The Matson Curse
by Adam Matson

11/03 Deerfield, WI

My name is Adam Matson and I have been hunting since I was 13 in Wisconsin I was introduced to this sport by my dad, the unluckiest hunter around. Our family hasn't harvested a buck since 1990. I call it the curse of the Matson's. The bucks just seem to play tricks on me. That is until I arrowed this one.

To start off my dad is an opening weekend hunter, rifle only. He has never bow hunted so I had to teach myself this fine art with only encouragement from my parents. This was my first year bow hunting and I have learned that I enjoy it more than anything else. If a gun season didn't exist I would be fine with it. I am now primarily a bow hunter. I bought the bow myself and found the camouflage at a garage sale. I spend months scouting out the land I hunt in Deerfield. I hunt this land in trade for the farm work I do for the owners, since my family lives in town. They have a pretty large farm which requires a lot of haying and tobacco, but I also love to work outdoors.

The night before the hunt I went with my dad to Gander Mountain and helped him pick out a brand new Deerfield Ruger. Beautiful Gun. While we were there he asked if there was anything I needed for hunting. I said some rattling sticks would be awesome.. he threw them into the cart for me, along with some hand warmers.

Anyways, on that particular morning I woke up at four and was climbing my tree by 4:30. I'm a poor college student so I really don't have money for a tree stand so I climb a tree and sit in a crook aching for hours during the wait for a buck. By six I saw two little does walk under my stand, not having a clue that I was spying on them for the last fifteen minutes. They could have been meat, but something felt good about today. I knew I had a chance for a buck. Around 8 I heard a tiny commotion behind me and instantly tensed up. I didn't want to move in fear of spooking whatever it was. I slowly grabbed my bow and turned around.

Twenty yards away a small spike and a doe had come to my rattling and grunting. My body relaxed. These deer could live another day. They then slowly walked under me and followed the creek for a ways. About 45 minutes I hear a crunching behind me. I turned around in time to see the does coming back my way on a dead sprint. A minute later I saw the spike slowly run past, injured. I start hearing hollowing and crunching. Two hunters were trying to trail the buck, just being as loud as possible. I didn't think that was a very good way to trail a spooked buck, but who am I to say what works. When they saw me I told them which way he went and decided that after all that ruckus my hunt was over for the morning. I was severely disappointed.

I walked out of the woods and started driving down the long driveway when the old farmer's wife flagged me down, running after me. (She ran pretty well for 75!) She said that she needed help programming her new van and garage door opener. I said since my hunt was done I would love to help her. I spent about an hour fixing everything that she wanted done and was about to head home. She asked if I was going back to the woods, I sadly said no, too much commotion already. She told me to go onto the hill. She just has a feeling.

"Why waste my day watching TV when I can be out in the woods?" I thought to myself. I took her advice and headed up to the giant hill. I started up the cattle trail to get to my giant oak I picked out (this tree I stand on a branch). I started to walk through some thorns and torn my skin raw. Oh well, I've had worse. Then I grabbed a hold of the barb wire fence. Smart move.

Once I got settled I pulled out my brand new rattling bag and just started tickling. I added a few grunts and weezes to it. Once again my adrenaline started to rush. I smelt something funny in the air, something musty. All of the sudden I saw a brown body jump out of the thickets, just standing tall and proud looking all around for a fight. I was in complete awe. I didn't even think of grabbing my bow even though he was broadside at 30 yards. I just saw a buck, an anxious buck, pawing the ground, sniffing the air, running on adrenaline. He turned back to the thicket and then I got my nerves back. I grunted twice and OFF HE SPRINTED to the left.. He just high tailed it outta there. I lost all emotion. I just scared him away.

I stood still for a couple seconds thinking what I did wrong. I slowly looked left and I saw the buck come charging in, sniffing the ground and shaking his head in a terrible fury. He wanted to FIGHT! He just couldn't find the other buck. I slowly pulled back my new PSE Nova and aligned the sight on his side. He made his way 5 yards under my tree and let out a grunt. I pulled the trigger on my release and let it fly. The buck stood there for a second and tore off back through the thicket he originally came through. NOOOOO..I saw my arrow sticking in the ground, the red and white fletching staring back at me, mocking me.. I missed.

I looked up and saw the buck come out running from behind a growth of trees and shrubs 50 yards away. One more step and he did a nose dive right into the dirt. His paw was between his horns. He was down. I was so excited I hoped straight down from my tree and looked at the arrow. It was soaked with blood. It had sailed right through the lungs. I was in such joy that I jumped out of my tree and tore off down the trail and grabbed the old farmer in his tractor. "I just shot a big one! I just shot a big one! Now what??? He just laughed at me and told me to calm down; the deer's not going anywhere. He came up and helped me get the deer out of the woods with the four wheeler and then I called my dad to come with the truck.

So many things lead to the harvest of that buck. The rattling horns my dad bought for me the night before, the other hunters wounding a buck, and helping a nice old lady. By helping someone else I have learned that you help yourself.

My dad has never been a man of many words but when he shook my hand after that deer I knew how badly he had wanted me to get a deer throughout all these past years and getting it like this was everything to him and me. The curse of the Matson's has been broken!

Note: I was so excited about that deer, when I got home I realized that I had left my quiver, release, rattling bad, and binoculars all in the tree and had to run back to get them. J

Also, this buck got my girlfriend interested in hunting and I bought her a bow for her birthday. She will be hunting with me this season!

Adam Matson