Monday, November 28, 2011

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

My friend, Ed, and I were miserable, disappointed, frustrated and sick at our stomachs on the night of Nov. 13. Shortly before dark, both of us arrowed magnificent, Pope and Young-class bucks on Ed’s small, 45-acre farm in Knox County, Ill. And both of us, no matter our excuses, made horrible shots.

Luckily, my wounded deer headed through the woods toward Ed’s tree stand location after my poor shot. From his stand, Ed watched him walk across a cut cornfield onto the neighboring property – giving us a 500-yard headstart on the tracking job – a small miracle if you ask me. Minutes later, Ed also made a poor hit on a bruising, wide-horned six pointer he hoped would qualify for the record book.

After dark, we headed to back to camp to recount the stories and seek advice from Ed’s dad, Dave, who is the most seasoned and experienced archer I’ve ever met. Dave has harvested big game all over the world with his recurve bow and has truly forgotten more about archery than most of us will ever know.

On Dave’s advice, we decided to begin tracking the wounded bucks the next morning at 10 a.m. Needless to say, I got a miserable night’s sleep.

Ed had another buck tag and with the rut being in full swing, decided to hunt again before we tracked the bucks from the night before. At 7:30 a.m., Ed shot another big Illinois buck – 400 yards from where he shot the big six-pointer the night before! This time, Ed made a great shot and the big, tall-racked buck went a short distance and expired.

The stars continued to align, as against the odds (and my gut feeling), we were able to also recover both bucks from the night before. The end result was three bucks that each qualify for the Pope and Young record book, harvested in a span of 15 hours, on Ed’s 45-acre hot spot. It was an incredible rollercoaster ride for those few hours and I’m so blessed, lucky and thankful for the happy ending. Enjoy the photos!


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