March/April 2012 EBJ (Issue 70) - I received a phone call about the third week of August from my friend, Beau. Beau and I met in the gym a few years ago and each of us knew about the other from our "hard” hunting habits. Beau called and told me that he and his uncle, Jon, had seen a big antelope in an area that he knew I had a tag for. He was concerned that some lucky hunter might just happen upon this buck and kill him.
I first picked up a Mathews bow about 16 years ago when I was 31 years old and arrowed a 5x6 elk at 10 feet. From that point on, I’ve been interested in spot and stalk hunting. I tell myself that I will only shoot a gun when I get old enough to not be able to draw back a bow.
I told Beau that I only spot and stalk archery hunt and he asked me what would happen if I couldn’t kill him with my bow. I said that I would, hoping that I wouldn’t be humbled. Philippians 4:13 says, "For I can do everything with the help of Christ Jesus.” I’ve always believed that if I am given the chance to stalk an animal, I will kill it. Prayer and perseverance always seem to pay off. When I archery hunt, I always try to remember to pray that God would get glory from my hunt.
Beau and I went to see this elusive buck and he was always with at least 10 or 11 others. The first two days were extremely hot…mid to upper 90s. I put a few stalks on the buck and closed the distance to 70 yards, which was within comfortable range. I got busted by a few stray does and I had the buck broadside, but elected not to draw as I guessed he might drift a bit from them and bed. I guessed wrong and round one and two went to Mr. Elusive (Mr. E). Mr. E did leave me with a few sore spots though. My knees and elbows were full of cactus and starting to wear raw. By now, Beau was probably losing a bit of faith.
Days three and four produced more heat and as the terrain supplied barely any shade, I decided to lay low in an old small irrigation ditch. It was about two feet in depth and approximately two feet wide. Lots of bugs, spiders, flies and even a few snakes came eye to eye with me, but distractions are only temporary and I kept envisioning my arrow hammering Mr. E. I stalked within 65 this time, but wasn’t comfortable with the angle of the shot and so round three and four went to Mr. E as well. But, in all due respect to him, I was gaining. I guessed this buck to be about 83 inches. Prayer and perseverance always seem to pay off.
Days five and six were the most memorable as I got to be with my 4-year-old son whom I get 50% of the time. Our bond and love for each other is absolutely priceless and amazing. My boy, Ike, and I are blessed enough to be able to hunt with each other and I enjoy every minute as I pack him on my back. Ike is my only child and God told me to name him Ike because it means "child of promise.” God and Ike are my first two passions before bowhunting.
For a full account of Randy's adventure, go to page 40 in the March/April 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.