1. Let he who has never had black-out buck fever cast the first stone
2. In the spirit of hunting, kill what makes you happy; This is my story
The deer I was chasing that year was a Monster Buck:
A year later I was literally climbing the ladder to my buddy stand overlooking a cut corn field at 5:30am when I hear leaves crunching. I looked over my left shoulder to see a buck that had exploded in the last year. The moon was bright and he was so close I could have leaped off the ladder and landed solidly on his back. I won’t pretend to know what he scored but I can say for certain it would have generated a large taxidermy bill had he shown up at shooting light. I watched him walk away never getting another glance at him that year. Finding his sheds in early 2014 gave me hope.
I caught a glimpse of him in 2014 during early bow season and had him broadside at 42 yards in early October. Not confident in my shooting at that range, I watched him leave the field with a harem of no less than seven does. For a moment I thought I was elk hunting.
I kept hunting hard but having to do that silly work thing, I was not able to hunt the chasing period of the rut that year and came into rifle season confident he would make a mistake and chase a doe past one of my stands. I saw a lot of deer the first three days of gun season. Tons of does and a multitude of young bucks but my monster remained a ghost.
Do you know what it is like to want something so bad and the situation just doesn’t turn out like you want it to? You start to second guess yourself and quit doing the things you had been doing that made you successful or at a minimum, got you closer to your goal. And sometimes in that despair you have a black-out moment of darkness.
I believe it was a Tuesday morning when I got up to a brisk zero degrees. I had so many clothes on I could barely move my arms and legs but I took off to the stand in the dark hopeful that this was the day I would punch my tag on my shooter buck.
I climbed into the stand in pitch black darkness. There was no wind and it was dead silent. Suddenly, a snort rang out from the east. Then another, and another and another….. she wouldn’t stop snorting.
To this day I have no idea how she knew I was there but I am certain the snorting was directed solely at me. I sat there freezing my tuckus off in disbelief that my hunt was completely ruined before the sun came up. I decided to sit and as daylight broke, a young buck came from the north and met another buck coming in from the south. They locked horns, postured a little than went their separate ways. And somewhere between the doe snorting and seeing one of those deer lying on the ground I had a bit of black-out deer fever and pulled the trigger. Tagged out, but not on the buck I had worked really hard to
kill. Not even close to the type of deer I set out to kill.
I never saw that buck again. We heard a giant had been killed in 2015 on a farm to the east of ours. It wasn’t too hard to figure out what had happened.
Are you wondering what the point of this story is? I think we can all have black-out moments and fail to stick the plan that is leading us down the road to success. We see it all the time with clients who say they want to lose weight but then succumb to instant gratification in the form of ice cream, pizza, beer, chocolate, BBQ….the list is infinite.
They say they want one thing, but when the road gets hard and they don’t see the results they think they should see, they grab a little piece of something….well actually, sometimes a big piece of something to get a momentary bit of happiness. FYI: they are never happy after the deed is done. It’s one of the reasons they call it instant gratification because after it is over, there is very little that satisfies a person who knows they bailed on their plan.
I truly regret killing that buck and this European mount helps to remind me on a daily basis that the actions I am taking to be more physically fit, a better father, husband, son, friend, business owner, boss, etc. is a work in progress and that if I deviate from the plan, I will not accomplish the big picture prize I have envisioned in my mind.
I regret the action because I took the easy way out. I wanted to brag about killing a buck when in reality, I could have killed a doe that was much bigger if I was simply after meat. I let frustration and the lure of an easy harvest blur my vision and because of it, someone else got my monster.
Had I not pulled the trigger that morning would I have killed my monster? I can’t answer that honestly because we all know that for all of the skill and planning we put into a goal, we also need a little luck. I may have eaten tag soup that year but we will never know because my monster? He is hanging on someone else’s wall.
What goals do you have in your life? Metaphorically speaking or literally, what is your monster buck? Is it weight loss, a better-paying job, a stronger relationship with your spouse or children?
Stick to your plan, people. You will get tempted to take the easy way out but please, don’t pull the trigger in the same way I did because I promise you there is no instant gratification that will ever feel as good as dropping the monster buck goal in your life.