John's Journal...

Cliff Hanger Bucks

The Underwear Buck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Many 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.Click to enlarge

Some deer-hunting seasons ago, Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, vice president of Mossy Oak in West Point, Mississippi, and Toxey Haas, the president, hunted near Columbus, Mississippi, for 5-consecutive days, but saw only one doe. However, they found the ultimate funnel. “This land bridge that ran between a hardwood acorn flat and a thickly-covered bedding site was matted with deer tracks,” Strickland reports. At the beginning of the hunt, the men felt confident that Haas not only would arrow a nice buck at this spot, but also that Strickland, sitting in the same tree, would video the kill for one of the Mossy Oak videos. However, the following week, 2 hours after daylight, the twoMississippi hunters still hadn’t spotted a buck. Haas looked over at a nearby canal and the sheet of ice covering the water and asked Strickland what he’d do if Haas shot a buck that raClick to enlargen out into the water. Strickland told Haas confidently that, “If you shoot a buck, I’ll go out there in the water and get him. Since we’ve seen no dClick to enlargeeer in 6 days, I’m not too worried about getting wet.”

But a minute later, the two hunters heard footsteps in the leaves. Strickland looked up and saw a 200-pound, 7-point buck with massive antlers, each with a base circumference of about 5 1/2-inches. Haas drew his bow, released the arrow and with the deer at 20 yards, made a perfect hit. The buck bolted, but then became hung-up in some vines on the edge of the water. By the time the buck had freed himself, he was exhausted but jumped in the water and started swimming the canal before dying in 3-foot-deep water. “I got out of the tree and took my clothes off, except my long-john underwear,” Strickland says. “I waded-in and got Toxey’s buck. I still remember just how cold that water was and how glad I was to get back to shore and put on dry clothes.”

Tomorrow: Buck Missing

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 3