Whitetail Memories

14 Apr

The first buck I ever shot with a bow.

The first buck I ever shot with a bow.


Saturday morning while I was giving my garage a thorough spring cleaning I ran across something that made me stop and do a little reminiscing. I opened up a 55 gallon trashcan where I keep all of my smaller and chewed up sheds. Laying right on top of the pile was the rack of the very first buck I ever shot with a bow. I spent the next 10 minutes observing every inch of the antlers and replaying that evening of October from 2006 in my head over and over.

Those memories brought a smile to my face, not because I had just killed a huge-bodied 3 1/2 year old, but because of how happy the entire experience made me. I can remember how proud I felt when I called my mom and step-dad to inform them of the news. I can remember that I was sitting in a ladder stand on the edge of a picked corn field. It was warmer than normal and the wind was coming out of the south at a stiff 25 miles an hour. I remember hunting was simpler back then, no scents, no safety harness, and no fancy scent control methods. Just a hunter, some cheap camo, and his bow.


I wonder what happened here?

I wonder what happened here?


I remember it was so windy that I decided to get out of the tree early because there was no movement. I was completely packed up, half way down the ladder, with my bow already on the ground when I saw antlers coming up the draw. I knew right then and there, that at this particular moment in my life this buck was going to get an arrow if the opportunity presented itself. He made his way up a popular trail that lead to the field and started heading in my direction. By this time I had already made my way back up the stand, pulled up my bow, and nocked an arrow.  Back then I didn’t have a range finder, I took 25 steps from my stand and placed a good sized rock in the filed that I could see as a distance marker. When I drew back he was about 5 feet away from the rock. To this day, it was the best shot I have ever put on a whitetail. He kicked his hind legs, took a couple extra steps, then fell over dead.

I can remember walking up to my prize and taking off my gloves before I laid hands on him. As if he was in the room with me now, I can remember his smell and the way the warmth had yet to leave his body. For close to 20 minutes I observed him from the tips of his antlers to the bottom of his hoofs without saying a word. “… and in this moment I am happy.” – Incubus

9 years and several moves later, I can’t seem to find the trophy pictures I took of this buck. All I have is this sawed up skull plate and whatever memories I have rolling around in my head. A lot has changed since then and a lot has stayed the same. I still lose sleep with anticipation before every season and rejoice when a plan comes together resulting in a harvest.

“Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” – Fred Bear

Thanks for reading,
Dan (DFW)



4 Responses to “Whitetail Memories”

  1. Brent May 8, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    great story, it’s easy to get wrapped up in gear and accessories and forget the simpler things. I’m still trying to arrow my first buck but enjoy ever encounter outdoors…. Except those loud tree rats crashing through the leaves

    • Dan Johnson May 11, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Better get used to it… they seem to come out just at the right time every hunt. 🙂

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