I left the warmth of my pick-up cab about an hour before sunrise, and started up the trail toward Upper Seymore Lake. I had located the buck two days before when I was taking a load of feed for the stock into the camp we had set up. He was nothing short of a monster. He had a perfect four-by-four rack that had to be thirty-four inches from tip to tip. I had not seen a buck this nice for several years, and was hoping for a shot at him before I was obligated to give that shot to someone else.
I set up on the edge of a beaver pond that had dried up long ago, but was great for taking a stand, as the wind was cut by the beavers’ leavings of old dams and food caches. I sat there with the sun coming up and the wind finally starting to abate, just really enjoying myself and the nice day. I must have started to doze off as the chirruping of a squirrel got me alert. The ridge to my right was where I had seen the buck, and there was definitely something there now. Stones were clicking and I could hear something walking, but I couldn’t see anything. I took an arrow out of my quiver and nocked it, then got into what I was sure was a good shooting position.
I was very excited and ready as the smaller bucks passed where the first had gone. As the big buck passed a tree I raised my bow, and came to full draw. The buck paused and looked over his back, then stepped into an opening. I let the 2117 arrow fly and the buck dropped like I had shot him with my trusty 06. I was really getting the shakes as I let out a war whoop that I bet they heard in Butte.
I started toward the buck and watched in amazement as he staggered to his feet and shook his massive rack. It was apparent immediately why he had gone right down. I had shot him in the left side antler, right at the base of his velvet rack. As I fumbled another arrow out, he saw me and left like he had only been a wisp of smoke.
For days after that I was almost sure that he was a figment of my imagination. It was only after archery season was over, and my buddy from Seattle, Dave Wilkinson, shot a really nice buck with another guide in our outfit, that I saw what my shot had done. There, at the base of Dave’s buck’s left antler was a brand new Rocky Mountain broad head, sunk almost all the way through the horn. It didn’t matter whether the buck had died from my shot or his, a lifelong buddy had gotten him, and I had given him what had to have been one heck of a headache. By the way, I was wrong. The rack was over thirty-six inches, tip-to-tip.