The Second Chance Buck
North Bend, PA
12/10/2000

   

Hi, I'm Martin Lewis of North Bend,PA. I'm 40 years old and have been hunting since age 13.Living in north-central PA,I have a wide varity of game to hunt and make an effort to hunt as much as I can.

I was looking forward to this buck season more than most due to the fact that I had not hunted at all last year.I had decided not to hunt because I was getting bored with it.

For the opening day I had decided to hunt buck in an area I had been hunting turkey in.The fact that I had a VERY NICE 8-point walk up to me and strut his stuff added to the decision!I estimated him to have a 16" or better spread and was very large bodied for our area.He was a deer I would have loved to hang on my wall next to the 10 point I killed in '95.

Opening day arrived and was off to a sour start.I awoke at 5:05,20 minutes later than I had set the alarm for.I checked to see what the problem was and found I had set it for PM instead of AM.Fortunily I had laid everything out the night before and was soon ready to hit the road. I made and packed my lunch,grabed my .270,coat and sweet shirt and headed out the door as my wife was calling out "good luck" and waiting for a kiss.

I was surprised there was nobody else in the area I was going to hunt. It is a triditional "hot spot" with two hunting camps near by.I climbed out of my truck and proceeded to get myself together for the days hunt. I loaded my .357 and holstered it then started putting on my extra clothing, sweet shirt,camo jacket and vest hich had the requierd 250 square inches of blaze orange and my hunting licessance attached to it. To my horror my vest was no place to be seen!I visualized it hanging on he back of the dining-room chair where I hung it the night before!

I unloaded my pistol and removed my jacket in disgust.I climbed back in my truck and headed home to get my vest.It was 6:00,one hour before daylight and I now had an hour drive and half hour walk before I could get to my spot!

The trip off the hill was murder!I had to conted with other hunters driving in both directions trying to get to there spots but the worst part was driving down a narrow mountain road when everyone else was driving up!

At 6:10 I walked in my house to some very strange looks from my wife.
"That was fast!" she said.
"I forgot my F*%$#@* vest!" I said.

I grabed my vest and headed back out.The trip back out was as bad as the trip in but at least I was going the same direction as the parade this time.Slowly one or two of the vehicles ahead of me would pull into a spot and I finaly had open road and was off to the hot spot again.

I was amazed to find there were no vehicles parked in the area I was going to hunt.Until that time I was planing on hunting a different place because I assumed there would be other hunters in the area before I could get back.

It was 7:00,I had planed to be sitting in my spot by now but I still had a half hour walk just to get there.I quickly dressed and loaded and headed out the old log road to my spot. On the walk out I kicked up a deer or two but it was still to dark to get a good look at them. But seeing them caused me to unsling my rifle and remove my scope covers.

When I reached the end of the old road,I kicked up three doe.It was light enough to see and I was able to scope all three of them very well. They ran into the lauryel and to my left,which was fine with me as I was headed to the right.

I followed the edge of the lauryel to the place I had decided to sit in. It was 7:25,I steped around the tree I was going to sit under and took a good look around.About 100 yards in front of me a caught my trophy 8 slowly walking to my left! In the mili-second between seeing him and firing, I had him down,gutted,draged out,skined,butchered and on the way to the taxadermist!

I fired and to my horror the ground in front of him exploded!I had fired too quickly and missed!I knew it as soon as the gun went off, I had broken one of the rules of hunting and shooting,"make the first shot count"! Yes at 40 years old I had gotten "BUCK FEAVER"
The deer troted off to the lauryel patch and stoped a few yards into it. I side steped to get a second shot but that little motion was enough to get him to bound into the dark thickness of the lauryel!

Being was good hunter,I went to look for blood.I knew in my heart I had missed cleanly but I had to go look.I checked where I had first fired at
him and the place he had disappeared in,but found nothing!

I went back to my tree and pondered what to do now, I knew he would not be back anytime soon.I decided to sit and see what would happen. As I was about to sit down,I heard a twig snap to my left and a little behind me.I slowly turned expecting to see anouther hunter but to my surprise there stood a deer about 60 yards away!A buck no less!I raised my rifle at carefully aimed.I suqezed off a shot and saw him learch! He ran toward me and stoped. Having just missed a sure kill I wasn't about to let this one get away.I pumped the action and fired a second shot which imeaditly droped him!

After I calmed my self I walked over and took the first real look I had at this deer.To my amazment I had killed an 8-point! Not the 8_point I had started out after but an 8-point just the same!

I sat on a near by stump feeling quite proud and disapoited in my self at the same time.I was thrilled to have killed a buck on opening day,the first time ever! But I was disapointed in having missed "the big one". I ate my lunch but called it breakfast.I then went to work preparing to drag my kill out of the woods. By 10 AM I was home and enjoying my day off.

It seemed odd to have a hunting license and be sitting at home so early in the season.

Martin Lewis