John's Journal...

Cliff Hanger Bucks

The Ice-Water Buck and the Vanishing Buck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Some of America’s best deer hunters have lost bucks when they’ve thought they’ve taken them. Sometimes hunters recover their lost bucks, but at other times they don’t. The moments between arrowing a deer and recovering a buck are some of life’s cliff-hanging experiences when you either arrive at the summit, or your emotions and your spirit are dashed on the rocks of defeat. Most deer hunters encounter cliff-hanger bucks that become memories of a lifetime.

The Ice-Water BClick to enlargeuck – Miserable and Memorable:
Three days after Christmas one year, Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, a longtime, avid bowhunter, spotted a nice-sized 8-point buck walking within his bow range. He released the arrow on the buck and knew he had made a good hit. After waiting 30 minutes, Walker came out of his tree stand to blood-trail the deer. The trail led down to an iced-over beaver pond where beavers had backed-up a small creek. “I saw my buck lying dead on the other side of the pond,” Walker says. “I crossed the beaver dam to reach my deer, so I wouldn’t get wet. As I was wondering how I could drag the deer across the beaver dam, the buck stood up less than 10 feet from me. Jumping back, I fell into the pond with its 1/2-inch-thick ice.” Dripping wet up to his armpits and nearly freezing to death, Walker waded back to the bank, picked up his bow and quiver and once again started pursuing his buck, jumping him two more times before Walker finally got close enough to put a second arrow in him. But Walker’s misery still hadn’t ended. “After field-dressing the buck, I still had to drag him across the beaver dam and back to my vehicle,” Walker says. “Although I took my buck, I had one of the most-memorable yet miserable hunts of my life.”Click to enlarge

The Vanishing Buck:
Will Primos of Flora, Mississippi, the creator of Primos Game Calls, recalls a hunt one season at Bent Creek Lodge near Jachin, Alabama. “The owners had shown me an acorn flat at the base of a bluff with a trail leading up to a green field,” Primos rememberClick to enlarges. “Hopefully I could intercept a buck stopping to feed on the acorns before going to the green field at dark by taking a stand away from the field. Then I’d have plenty of shooting light left.” Long before dark, Primos spotted a nice-sized 9 point moving within 20 yards of his tree stand and released the arrow.     “Almost broadside, the deer was turned just slightly to me,” Primos explains. “I doubled-lunged the deer, watched him run about 75 yards and then fall. Iwalked over to the spot where I’d seen the buck go down, but my buck had vanished.” Primos found his arrow covered from tip to nock with foamy lung blood. Primos picked up the blood trail and followed it for 60 yards before the buck jumped-up and ran-off again. When the blood trail crossed a big log, Primos stood on top of the log. He spotted a beaver pond less than 100-yards away and feared he’d lost the animal there. But then Primos saw his buck about 20-yards away. As Primos explains, “I’ll never forget how bad I felt when I reached the place where the buck had vanished, and how happy I was when I finally discovered my buck.”

Tomorrow: The Underwear Buck

Check back each day this week for more about "Cliff Hanger Bucks"

Day 1: The Two-Year Recovery and the Statue Buck
Day 2: The Ice-Water Buck and the Vanishing Buck
Day 3: The Underwear Buck
Day 4: Buck Missing
Day 5: The Underwater Buck


Entry 476, Day 2