The Legend of Old Grey Beard
I'm not sure who exactly coined the name Old Grey Beard (or OGB for short) but I know he is one of a few regular posters on here and had been to deer camp with me a few times. OGB is that big buck at camp that kept eluding me. He would bust out on my way in, appear at last light at 50 yards, or look down at me from a far away ridge line refusing to drop into the bowl following the does and smaller bucks. He knew I was out there waiting for him to make a false step. The first year I had a deer tag I only saw him from a distance. The second year I saw him on a gun hunt. He came down an old fence row with his head to the ground hiding his rack from me trying to slip by. I shot and he got away. The third year I didn't see him until the second day at deer camp. He had his nose to the ground chasing the scent of a doe in heat like blue tick hound running down a felon. OGB didn't know I was there this time. I was on the ground so I got behind an old oak so big a across it would take three men holding hands in a circle to surround the trunk. I was playing like a squirrel around this tree to stay out of view. When he was 10 yards away I stepped out from behind the tree and launched an arrow from my bow. It made a really funny sound on the release and sailed away somewhere else. I later found out from the sound (after hearing it again at the range) that the arrow had slipped off the rest when I made the "jump shot" on this deer. I almost got a second shot off as he stood there trying to make out the situation and what I was standing there at 10 yards. OGB stared me down for a while. It was pretty humbling looking eye to eye with a 200+ pound deer that didn't spring away at the sight of a human. He and I looked at each other a while and then he picked up the scent following it again and tucked in behind some brush disappearing for the rest of the season.
It was about this time I started to get mysterious emails from OldGreyBeard@gmail.com...not only did he stare me down in the woods but now he was using technology and mocking me in the off season. I knew somebody was up to something from the camp and the emails really picked up as we begain scheduling for the following deer camp. It was my fourth year without a deer and I was dead set on getting OGB this time. We were back at camp and not seeing much activity the first day or two. On the last day of a four day hunt I went to the other side of the property to try out an evening hunt. The jeep was packed and everything was cleared out of camp. I was hunting the last 10 minutes of light in the crook of a big oak split three ways and OGB showed up. I could see my jeep parked on the side of the road 300 yards away.
OGB must have thought I had given up. He jumped a fence and was in my shooting lane in about 3 seconds. I had no time to look at the rack other than seeing it was OGB...a shooter buck for sure. He was on the move faster than a walk but slower than a trot. I knew I would have to lead him just a little and he was about 32 yards away. This time I had a crossbow with me. I put the red pin at the spot I thought he would be in another second... after jumping the fence when I first saw him he was covered up by one of the three big oak limbs sprouting under my feet. And there he was exactly where I hoped and I was lined up perfectly. He was HUGE! I pulled the trigger and saw fletching bury low in a mass of brown fur. I gave him 30 min and I could hardly stand staying put in anticipation but did not want to screw up the hunt for anyone around me. Two of the guys in camp had already left for home that morning but two more had stayed. I paced off the distance to the shot and it was about 32 yards. There was no blood at all. It was getting pretty dark and I couldn't find the arrow either to see if blood was on it. It was thick with brush and leaves on the ground so the arrow could be burried anywhere. I searched about 15 yards around the shot where the deer ran and no blood anywhere. I went back to the car waiting for the guys to tell them the story and see what they thought. One of the guys told me about how some deer take awhile to show sign so we went back and found a drop at abotu 25 yards from the shot. Then another, and another and then a pretty thick pattern. The deer was piled up about 100 yards away down a pretty steep hill in some pretty nasty brush. We hauled him out and I took a pretty good laceration over the eye from a branch that snapped back. I looked like a hockey player with blood streaming down my face.
This buck was everything I hoped. He was about 200lbs and a big eight with nice symmetry. I clipped him in the last half inch of his heart. Half an inch lower and OGB would still be out there. I doubt that OGB had made the 300 mile journey to different camps over the years and was the same deer. But to me, OGB was going to be my first buck regardless and I will never forget that moment when I picked up those antlers. Here's to all you new hunters out there looking for OGB...it might take a few years but in the last 10 minutes of light on the last day of deer camp he might show up. He did for me and he is on the wall with a good story to tell.
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