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"A Second Chance"


A Second Chance
Robbie's New Mexico buck is one
of the biggest taken with a bow.
This was truly the coldest, windiest, snowiest day I had ever spent hunting. I told myself I was crazy for being out there that day. I wanted to be back at home. Cold temperatures and blowing snow made hunting miserable.

I had been hunting most of the morning when I decided to make one more pass through a thick area before heading back to the truck. I had just crossed the creek and was going over a little ridge, when a doe walked out fifteen yards in front of me. I couldn't see very well because the snow was blowing into my eyes. To the right of the doe I noticed movement behind some oak brush. I nocked an arrow and drew my bow as a buck walked out into the open. When he stepped out and looked at me, I noticed his huge rack and outward curving eye guards. This was definitely a buck I wanted to shoot.

The deer turned away from me and began walking. He only took a few steps and turned broadside again to take another look. This was the shot I wanted. I put my twenty-yard pin on him and let go. The huge buck jumped and took off. I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for missing. I knew I would never get another chance at a buck like that.

I was hunting the mountains of New Mexico with my dad Johnny, my cousin Howie, and my uncle Dennis. Every year we look forward to this bowhunt. We have all killed bucks in previous years, but this time we decided to hunt the bigger deer that lived in the area. It wasn't very hard to pass up the smaller ten-pointers because we knew there were some bigger ones out there.

We had seen the deer I missed off and on during the season, but none of us could get close enough for another shot. He was easily recognizable because of his curved eye guards. Howie had a chance at the buck one afternoon, but blew it when the buck spooked out of his bed.

One morning while walking along a thick pinion-covered ridge, I heard the sound of a buck raking his antlers on the brush. I quickly moved toward it and caught a glimpse of the buck as he followed a doe through the trees. Frozen snow and thick cover made it difficult to get close enough for a shot.

After a couple hours of sneaking around and trying to close the distance on the deer, they disappeared. I walked to where I had last seen the buck, and continued down to the creek. Going up the other side of the creek was a fork horn and a doe. I figured the big buck had already crossed, so I followed. After a few minutes I ran into my dad who had seen some smaller bucks, but nothing big. Since my dad had not seen the big deer I was after, I thought he must still be where I had seen him earlier. I decided to cross back over and zigzag down through the thicket.

As I neared the place where I had last seen the deer, I heard some noise below me. I grabbed an arrow from my quiver as does began walking into a small opening in the trees. I could see another deer walking up from behind. As I drew my bow, the buck walked out and turned to look at me. I was getting my second chance! The buck was quartering away as I put my forty-yard pin on him, took a breath, and released. The arrow hit its mark, and the buck took off crashing through the trees.

I waited anxiously for about thirty minutes before following the trail to my downed buck. When I got to the deer, he was huge. I couldn't believe that I was able to get him after missing the shot a couple weeks before. Later, my dad joined me with the buck and after a congratulatory hug, we began snapping pictures.

The next day we returned with my uncle and cousin to take more pictures and pack out the deer. When we had the buck back from the taxidermist, we decided to go ahead and score him. The 5x5 buck grossed 190 inches and had an outside spread of almost 29 inches. I don't know if I will ever be able to top this buck, but I will have fun trying.

Written by Robbie Trujillo