December 5th, Wednesday - We had a light schedule at work, so I asked for the day off. A strong storm with a lot of rain came through yesterday evening. I did a bunch of chores and purposefully got a late start hunting. It was around 9am and I just planned to walk around the place. I went to the cattle crossing and saw a couple of deer high tailing it across the field across the creek. Another doe and her fawn spooked and ran a short distance nearby, but then they just watched me. I think these are the same two I see frequently. The creek water was too high to cross, so I started walking back down the creek. A couple of more deer blew at me and ran on south with the creek. I got to the road and walked down it and across the bridge, then got back onto our property and walked along the trees next to the road. At the far end of that field, I found a scrape that was made since the rain, mud slung everywhere. I turned north into the wind and followed the field road. When I crossed the 2nd culvert, 4 does scampered into the woods. I had seen a couple of turkeys on this side of the creek when I was standing at the cattle crossing. One appeared to be very still, so I wanted to see if I could find them and see what was going on. I eased over next to the creek and started walking slowly north. I finally saw the turkeys. One was fine, but something was wrong with the other one. I walked pretty darn close before it finally flew. Instead of lighting in a tree, it crashed into the limbs and fell to the ground. The other turkey went running to it. I stood still for a minute and then looked toward the back bean field. I saw a couple of deer cross the opening, then another one. I walked on slowly and then looked at the opening again and saw a doe running hard to the north with her tail down. I was feeling like there was some chasing going on. I continued on toward the opening and when I got to it, I slowed my walking down to a rate of about a mile a week. I may not have been going that fast. As I approached the second thicket on my left, with the woods to my right, I could see through the woods a deer on the edge of them in the field. Then I saw another one and felt like it was a buck, although I never saw it's head. I watched for a while and didn't see them again, so I eased back onto the field road and made a couple of more super slow steps and then I spotted a deer out in the field. Then I saw a bright white rack. Looked good. Nice tines and plenty of them. When he turned toward me, I was disappointed at the spread. I looked him over through the scope and decided not to shoot, but kept looking anyway. I watched him stand motionless except for an occasional reposition of his head. Those antlers sure were pretty. Thank goodness the wind was in my face! Then a doe moved in front of him and he moved too. They came over to the wood edge and I kept sizing him up through the trees. When I counted the ten points, I decided I would take him. As luck would have it, the doe started coming in my direction. Then she spotted me and was about to blow my cover. I rushed my shot on the buck, which wasn't nearly as open as I had previously had, not to mention I was now shaking for some reason.
I fired the 444 and my ball cap dropped down in my face. I quickly peeked from under it and saw the buck and doe running across the field. She stopped on the other side and he kept going. I knew it was a clean miss because if I had hit any place on him that was visible through the trees when I shot, he would have gone down. I moved toward the doe and she ran on into the woods. Then I could see both of them bounding through the trees. I learned a lot from that........ make up your mind and stick with it, and don't take a bad shot....period. I walked on back to the house the long way. The skinning will have to wait until another day, and hopefully it will be cooler.