3 years ago today...the only time I thought poaching would be ok (long story)

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by wildcatfan, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. wildcatfan

    wildcatfan Spike

    Dec 20, 2013
    Well this is the story of the 2015 deer season hunting a true buck of a lifetime. In August of 2015 I started seeing a deer leaving the woods on my farm to eat beans in a neighbors field that I believed to be low to mid 190's class deer. Obviously me and my teenage son were shocked and thrilled to have a chance to hunt a true giant. By the bow opener I felt I had figured out the big thicket the buck was bedding in. Opening evening the wind was perfect and the deer read the script passing by at about 30 yards late afternoon but what I never factored for was a group of 5 does and fawns that were within 10 yards of my stand at the time and one of the does busted me drawing back... taking the buck out of there. After that the pics and sightings completely stopped of the buck.

    Right around Halloween the buck started showing back up on my cameras at night as well as twice midday. We hunted the deer every chance the wind was right with no luck. Friday morning the day before rifle season I got a call from a cop friend to tell me the night before he had responded to a call where a lady in a car had hit what was supposedly a huge buck on the 2 lane road beside my farm. The vehicle had major front end damage and he said that even though the deer wasn't in sight he didn't believe the deer survived. So I went and walked my entire farm with no results figuring it had to be the deer I was hunting. First afternoon of rifle season my son killed his largest buck ever 153 even net. The 6th day of season with no sightings I killed my largest bow buck that scored 158 6/8 net thinking the big deer was dead.

    I had gotten a new trail camera for Christmas so late in the afternoon I took it to the farm to replace the only camera I had left out over a brassica plot to make sure it worked. When I got home and checked the card on previous camera the big deer was again back and in horrible looking shape. He had lost a lot of weight and he was carrying his front left leg and it appeared to be rotated outwards at the shoulder. The next night I set in my truck watching the brassica plot and right before dark the big guy came out limping terribly. Not only was he packing his front left leg he appeared to barely be able to walk on his left back leg. It was painful to watch this guy attempt to get around. Me and my son were out of a buck tag but I knew exactly who to call. A very good friend of mine had been battling stage 4 colon and lung cancer for 2 years. It had went into remission for a short period then came back with a fury. He fought and fought trying to make it to one more deer season... he was a die hard hunter and knew 2015 would be his last season. He tried to hunt the rifle season and each day was a major struggle just to get him from his house and into a truck but he fought threw it. His will to try to finish the season was admirable knowing how much pain he was in and how much he struggled to make it through each hunt. I had set a ground blind up that I could drive him right up to but he just couldn't get a shot on one he wanted. By late Muzzleloader season he was too weak and couldn't be off of his O2 so he hung it up thinking his deer hunting was over.

    So I called him up to tell him the buck was still alive and what horrible shape it was in. Judge me however you choose but I told my buddy I would drive him to a blind at the edge of the plot so no walking needed and hunt the deer with a rifle if need be. He was unable to walk more than a few feet and constant O2 plus not being able to draw his bow anymore didn't leave many options. He wanted to go see the deer if possible so the next afternoon we set in the truck again watching the plot and the big buck came out early limping horrible. At one point he laid down in the plot and just ate what he could reach laying there. I couldn't possibly, accurately explain how much trouble the deer had trying to get back to his feet after laying there for around 10 minutes or so. This deer taught me how much will to live a deer has and just how tough an animal they truly are. When we left I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he couldn't do it. He said he had never violated a single game law his entire life and didn't want to end it like that and risk losing the rifle he wanted to leave for his son. I told him I felt the most hardened, strict game warden would have a hard time fining him or taking his gun under these circumstances (deer's condition and his). He said just as much he felt like him and that deer were in a race to see who went first and modern medicine had given him an additional 1 1/2 years on his life he didn't want to end that deer's life that way. He said it was the biggest deer he had ever laid eyes on and it was obviously an old warrior who deserved the chance to try to survive...so I respected that. I got the last picture I ever got of that deer on Jan 10th, 2016, never found the deer or the sheds. By early February my friend was bed ridden and early March he was gone.

