was for me to use Butch’s crossbow since this saved me the task of taking mine on the flight. I took some practice shots at 20 yards, but the North Dakota wind was so strong that it kept blowing me off center – so much that I was missing the target all together. We then used the hood of Butch’s truck as a rest, and I was hitting dead on. We were now ready to go that evening.
That evening we settled into a box blind, and it didn’t take long for the deer sightings to begin. We saw a few does and a couple of bucks, but not the one we had hoped for. Butch was on my left with a pair of binoculars serving as the spotter. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement on the right but I didn’t want to move and spook the deer. Butch slowly raised his binoculars and said…”Hey it’s that buck with the tall brows and a smaller one. If they keep coming they should pop out in front of us right at 30 yards”. That is exactly what they did. I let them pass until they stopped for a moment. I put the 30 yard crosshair on the big boy’s chest and squeezed the trigger….and both deer bolted away!
I screamed…”I got him” and Butch replied…”No you didn’t”. Butch could see the blue fletching of the arrow laying on the ground close to where the deer was standing. The deer had ran off about 70 yards, and Butch said…”Just sit tight”. The big buck kept looking back in our direction, and after a couple of minutes he slowly began walking towards us. He continued to keep a slow but deliberate walk. Butch said…”He can’t help his curiosity. If he comes back to sniff that arrow, you put that 30 yard pin on him and let him have it”. Sure enough, the big buck walked right up to the arrow and put his head down to sniff it. I put the bow up with the crosshairs right on him, and I just needed him to step sideways for a better broadside shot. He took two steps to the right, and the bow made a “twang” as I squeezed the trigger. Butch said …”You got him!” as the buck was running away from us as hard as he could go. The buck went down at 70 yards out, and Butch and I were both ecstatic – both with the fact that he came back, and that this time my arrow hit the true mark!!!