by Jason Cruise
Right now many hunters are living their annual dream. Chase big bucks, go to work, be a husband and father, all while trying to survive for about sixty days on complete and total sleep deprivation.
Several seasons back a friend of mine invited me to come up and hunt a farm near his home in the mid-west. I was honored, for I'd always wanted a chance to chase big whitetails known in that region. In fairy-tale fashion, I arrowed what has been my largest buck to date: a 14 pointer with a double main beam that scores just shy of 160 inches. The hunt itself was absolutely amazing.
The chase phase of the rut was in full swing, so I was committed to an all day sit. At 3pm, however, I climbed down from that oak to go and sit on the ground about 110 yards north of my stand site due to the fact that all day long I'd noticed deer were crossing the intersection of a wood line and a field edge. It was a horribly risky move because there wasn't a lot of cover for a ground assault, yet I knew I was out of position, so something had to be done.
When he was 90 yards away I grunted at him, and he swung his monster head in my direction. I grunted a second time, he grunted back, and then began to sprint directly at me, running down what he felt was an opportunity to satisfy his greatest craving. He closed the gap from 90 yards to 12 yards in roughly 6 seconds.
Leaning on one knee crouched in sage grass, I shot him at 12 paces. I'll never forget the blurry image of that arrowing reflecting the sunlight as it passed through him and flew out his other side violently as he swung upon its impact. He ran 50 yards, and then dropped. To use a worn out cliché, it was truly the "hunt of a lifetime."
The most elusive animal in North America is a large whitetail buck. No animal is better at staying alive, and no animal is better at adaptation to a hostile environment, than a whitetail buck. Yet, this elusive, wise, savvy survivalist was shot and killed for one simple reason: he was, though be it only temporary, willing to live off of the adrenaline that comes from pure and unfiltered emotion.
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword ... For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.