The BIG Buck that Got Inside My Head & Other Man Stuff
So there was this big whitetail buck that had totally gotten into my head. No, for real. I am not kidding. I had been playing cat and mouse with the crazy thing for two years, trying to make him dead, and I was beginning to think the sucker had supernatural powers. From the time I found the first shed antler from him on our land, I was hooked.
I thought to myself, “Game on, sucker!”
Huh, game on alright. This buck was making me look like an idiot.
I had named this deer “Evander Holyfield” because a huge part of his left ear was missing (remember when Mike Tyson tried being a cannibal?). I guess this buck must have been fighting some other ninja buck or something. I am not sure how he lost that piece of flesh, but with a chunk missing the size of a silver dollar, identifying him on our game camera pictures was easy, even in the middle of winter after he had shed his antlers.
I was downright obsessed with taking down Evander.
I remember going to hunt a spot I call the brushy ridge stand. Man, when the rut is kicking it seems like every buck on the planet flows through this one necked down pinch point. It was November 5th and the bucks were cranked, just flat out brain dead in their quest for girlfriends. I saw over a dozen bucks that morning, just not Evander.
Around noon, on the way back to my electric buggy, I stopped and pulled a memory card out of one of my game cameras. It was on the way so why not. Back to the house, while chowing on a sandwich, I plugged the card into my computer. And I wanted to puke. That morning at 9:59, in broad daylight, while I was in the brushy ridge stand just 200 yards away, Evander waltzed past this camera. I have a tree stand 25 yards from that camera, and almost went there that morning, but didn’t, obviously. ARGH!!!
Here is that picture, just for you skeptics who think this crap doesn’t really happen. Trust me, this stuff happens to me all the time.
So jump ahead two years. Evander was repeatedly dodging me. Oh sure, I was getting his picture. The booger seemed to be posing for my cameras. The arrogant snot. I know, I know, I should have more respect for the animal, and be more politically correct by not venting my blood boiling disgust for what this buck was doing to my male ego. But doggone it, this terd face deserved to die for all the sleep he was costing me.
“Oh yea, Evander, you butt head, it is definitely GAME ON!”
Then I saw him, during daylight hours, following a doe out of one of my corn fields. Forget that he was a half mile away and I was watching him with a spotting scope. The fact was that I finally had a bead on him, and it was only 10:00 A.M. I figured he was going to be locked down with his gal for the day, in a thick bedding area I know well, and she may lead him back out later that afternoon to where I had seen him.
My palms started sweating as I laid out a plan to hopefully get Evander killed.
I knew the likely route he would take later that day if he stayed with that doe.
But then it occurred to me that my wife, Tracy, hadn’t been able to get out hunting much. And trust me, she LOVES chasing critters with her bow. But she is a third grade teacher, and time constraints just don’t allow her the opportunity to hunt as much as I do because I am self employed.
I called Tracy at school and told her I had seen Evander go into what we call the “Pine Hill” bedding area. The plan was set. She got permission to leave school a few minutes early and pulled in our driveway right on cue at 3:00. After her quick shower to get scent free she was ready to roll. She had hunted before from the tree stand I sent her to. As I dropped her off, I gave one last instruction to keep calm and pick a spot behind Evander’s shoulder with her site pin. Her chances were good and she was giddy because she knew it. A quick kiss good bye and she was on her way.
Sure enough, a little more than an hour later the text came through, all in bold caps.
“I JUST SHOT EVANDER, GET OVER HERE!!!”
Tracy had done it. She had watched him approaching her stand for five minutes, kept her wits about her, drilled him right in the heart with a Thunderhead 85 grain broad head, and watched him fall over just 50 yards from her tree. WOW!!!
Here is a picture of one proud lady and the buck we finally caught up to named “Evander Holyfield.” The grins were wide around the supper table that night.
But do you know what? What meant the most to me that day was just how second nature my calling Tracy at school was. Sure, I had been chasing Evander for two years. Sure, I wanted to whack him in the worst way. But the thought of someone I love taking him made me smile inside, where smiles really count for something. I truly wanted Tracy to get a shot at that deer more than I wanted to get him. I knew what it would mean to her. And I gotta tell ya’ guys, there is just something about being unselfish that feeds the soul.
Til’ next time, keep it real!
~ About Dave Fleet ~
Dave Fleet is the Author of the book F.A.M.I.L.Y. – Forget About Me I Love You – The Fight to Be an Unconditional Man. Dave is a guy’s guy. He enjoys sports, the outdoors, music, long walks on the beach with his wife, and being a dad. His passion is helping men unlock the fight within them to be unconditionally dedicated and deliberate in all they do. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and children.