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the following was adapted from my hunting journal on november 3rd 2007:

<u>November 3rd 2007</u>

The young four point paws nervously at the fresh scrape. Inhaling deeply, his lip curls as a strange new scent perforates his nostrils. A flurry of footsteps send him on his way, something magical is about to transpire!

Perched comfortably twenty feet up, just a stones throw away, I watch quietly in the confines of the Summit. I have waited weeks to hunt this location. The swirling winds coming from the west protect this small woodlot on most days. I eagerly anticipate when the slight breeze comes from the south, for when the wind is right this spot is unbelievable.

The first visitor to the scrape this morning is a young button buck. His grey faced mother, whom I aptly named “Socks” due to the coloration of her legs, quickly shoo’s him on. She is a wary old girl having survived at least four seasons now. I enjoy seeing my old friend once again. They feed on silently at what green remains in the forest. I’ve had the opportunity to take “Socks” on a few occasions but my affinity for the old doe has kept me from doing so.

Soon another buck is nosing the fresh earth. He promptly does his “dance”, fully standing on rear legs to rub the broken branch above. I am amused by this little fellows antics and wonder if he carries the genes that bring me to this woodlot year after year. Will it be him , two years from now, that will drive me to sit through the cold and the rain?

Deer filter through the area most of the morning, though none offer the shot I’m looking for. This natural funnel is located right in the middle of four freshly cut corn fields and a long forgotten apple orchard that sits down below. The ancient orchard is choked with tangles and almost unpenetratable. It now serves as the deers refuge and bedding area.

Sometime after noon, I turn my attention towards the orchard. The deer will soon be returning to the corn. I spot a group of does moving up the hill toward me. The young four point taking up the rear.

As the group nears I notice one doe is acting particularly strange. She playfully nudges the others and saunters right into the scrape. A smile comes to me as I realize she is in heat. She proceeds to freshen the scrape and the young four point moves in. after the lip curling episode, he tries a few clumsy attempt at romance and is swiftly rebutted.

As if on cue, the woods come alive. Buck after buck are streaming into the woodlot. The overwhelming scent of an estrous doe has their senses working overtime. The poor girl is harassed repeatedly and chased back and forth. The grunts and bleats eminating from the small hollow is unreal. Soon a good eight point joins the chase.
I stand and knock an arrow trying to keep track of the action.there are now six different bucks in hot pursuit of the estrous doe. The eight point stops briefly but offers no shot. He quickly rejoins the game.

Finally he stops in a shooting lane and I prepare to do my part in mother natures harvest. As I draw I hear a deep grunt, almost a growl, from directly behind. The eight point stiffens up but soon gets outta dodge! At this point my nerves are frayed. The intense action has take n its toll.

The Monarch is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Incredibly heavy and wide, he is a true monster. Adrenaline overtakes me and I have to look away. I have to calm myself and looking at the king will do nothing to help. My legs are literally shaking like leaves in the breeze!

The course he is taking will give me a 15 yard shot at the Behemoth. I do my best to settle down and prepare for the shot. My mind races as I go through my mental checklist : draw smoothly, kisser button anchored, left hand held level, center the peep.

He whirls and crashes through the underbrush. He stops a mere forty yards away and looks back at his pursuer. He stiff-leggedly walks away and soon picks up th trail of the hot doe. I watch in awe as he is skylined in the distance. Showing no signs of being injured, my heart begins to sink .

The Lumenock glows brightly and I stare in disbelief. I have practiced that shot thousands of times, but never under such circumstances. I climb down and examine the arrow and find it clean. Adrenaline has aided my woodland quarry to live another day.

A few distant sightings after that day are the only other times he was seen. I truly believe he was a nocturnal deer only tempted by his primal urges. So as the annual hunt is upon us and the chase begins, I can only hope this magnificent buck will again show his face. I awake every morning, walk outside to check the wind. When the day comes , that it out of the south, I will call work and complain of a fever! The chase is on and my woodlot beckons!

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