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Deer Hunting

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It was a beautiful October afternoon as I climbed to the top of my tree stand. The sun was shining, and a slight breeze was blowing from the northwest. I knew that the deer frequented the area around my stand since my step-dad had shot a nice doe two days earlier from the same stand, and signs of deer were everywhere in the area. I had been sitting for close to two hours when I decided to stand up and stretch my legs as well as smoke a cigarette.

I was nearly finished with my cigarette when behind me I heard the sound of something moving through the grass. I quickly but quietly extinguished my cigarette in the palm of my gloved hand and turned around. My eyes scanned to see exactly where the sounds had come from, and I only hoped that the smell of my cigarette hadn't spooked whatever was walking behind me. After about ten seconds I saw the ears of a deer sticking up above the tall grass about thirty yards from me. I slowly reached to my right to remove my bow from a hook in the tree. The deer was now moving towards me through the long grass, and behind it was another deer. I knew that the rut (the peak mating season) was well under way and this second deer may be a buck. After what seemed like an eternity the second deer came into view. It was a buck, as I had thought, but it was bigger than any deer I had ever seen.

My heart began to beat very rapidly and I breathed deeply to try to calm myself. These deer would step into a clearing in a few feet, and I needed to try to be calm to make a good shot. I picked a spot where I thought that the buck would pass and estimated the distance. I guessed the range to be fifteen yards and waited. I let the doe pass through my ...

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...ls. She bolted to my right and out into an open field. When the doe spooked, this time so did the buck, ending my hopes of another shot.

I waited for around thirty minutes and climbed down from my stand. I walked to the spot where the deer had been standing and recovered my arrow. I paced the distance from the arrow back to the tree where my stand was placed. The distance was twenty yards, only a five-yard difference off my estimate, but a drop of a foot in the trajectory of my arrow. This was a small but costly error on my part, even though I considered myself to be a good judge of distance.

Even with the disappointment of not bagging this magnificent buck a smile came to my face. Just the possibility of merely seeing one of these beautiful animals is enough to keep me going back to the woods for a lifetime.
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