I got this deer on the Kaibab archery hunt. I wouldn’t normally shoot such a small buck on the first day of my hunt but I was denied my leave requests for the entire two weeks of the season and I was happy to just get something in the freezer. I hunted for a total of an hour and half. At first light I hunted the burn and found a good spot for my tree stand. I only hunted for an hour that morning because upon arriving at camp the evening before, Kristin and I realized that we had forgotten the baby formula for Harper. So instead of a peaceful morning of tip toeing through the burn I was driving road #22 back to Kanab. Once we got back to camp and got Harper fed I jumped into Kevin Grimm’s Rhino with my tree stand and headed out to put it up. Kevin’s 16 year old son Cody had a tag and was sitting shotgun, I was sitting in the back. Twenty minutes into the drive I spotted three little bucks beaded down in a little aspen grove.
It’s funny how adrenaline affects the mind and decision making. The simplest, most obvious tasks become complex and obscure. To a layman the act of aiming at your target would seem like an important step in killing an animal but to a hunter tweaking on buck fever it can be a superfluous task that can be easily traded for a shooting at random. The experienced hunter knows that the fever can make loading a shell on par with playing a Jimi Hendricks riff. He knows that it can make a man do wildly stupid things that he would never do in a normal state of mind.
So anyway, I tell Kevin to slow down and I begin to jump out of the Rhino and notice that Cody is jumping out with me. It is important at this point that I tell you my history of hunting with my buddies/family. In our circle it is every man for himself. The quickest draw gets the shot. The fastest to the fishing hole gets the first cast. I’ve actually seen my brother Conz throw an elbow into Jacob’s ribs as they both drew down on a forkey buck simultaneously. So Cody and I are jumping out of the rhino together, my mind firing off like it was a rival jumping out with me and I bark, “I got it”!. Cody, being the obedient adolescent that he is, hops back into the Rhino and they continue down the road, completing the perfect Compton Drive By maneuver. The dumb little three point stands there looking at me as I draw and release. The arrow drills him through the neck and he drops in his tracks. I jump up and start war whooping and fist pumping. I’m still in Neon Deion celebration mode as Kevin and Cody drive up. I look at them expecting to see equally stoked attitudes but I get a full dose of the “you just put a booger in my beer” look. What’s their problem, I think to myself. Then it hits me. The reason for their somber look filters through my adrenalized brain. I just pulled the ultimate asshole move on my 16 year old cousin, a cousin who has never killed a buck with his bow. A cousin that was sitting shotgun in HIS rhino and was giving me a lift to my tree stand spot. My heart sank. My chicken salad had just turned to chicken shit. I just fell into a bucket of roses and came out smelling like a turd.
There was only one thing I could do……. Teach Cody how make a sincere apology.