Ever since last summer, I have been watching one particular buck. He’s not a giant but he has a short third beam that protrudes straight out from the bottom of his main beam. It’s only about 5 inches long but has another point growing from that. The deer is a mainframe 8 but this anomaly has always made the rack intriguing to me. And I decided early on, if I had the chance to harvest this one, I would. It would be my first non-typical. During hunting season, it has shown up on my trail camera many times, but always just before or after shooting light, or in the middle of the night. There have been other bucks about his size that I have watched, but my eye has always been on him. So, I’ve waited, watched, and wondered if he might show up at the same time, I’m in the woods.
One evening during rifle season, I was sitting in my barn. I had arrived a little early because the day was rainy and nasty, and I knew the deer would stir early. About an hour before dark, I looked out of my window to see a buck coming up the hill to my cover crop. My initial reaction was, “That’s him! That’s my buck.” I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look, but I couldn’t tell for sure. I didn’t panic because I knew where he was going. As he got into my field I waited until I could get a viewing angle, to see if I could see this short third beam. He turned and sure enough I saw it! As I slowly reached for my gun, I had second thoughts about shooting him. I thought about what kind of buck he would be next year if I let him go. But after a few minutes I remembered that he was the one I had been waiting all year for, and he may not make it through this season because of the hunting pressure. So, I carefully aimed and pulled the trigger. He ran only about 30 yards before collapsing. I got the buck I had been looking for. I gathered my gear, stowed it in my truck and drove to my field, only to find that my deer wasn’t my deer. It was a mainframe 8, but it lacked the one characteristic that had made it so desirable to me. I’m not sure how it happened. My only thought was that I wanted it to be him so bad, my mind grew that third beam. I wanted a reality that wasn’t there. I was disappointed, knowing I would have let this deer walk, if I had known.
This is not the first time I have let my mind trick me. There have been plenty of times over the years, I have manufactured a reality that wasn’t there. It was a decision that was not the right one. It was a purchase I justified when it wasn’t justified. It was even a prayer I believed God wanted to answer, when in reality He didn’t. The truth is our mind cannot always be trusted because it reacts to what it is fed. Whatever you are putting into your mind will be what the eyes see.