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Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned

By Greg Newburn

If you ever wondered why TV hunters often poke a downed deer...

I went bowhunting at my favorite spot on the morning of October 26, 2015. I placed a doe decoy 20 yards from my treestand in hopes of luring a buck in close for a good shot.

At about 7:30, I saw a spike buck come out into the field and approach the decoy. We have a 4-point on one side rule in Missouri, so I just kicked back and watched the spike try to impress the doe decoy. He eventually gave up and went back into the woods.

A little while later I saw him again, only this time his attention wasn’t centered on the decoy. He couldn’t take his eyes off something else back in the woods. Hoping there was another buck, I strained my eyes until I finally made out a deer with antlers.

Figuring I’d better be ready in case the buck came in to check out the decoy, I stood and got ready for a shot.

I couldn’t believe my luck when the buck came walking in like it had read a movie script: ”Cue the buck walking in to decoy!”

As soon as I had a shot, I drew and released my arrow. The hit was a little farther back than I wanted, but I was confident it was a fatal shot.

NewburnThe deer ran into the woods and went out of sight. I waited 40 minutes before I got down to look for the blood trail.

The blood was easy to follow, and perhaps I was a little overconfident, but the next thing I knew I jumped the buck.  He took off, but it was obvious he wasn’t feeling too good.

After that I lost the trail a few times and decided to keep going the direction he had been headed — toward a big creek on the property.

Once there, I jumped him again, but he wasn’t able to go far and fell in the dry creek bed. When I approached, I noticed that he was still alive.

Assuming I was tracking a dead deer, I had left my bow back at the treestand. That was my first mistake.

Don’t ask what I was thinking when the little voice in my head said, ”Just sneak up and cut his throat with your knife.” The deer couldn’t even stand up, so how much of a fight could it put up, anyway? That was mistake number two.

I grabbed his antlers with my left hand and (I’m sorry for the graphic nature of this), made the slice. That’s when I learned the buck had a lot more energy and fight in him than I imagined.

The buck jumped up and immediately drove his antler high into my right thigh. His speed and strength were unbelievable — so much so that I dared not turn my back on him to run. I decided my best bet was to try to get control and pin him to the ground.

NewburnI pushed his head back to get the antler out of my leg and immediately grabbed antlers with both hands and drove him to the ground.

I kept all of my weight on him and made sure to stay away from his hooves. About three minutes later the struggle was finally over.

Shaking badly, I stood up to try to assess the damage. The groin wound was about 3 1/2 inches long, but apparently it missed the femoral artery because it wasn’t bleeding much.

I dragged the deer to a cut bean field and then went to get my truck. Once I had the buck hanging in my backyard, I knew it was time to go to the emergency room and try to explain how I had been stabbed by a whitetail buck.

After 13 stitches and a countless number of funny looks later, the doctors sent me home.

As a veteran hunter, I should have known better than to approach a live deer. I guess it’s just an example of how easy it is to make a bad decision while under the effects of so much adrenaline. Never again will I track a deer without my bow or gun, and I won’t even consider approaching one until I’m sure it has expired.

Copyright 2016 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2015 by Buckmasters, Ltd