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A Morning To Remember

November 17, 2017

November 7, 2017 started out like any other morning. My Alarm goes off at 3am, I reach up turn on my headboard light, and shut off my alarm. I laid there for a minute or two before sitting up and mumbling to myself “41 days”... 41 days since opening day 9-1-2017. That’s how many days I’ve hunted so far this Whitetail season. I threw on my hoodie, stepped outside and opened the garage door, and off to the gas station for my morning coffee. The gas clerk, a pretty young lady “Morning Ralph, you off for another morning hunt?” That’s how often I visit the gas station for coffee, first name basis and they know I’m a hunter. So I’ve got my coffee, I say “goodbye” to the pretty gas clerk and drive home.

While enjoying my coffee and sitting in the garage, I bring up my Hunting app. Let’s see, stand list “check” weather “ 34°, wind out of the Southwest” The only thing wrong... is this particular set is bad for the wind direction. Everything is upwind of me. By now I’m debating on whether to change sets or just hunt it. I decided to make the decision when I came to the first turn towards one of my sets. Eventually after a few morning rituals and a 36oz cup of joe, I’m all dressed and loaded up and ready to roll. Heading down the road in complete darkness, and a few passing cars, it starts to snow, a light snow but it’s a snow. That’s when I knew which stand to hunt, The bad set. I’ve always had a lucky feeling when it snowed. This time was no different.

So it’s 5:40am now and I’m sitting in my tree stand. This tree is “Old Reliable” and the reason for that is because 8 of the 10 deer I’ve harvested since 2014 have been out of Old Reliable. It’s a perfect area for deer to bed in and travel through. There’s a perfect food source of corn and beans with a creek running though the area. All the ingredients for a successful hunt.

So as I’m sitting, listening and Facebook reading and Instagram watching, dawn is now approaching and I can hear robins and sparrows waking up. There are rabbits hopping about below me, and to my left is a pretty mature doe walking around and eating about 26yds away. I’m pretty excited now, rarely do I see a deer in this area before 8am, they usually come through an hour after sunrise. I reach for my phone and record a little video for Snapchat and that’s when I noticed her become a little weary and on edge. Now I know she hasn’t winded or seen me. Then of course it dawned on me “she’s got a buck with her” I said softly. So I watched pretty closely around the area as it became lighter. So far, nothing was in the open, then she made a B-line for the clump of bushes and before I knew it there stood a Buck.

So at this point I’m even more excited and then I noticed the antler on one side looked pretty decent and the other side looked really goofy and small. Then he takes a couple steps and I notice he’s got a bit of a limp, I grabbed my range finder and low and behold this buck has 3 legs.....Yup 3 legs!!

Now I’m in a debate with myself, shoot or pass. Now I had shot a buck already this year and he was no prize buck. I was waiting for a bigger buck, but this fella had my attention due to his uniqueness, plus he was already disabled. So I made the executive decision to shoot if he gave me a shot. After a few moments of him looking at this Doe, he wandered behind a cedar tree and then the Doe came out and walked under my stand and off to the right of me about 30yds. So I grabbed my bleat can and called to that buck a couple times.

That definitely got his attention and well, here he came. Straight towards me and then he stopped and turned just enough quartering to me and I sent my arrow right between his blade and elbow. Now this deer had no clue I was there nor did he even hear, smell or see anything and when that arrow blew thru him, he bolted like a bolt of lighting. First thing I thought was “man that’s a fast, tough 3 legged deer.”

So after about 45 minutes, I’m sitting in my stand getting things gathered together. That’s when I just happen to look up and there’s a doe running down a fence line towards me and in tow is this beautiful, majestic y’all 8pt buck and he’s a grunting and his nose is buried into the just my luck. Honestly if I had to do over again, I would have still of taken that goofy buck. It’s not very often you see a set of antlers like that and to top it off.......He had 3 legs.

Ralph Spangler
Jr Bucks of Nebraska Pro-Staff

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