Opening weekend of muzzleloader season was uneventful until about an hour before the end of shooting light tonight. I had seven does in the field in front of me, unaware of my presence. From behind them, I saw another deer appear. Then, he picked up his head and I saw the decent rack on him. He was a shooter, a decent mainframe 8 point. I didn't have a rangefinder, but I was fairly certain he was in range. Still I wanted to wait for a better shot opportunity.
My heart pounding, I tried to get a better look at him. He walked toward the field edge to my left, blocked slightly by the trees. With the closest does scarcely 40 yards away, I was trying to be quiet and not alert them. As the buck walked back into view, I fumbled with my Encore but finally got it up. Before I could even think about pulling back the hammer, the buck took off towards the does. It would have been fine, if the biggest doe hadn't run back past him towards the far end of the field. I tried to blow some aggressive grunts on my grunt tube, but he didn't turn back. He never showed back up the entirety of the hunt.
I feel like I messed up the one shot opportunity I may ever get this season. I feel like I played it too safe. If I had been ready earlier, I could have got him as soon as he stopped. At the very least, I got out of there without any of them smelling me, so I'll be back in the morning. There's a big cold front coming through. I hope he, or at least another one like him, comes back.
Formerly TN Lone Wolf
"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." - J.K. Rowling