Okay, so here’s the ending to the story of my first hunting trip. If you have not already done so, it would be beneficial to read the beginning of the story here.
Seeing as how it was my first hunt ever, I had not idea that this wasn’t something that was normal and simply began to congratulate my dad on his nice buck. “I didn’t shoot this buck” was all he said at first, staring at it in disbelief. Nobody had ever intruded on the property that he knew of, yet there was a really nice buck laying there already gutted and with a slashed throat.
I couldn’t except that my dad had not shot this buck. We knew that it was the same buck we had shot at because it was too close not to be and looked exactly like the one that trotted by. I began examining the buck for any signs that we had in fact hit the deer and almost immediately found a bullet hole directly through the center of the bucks shoulders in his back, confirming that my dad had in fact made great shot. There was no exit, which accounted for why we found zero blood before finding the deer. As I was examining the buck, my dad was looking around for where someone else could have shot the buck from.
That’s when he remembered about the odd orange flag I kept saying that I saw all morning. Soon after, he spotted the permanent treestand that was build from fallen sticks sitting up in a group of 3 trees. Once getting up there, it was easy to see why the orange “flag” kept going in and out of site. One of the trees was in the perfect spot to block the hunter from view of our stand.
My examination of the deer ended with a quick check along the throat wound to see if the poacher had used his bullet hole as a starting point for his cut but I found nothing. The only bullet hole in that entire deer was the one my dad had put in between the shoulder blades, an impossible shot from the makeshift permanent stand.
In the end, my dad allowed the poacher to take “his” harvest and exit the property after returning with a 4 wheeler to drag it out. The best he could do was inform the land owner that evening and finish the hunting season hunting from that makeshift permanent stand so that nobody else could. That was my first, and best lesson in why we hunt. We do not hunt for the harvest, but rather for the time we get to spend with our friends and loved ones enjoying the outdoors. We came home empty handed that year but I still consider it to be one of the best hunts of my life to this point. This was a great lesson, but I had one more to learn before the short 3 day shotgun season was over. Come back for a visit to hear what that was.