We all say it: “Don’t feel bad, it happens to everyone.”
At the time, we tend to disagree, feeling that such a stupid action can only be kept to ourselves. Sometimes the act can lead to serious consequences, but just as often it leads to a red face as others try to stifle a good laugh. Sometimes the person committing the mistake is the last to know and many times the perpetrator doesn’t want it blabbed all over the place.
My late wife, Eileen, was an excellent deer hunter and the best I have ever known at driving deer. If there were deer in that woodlot, then she would get it moving. But what I am about to relate occurred while she was on the stand and three of us were driving. While I could see nothing wrong with what happened it was a strange bagging of a buck and she never allowed me to write about it. I guess time has allowed me to say that it is time to tell this story.
We had posted her on a slight rise at the spot she thought a buck would emerge as we walked through the thicket. If a buck came out, then she would be about 25 yards from it and slightly higher than where we expected her to first spot it. With the stage set we started our push. The cover I am talking about is a jungle of crabapple, locust trees and grape vines, but it is excellent deer cover. I was about halfway through when I heard Eileen’s .270 crack the stillness. While I was going to finish the drive, it is man’s nature to hurry up a bit and I was the first on the scene. Eileen was walking about looking at the ground. It was Eileen’s .270 I had heard but there was no buck lying on the ground only a lot of white hair.
I started to tease her a bit about missing and grazing the buck’s belly when she told me, in no uncertain terms, to shut up. The other two drivers appeared on the scene and the search began. Finally, after finding a spot of blood the men of this party decided she had hit low. My nephew, who is a witness to this event, thinking she had just grazed the buck, stepped off into the woods for a nature call. We just kept searching the ground as Eileen was adamant that she had hit the buck. Suddenly, the nephew, who also happens to be named George, yelled, “I found it.” Indeed he had. The nice 8-pointer had only went about 40 yards and was lying on the ground as dead as could be.
The one thing I did do for Eileen was field dress her bucks, so I knelt down knife in hand. You won’t believe what I saw. The shot had completely castrated the buck. When I say completely I mean all of the buck’s apparatus was gone. But what had killed it? There was very little blood and I could find nothing inside that was broken.
My brother-in-law, Jack, just couldn’t stand it. He started with “He had nothing to live for.” My nephew George said, “He was embarrassed to death.” I told her she had completely emasculated the male of the species. Eileen did not find any of this funny and told me to shut up or I would be sleeping on the couch. I shut up for one of the few times in my life and we all were sworn to secrecy. She was so upset for some reason.
Even my daughter, Kathy, who helps me clean up my grammar, has never heard this tale of the True Shot or sometimes known as The Sexless Buck. Eileen was probably the most ethical hunter I have ever hunted with. She could sure shoot and she had the patience of Job. The proof of that being she married me, but boy she didn’t like the thought that this shot wasn’t where she had aimed, or maybe she was worried he suffered in some way during his two-minute run. I will never know. My daughter said when I told her the story that she probably didn’t like all three of you seeing that and teasing her. Could be true because we did laugh a bunch and snicker even after for weeks.
While it is easy to make up stories of why we hunt the answer is simple and to the point. We hunt because it is a natural thing for human beings to do. You see, we are predators. We may prey on wild critters or the kind that we raise in the fields and farm, but either way we are predators and that part of our nature has not been wiped out for some of us. Predators have eyes in the front of their heads so as to focus on the animal they seek as a meal. The prey, however, have eyes on the sides of their heads so as to see the predator coming. It’s quite simple really.
As well as being a predator, we are also gatherers. Those are two things that have kept man as a dominate creature, whether or not we want to admit it. Berries and nuts were utilized by early man and some of us hunt and gather them. I hunt and love to pick berries. My problem is I can eat them faster than I can pick them. The black raspberries are on right now, and they are my favorite, so find a nice patch of raspberries and you will find the best that nature has to offer.