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A change of plans - the ending

December 3, 2017
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

He was headed to me. But something was wrong..

That was the dramatic cliffhanger ending to last week's column. I can only imagine what anticipation has filled many minds over the past week! I like to imagine that anyway. Please join me for "the rest of the story":

There was very little time to assess the buck's antler and body size other than my initial impression that this was a big buck. A big body with a big rack and there were non-typical points. The non-typical rack was that "something was different or wrong" feeling that I had when he was approaching. A running buck covers ground quickly. To my surprise, when the buck reached the field edge, he slowed to a walk and entered the grass strip in front of me. Directly in front of me.

Article Photos

I drew back for the shot. Then he took a step forward. A few steps more and he would be out of the window that I had for a shot. I mouth grunted and the buck stopped but turned and looked up into the tree to see the source of the sound. That is when the arrow took flight hitting him a little farther back than I wished. When it found its mark there was a loud crack and the buck whirled and took the path back from where he had come traveling like a rocket.

The trip up the field waterway took very little time and I watched him top the hill. As many bowhunters can attest, you can feel good about a shot and bad about a shot at the same instant. The buck had traveled farther than I would have liked to see. There is a small patch of trees only 75 yards from my house and I hoped he had bedded there. I decided to let him go until morning with the hope that I would find him in that spot.

The following morning, I was joined by my good friend, Dennis, and together we first went cautiously toward the patch of trees. Sadly, no deer. No sign of the deer. We went back to the shot and trailed the blood which ran out about where the deer had last been seen. Now came the hard part. I was relatively certain the deer had expired by this time. However, without blood to follow there are only about a thousand places that need to be searched.

We walked grass terraces without success. We walked the edges of the nearby standing cornfield to no avail. By 2:30 PM my legs and back were telling to slow up (or maybe it was to stop). But Dennis convinced me to check the Little Wolf Creek because wounded deer will many time head to water. So up the creek we went he on the west side and me on the east.

We checked the bends and the wider grassy areas. Now it was Dennis saying, "This looks like a good place to cross the creek to head back."

"Let's go on a little further," I said. A little further became a little - more further. Finally, at what was likely going to be the last bend, I heard Dennis say, "Is that your deer?"

"No Yes! It's a buck."

It was the object of all our searching. There in the creek was the big buck that I had shot almost 24 hours earlier. He had traveled a little over one half mile. And I believe he went the distance without bedding so expired much quicker than we had expected. Later I would discover that the arrow had cracked a rib, caught a lung, passed through the liver and then lodged inside.

It wasn't until I had the deer in hand that I found that he sported a very unusual rack. He had a very typical 4 points on one side and a very non-typical seven points on the other. A double main beam. In the short time that I had to look at him coming into my tree, I could see that there was some "junk" on the rack bowhunter term for extra points.

After admiring the deer and texting out photos to family and friends, we set about getting the big deer out of the creek, up the steep bank and into the truck. Every deer I have been privileged to harvest has a story and provides a wonderful memory. Harvesting a beautiful and unique buck so near to my home was a bonus and having it be "A Change of Plan" hunt with such a reward was an even that much more special for me.



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