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I NEVER HAD A GOOD SHOT

Outdoor Life - - NO EXCUSES -

My buddy Kyle en­joys hunting big deer in prime lo­ca­tions. He es­pe­cially loves to do so when I’m stuck at work or hunting an area that’s not ex­actly, um, prime. He used to send me trail cam­era im­ages and brag of see­ing gi­ant bucks and ac­tion-packed sits. But that’s as far as the gloat­ing would go, be­cause he’d never kill any­thing. He would have shooter bucks in range but would never re­lease an ar­row be­cause he “just didn’t have a shot.” Trans­la­tion: He was pass­ing on good shots for per­fect ones. And in white­tail hunting, that just doesn’t work. I gave Kyle some ad­vice: Stop watch­ing those deer and start shoot­ing them. Last year, dur­ing a dream trip to Iowa, I saw him clear that hur­dle. Big time. On a frosty Novem­ber morn­ing, the gi­ant buck we’d been hunting showed up, mov­ing quickly on a lane that would pass within bow range of Kyle’s stand (I was also in the tree, run­ning a video cam­era). There was no time to think. Kyle drew, and when the buck stepped out, it wasn’t quite broad­side. He could have waited for the deer to take a few steps and give him an ideal, quar­ter­ing-away shot. In­stead, he bleated, the deer stopped, and Kyle popped both lungs right then and there. The shot an­gle may not have been per­fect—but that buck was per­fectly dead. —T.H.

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