    I think about my friend often but especially during the holidays. Thinking back I'm not proud of myself for putting my friend in the position that I did. Asking him to compromise his beliefs by not taking the deer the right way. I am DAMN proud that he chose to go out the same way he lived his life...as a stand up guy. Was thinking about all of this today and was just missing my old friend...even in his last days he was a hell of a man who left this world way too early. I would have never thought any less of him if he took me up on the offer but thinking back I think even more of him for declining. Sorry for the long winded story.
  2. 300winmag

    300winmag 12 pointer

    Sep 1, 2009
    I think you did what any of us would do, Merry Christmas.
    Genesis 27:3 likes this.
  3. luckychucky

    luckychucky 6 pointer

    Aug 5, 2008
    Manchester ky
    Great story! I have friends that I hunted with that is no longer with us and I can relate to your thoughts. I miss my friends too. These memories are testimonies of blessings of times that God gives us with the hunts we love and the people we hunt with.
    Travis Davis and wildcatfan like this.
  4. Cornpile

    Cornpile 12 pointer

    Dec 1, 2006
    Kornfield County,KY
    Thank you for that story. Heart felt and well done. It reminds me of my huntin bud Lee I lost this past May,
    We are fortunate to have known men such as these.They remind us of the way true honest men should be.
    May God bless them and I have no doubt that he has.
  5. kyhunter99

    kyhunter99 12 pointer

    Dec 21, 2014
    Probably in the kitchen Ky
    This would be a good article to submit to a magazine.
    Travis Davis likes this.
  6. hickslawns

    hickslawns Fawn

    Dec 2, 2018
    Great story. I think no less of you. Don't know you. I would think no less of anyone who offered this opportunity. I don't agree with it, but can see where a man would do everything he could to help a friend near his death. Good lessons to be learned reading this. Hats off to your friend for maintaining his values.
  7. 44mag

    44mag 6 pointer

    Sep 21, 2005
    Great story.... we all have people that have passed on that we miss hunting with .... and there is been plenty of times that im sure we as hunters has been put in spots that make us think about doin dumb stuff but thats just the adrenaline that sets in sometimes i know ive thought about it but didnt follow thru and was glad after the fact that i didnt.
    Travis Davis likes this.
  8. wildcatfan

    wildcatfan Spike

    Dec 20, 2013
    Thanks guys. One thing I wanted to clear up was this. The night he and I watched the buck there wasn't any weapon in the truck. It was me, him, 2 pair of bino's and a couple Dr. Peppers lol. We were on the way home when I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me later that he had never considered shooting the deer when offered for even a second. Instead his sole purpose of wanting to go watch the field was just to see the deer. He had seen the pictures and certainly had heard me whine about the doe messing up opening day over and over and over. He had just never got to actually see the deer. I didn't want anyone to misunderstand due to my wording and think that he went there that night with the intention of killing it. Also in case any of you were wondering, at that point, I had never heard of the crossbow exemption (still not sure it existed then). That could have been a way for him to legally hunt the deer until Archery ended if either of us had known. Neither of us owned a crossbow but I sure as hell would have bought one to give him a chance to legally take that deer. For the one fella who said he didn't agree with it I totally get that and I don't agree with what I did either. In fact it's embarassing now that I ever thought it was a good idea. Hopefully he is looking down on me from upstairs laughing at my "silly ass" as he would say, for posting about him on a random message board. Again thanks for the nice comments
  9. Genesis 27:3

    Genesis 27:3 10 pointer

    Oct 13, 2018
    Christain county
    Great story.life is full of memories and lessons.I always try to grow and learn from heartache and pain just like the happy and joy life brings.
    Travis Davis likes this.
  10. hickslawns

    hickslawns Fawn

    Dec 2, 2018

    It didn't sound like you agreed with it either. BUT. . .I wasn't walking in your shoes at the time. I wasn't judging. Until we are in that position we never know what thoughts go thru our mind. Sounds like it was nothing more than "a thought" shrugged off as "Not an option." At the end of the day, I'm glad you got to see the deer together and spend that time with him. We can buy things and sell things. The one gift we can only give once is our time. Every second we have on this Earth is valuable and we cannot get it back. You gave him your time. Good on you!
  11. littlebear

    littlebear 12 pointer

    Aug 21, 2007
    the woods
    Very good story.
    Travis Davis likes this.
  12. ShellcrackerFishing

    ShellcrackerFishing Fawn

    Nov 18, 2018
    Kuttawa Kentucky
    I'm surprised he even wanted to go on a hunt, I really am. I'm talking about mentally checking out, not having any desire to hunt. When death is in sight, the idea to go bag a trophy deer simply is not important anymore.

    Things that were of critical importance to us in health, are meaningless in sickness. That said, your friend sounds like a wonderful person. I lost my mom AND dad to colon cancer, it's a despicable disease.
    Travis Davis and wildcatfan like this.
  13. wildcatfan

    wildcatfan Spike

    Dec 20, 2013
    Sorry for your loss. I've learned that as time passes all the memories that you made with your buddy will become even more meaningful to you.
    Travis Davis likes this.

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