October/November 2012 EHJ (Issue 133) - After stopping the group of deer with a grunt, I settled the crosshairs high on the bucks shoulder and squeezed the trigger. CLICK! I couldn’t believe it, the gun had misfired. As quickly as I could, I opened the breach of the single-shot slug gun and closed it for another try; again, nothing but a CLICK. In a prone position and in the wide open I didn’t want to make the movement that it would have taken to dig a new bullet out of my pocket. Out of desperation I tried once more and to my disbelief again all that came was an empty click. I saw what was possibly my last chance at the buck of a lifetime slipping away when, in a state of mere hopelessness, I reached into the pocket of my jeans for another bullet.
Just an hour before I was standing in my driveway talking to a friend on the phone about the previous weekend’s hunt. After getting off the phone, I almost decided not to bother putting my binoculars up to see if the buck that I had been watching all summer was around. During the two weeks previous to the seasons September 3 opener the giant 5x5, velvet mulie began showing up miles away from where I hunt. He became more and more sporadic in showing himself at all, let alone on the property that I hunt. The evening before the season opened I finally located him once again and decided to hunt him the following morning.
As the morning light began to dissolve the pre-dawn darkness, his over-sized rack appeared above the tall grass and I began to make the stalk. Just over two hours later I was 164 yards from the buck and he was getting ready to cross the fence onto property that I was unable to hunt. I settled my crosshairs, but for fear that he would cross the fence after the shot I passed on the opportunity. As soon as he walked away I knew that he would not be coming back any time soon and regret for not taking the shot quickly sank in. After the hunt I needed to clear my head and drove out to an area that I had an extra cow elk tag for. That evening I made a great stalk on a mature cow and watched my arrow pass cleanly behind her shoulder. This took my mind off of the missed opportunity that morning and got my optimism and confidence up again. After packing my cow out on Sunday morning, I began scouring the crop fields, creek bottoms and foothills for the deer once again, but to no avail.
For a full account of Jake's adventure, go to page 24 in the October/November 2012 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.