More than once over the years I haven’t followed my gut and regretted it deeply later on. None more so than a decision to not hunt a particular stand in the fall of 2013. Early on in bow season my husband had seen a monster buck while chopping silage. It was just across the river from our home place. His tales of the size of this guy had me intrigued immediately and so the hunt was on.
Hunting in a ground blind a week or so later I heard the faint sounds of splashing in the river next to me. I glanced up and got my first glimpse of the monster buck, Mr. Big Horns. Of course my jaw dropped.
He Appeared to be Wearing a Tree On His Head
The description Adam had given me had not even prepared me for the magnitude of this beast! He appeared to be wearing a tree on his head. His antlers were as dark as coal and tall. Taller than any whitetail I had ever seen. He slowly made his way across the river right at me and closed the gap to about 40 yards. Definitely a very capable range for me but there was no clear shot. Upon reaching the bank he turned and headed down river. Re-immerging just over 200 yards down from me slowly making his way out of a tree line. A pattern he would repeat multiple times over the next couple of weeks.
After many attempts at closing the gap on this monster buck I decided the smartest thing to do was move a tree stand and just let him walk right under me. With the help of my husband and brother in law we moved a stand, and everything was perfect. Perfect that is right up to the point we were leaving and headed home. I needed to grab my bow and head back. Unfortunately the wind switched from the north to the south. We all agreed it was not a good idea to hunt the stand. You see, Mr. Big Horn always came from the north and this would most certainly blow my location.
My Gut Told Me To Get In The Stand
After getting my bow and walking back in I stopped and found myself just staring at that stand. Everything in my gut said get in that stand, don’t worry about the wind. But after several minutes of contemplation I went against my gut and elected to go back to the original ground blind. There was always a chance he’d come close to the bank again and I’d cleared what was blocking my shot before. The time was approaching when he usually started moving and a pesky little fork buck had already made his appearance. A text from Adam came asking if I’d seen him and where I decided to hunt. As I text him back my location I heard something…but it couldn’t be right.
The sound of crashing was coming from south of me, almost right where I had walked in. And then there he was, Big Horns was crashing his way through the food plot I had just come through. I watched and text Adam my predicament much to his amusement while my heart sank. At one point a text from Adam came through and said something like “I bet he walks within range of that stand”. Well no honey he did one better than that. He not only walked within range of the stand, he walked right to the stand and rubbed his big beautiful crown on it for several minutes.
My Mind Got In The Way of My Heart
I cannot describe how physically sick I felt. I knew in my gut to hunt that stand, I had simply let my mind get in the way of my heart. Suffice to say I learned a very valuable lesson to listen my gut instincts. As hunters we often second guess that instinct for what we think or have been told is right. I had one opportunity to take that monster and I blew it, but I can guarantee I will never make that mistake again.
I hunted Mr. Big Horns two more seasons and never got another opportunity to take him with a bow, plenty with a rifle but I wanted this guy with my bow. He never showed this year and as rough as he looked last year I’m guessing this guy died of old age. While I have many fond memories of my quest for the monster buck, Mr. Big Horns, the day of my colossal mistake will haunt me the rest of my years, and will always remind me to listen to what my gut tells me.
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