I NEVER HAD A GOOD SHOT
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.