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My Last Buck “YOUR ADVENTURES” with Shane O’Brien

When I was a young Marine, overseas, I became very ill. I was given medication by the local doctors that had a side effect. I lost my sense of smell. After I got out of the Marines I taught myself how to hunt deer. Over the years, I got good at it, first with a gun, then the bow.

A few years ago, while bow hunting in a friends plywood stand, the floor gave way, I fell 15 feet, breaking my right shoulder in three places and breaking off the ball joint. I was now the proud owner of a steel plate and twelve screws. The next year, I took an eight point from the same stand, this time with a crossbow. Last year I was lucky enough to shoot a 170 class eleven point during shotgun season. I’m getting older now and it’s getting harder to get up at three in the morning. It’s getting harder to sit still in the cold for long hours.

On 10/20/12, I was sitting in my homemade ground blind.  It’s a pile of branches on all sides of a tree, overlooking a shallow western facing slope. The blind looks something like an eagles nest on the ground and covers me chest high with my back against the tree. It sits near the intersection of two deer trails.

On that morning, I was in full camo and in the blind before daylight and watched as the woods came to life. About 8:30 A.M. two doe came by, within shooting distance, but I let them pass.

At 9:06 A.M. there was movement to the north. A head bobbing buck was coming down the trail toward me. A rack so big, it appeared he had a hard time keeping his head up. I started to get buck fever and could not catch my breath. I took a couple of slow deep breaths to settle down.   Slowly, I adjusted my crossbow in my left shoulder, and took aim. At 25 yards he saw me, but did know what I was. He quartered to me, peeking around a small sapling leaving his vitals exposed.

Knowing he was not coming any closer, I took careful aim and fired. The bolt hit its mark behind the right shoulder with a hollow thud. The buck wheeled to the right and ran, tail down. It was a fatal hit.  He ran over the hill, out of sight.

I waited as long as I could, but admittedly, not as long as I should.  I started trailing him, seeing blood right away.  After 150 yards, the blood trail stopped.  My heart sank. I looked everywhere but could not pick up the trail. After a while, I went back to spot where I found the last drop.

I spoke quietly out loud and said, “Lord, please, if you let me find this deer, it will be my last.” The very instant I said that last word, a warm, gentle breeze came up the hill from the west. It struck my face and….I smelled the deer. I SMELLED THE DEER!

I followed that breeze down the hill to where he laid. A 150 class ten point.

A promise is a promise. This is my last deer of many.  Shane has left the field!

Shane O’Brien, Iowa



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