Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

I’m sure prayers are said in deer stands. Some may even involve something other than asking for a big buck to walk by.
On Sunday, the last day of the firearms deer season, I said a prayer. “Send a buck Evan’s way Lord.”
Now that’s not the first time I’ve said that prayer and to be honest I struggled with adding in “or Jake’s” since both are due to shoot a buck.
But this would be Evan’s first buck and he’s waited longer. Sorry, Jake.
Settled in a noisy stand on the quietest of days, I didn’t have to worry about shooting a buck myself. Every time I moved a muscle the stand sounded like it was going to fall apart and slide down the tree at any second.
But I prayed and waited. Two hours later the sound of Evan’s rifle barking broke the silence and caused me to jump up in the stand.
Rifle in one hand, cell phone in the other I waited to find out what he shot. There was no second shot, always a good sign.
Bob Cary and his old friend Al Ito used to say this: “One shot, deer. Two shots, maybe deer. Three shots, no deer.” That’s true more often than you think.
Finally the phone lit up: “Fork…Dead deer!!!”
“YES!” I replied and Jake did as well.
Jake and I had driven together around the swamp but I didn’t want him to give up his hunt early. So I packed up and headed across the swamp on foot.
The foot of snow that came down Friday had perfectly insulated the swamp. There wasn’t any part of it that was frozen. Sacrificing the butt end of my rifle to get me out of a hole was worth it though.
Evan was smiling ear to ear. You can bet I was as well.
He told the story of how the deer had come in to the same stand his sister had been sitting in on opening weekend.
It crossed from left to right but he waited for a clear shot, all the while holding his breath. With the cold he didn’t want to give the deer any reason to realize there was a human breathing out warm air nearby. There was also the concern of letting out a cough and sending the buck bounding through the forest.
Evan’s single shot was true. The deer went 20 feet and dropped. As Bon Jovi would say, “Shot through the heart.”
We took some photos and positioned the deer to field dress it. Evan got out his knives, put the gutting gloves and did a darn good job.
“It’s so warm,” he said as he got started.
Working carefully but efficiently Evan got the job done and we were ready to load up the wheeler and head for the shack.
That’s two years in a row for our camp to get a deer on the last day. And three deer for the 2016 season at Camp Cholesterol.
So many guys I’ve talked to asked how we did the last weekend and when I tell them Evan got his first buck, they all nod and smile. They know that’s better than any deer I could have shot.
Prayers answered in the deer stand.