By: Ted Nugent
I’m sure you all felt my pain last week when I shared the agonizing horror story of missing my best buck of the season. We have all been there and know all too well the difficulty of trying to get over our painful misses.
Fortunately, I was able to remedy the suffering to a great degree with the healing powers of exciting duck hunts with my beloved dogs Happy, Sadie and Coco and daily bowhunts on our Texas home property, but still the haunting image of that errant crossbow bolt flying under the armpit of that trophy buck creeped back into my psyche more often than I would have preferred.
I practiced diligently with my Excalibur crossbow and various Mathews every day, and in short order felt very confident that I could and would redeem myself when the next opportunity arose.
I hunted each and every day as I have since September of last year, and as we all know, right place right time is always the determining factor in deerhunting, so I kept at it.
The wind got right this afternoon and SpiritWild VidCamDude Bob Bohannon and I headed for an old Primos Double Bull groundblind at the edge of a vast mesquite jungle prairie with my brand-new Mathew’s Vertix bow in hand.
I made sure I practiced from the same sitting position as I would be in the popup and this new bow was putting arrow after arrow as precise as any I had ever shot into my Morrell 3D targets. I was as confident as I could possibly be without getting too cocky.
With the sun dropping behind us and the steady breeze in our face, we could see deer off in the distance of the thick mesquite sanctuary all afternoon.
Numerous does and fawns cautiously filtered in after the Cannon corn feeder shot its load into the field before us, and slowly but surely young bucks made their way in as well.
The deer were berserk spooky, seemingly afraid of their own shadows even though I had given this blind a good two weeks rest.
Hidden really good in the dark shadows of the brushed in Double Bull, the deer would constantly look clean through us, but fortunately never identified us.
After hours of deer coming and going, we saw a big, fat, bulky mature buck far out in the mesquite terrorizing a sapling and scraping up a storm.
This shooter buck taunted us for over an hour with this whitetail waterboarding torture routing before finally coming into 25 yards, facing us the entire time.
I really, really wanted to kill this stag, but was pretty darn proud of my self-control efforts throughout the ordeal.
I kept reminding myself to breathe, ignore his antlers and eyeballs, and do everything in my predator power to relax and calm down.
Yeah, good luck with that!
To make matters as trying as can be, I came to fulldraw four different times as possible shot opportunities seem to arise. Yet alas, I had to let down each time to wait for the correct shot angle.
After what seemed like an eternity, the buck once again jerked his head up, scanning the area intently, and then slowly turned to leave the area.
My new Vertix came back like butter and as the buck turned to his left at 32 yards, my lifelong muscle memory shot sequence mantra went on auto pilot as I drilled a hole into his crease with my eyes. The moment my 30-yard pin touched the spot my arrow was gone and the glowing nock appeared right there where is was supposed to be.
Oh Lord have mercy, what a beautiful arrow it was!
I think I stated on videotape that Jesus must have grabbed my arrow and stabbed that buck in the heart for me and I looked to the heavens with humble joy and overdosed happiness.
Amazingly, during the entire waiting game I never once thought about the recent miss. Each and every encounter with my beloved whitetail deer is like the first time, every time, and it can best be described as out of body!
Hence, the spirit of the wild!
Well, I walked very slowly along the bloodtrail, crazy confident that the buck was mine, and when I saw the dreamy white belly up ahead in the mesquite flats, I paused, looked to the ground and up to the heavens with a sigh. I stood there an extra moment just looking at my deer laying there where he died.
Every hunt, every arrow, every bloodtrail, every recovery is deeply moving to me.
I still cannot get over all those years of bowhunting in the 1950s and 60s when we not only never killed a deer, but rarely even saw any.
I think all those many early years of frustration and resultant perseverance actually fortified and strengthened my deerhunting desires and dreams, and now that I have figured it all out pretty good, holding that dead animal in my hands is magical and emotional beyond any other experience I am aware of. I appreciate it beyond words.
You will see that emotion and gushing happiness on Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV on Outdoor Channel on every hunt, and I believe my thoughts and words reflect the love and sincerity of most hunters out here.
I think I sat with the buck’s head in my hands for a very long time, absorbing and cherishing the amazing series of events that is every hunt.
Not once did I think about that last miss. And I will not think about it ever again.