It was a nice buck and it was coming right in, the dark rack standing high, out beyond its ears. