Outdoors Column: A Good Luck Charm

Mathew had two tags to fill, one buck and one doe. He had three days left to fill them. For four days, he had passed on the does, since a person can easily score a doe as they mill about below their stand, or so he thought. He had also passed on many bucks, waiting for that one trophy. He knew he would know the buck when he saw it; he just had not seen it yet. When a person has been applying for a non-resident deer license for four years and finally gets drawn, one wants to make their buck a trophy. The trail cameras my wife and I check all year show a number of bucks anyone would be proud to take home.


Before he started hunting, Mathew put up one of his tree stands just up the hill from the cedar scrape, frequented by large numbers of deer. Because of the traffic he saw there, he never used his other stands for fear of the minute he moved, the largest buck in the world would walk past. Each day he was in the stand early and hunted until after dark. During this time, he enjoyed the sights and sounds of the forest. All would be quiet when suddenly leaves would rustle coming down the hill toward him. The noise made would cause a person to expect to see four or five deer running toward them. Instead it would be one squirrel playing in the leaves. Footsteps, sounding like a person walking through the woods would instead turn out to be a turkey.


One daily visitor was a young doe and her fawn. The fawn must have been born late as it was only about half the size of its mother. Mathew decided, he could not take this doe. She presented an easy shot every day, but he was afraid the fawn might not make it through the winter without its mother. The doe would be his good luck charm.


Mathew and his buck


On Wednesday morning, he decided he would guarantee a freezer full of venison by filling his doe tag, just not with the doe he had gotten to know.  Shortly after dawn, two does walked into his shooting lane. He readied his bow but noticed the deer were acting nervous and kept looking behind them. They came closer, finally stopping at the base of his tree. They were still glancing back so Mathew waited for a minute to see what was bothering them. His patience paid off. He was ready to take the bigger of the two does when he saw the buck move into the clearing in front of the stand. He moved slowly and deliberately closer to the does with his nose to the ground, never looking up. Mathew knew without hesitation that this was the buck he had been waiting for. He drew and let the arrow fly, dropping the buck in his tracks.


The rest of the day was filled with boning out the meat, calls to the taxidermist, and general celebration. Mathew hunted his final two days but was never presented a shot at a doe, except his friend and good luck charm that had a free pass. It was enough to get the trophy of his dreams, plus enough meat to last the winter. The smile never left his face the rest of the time he was here.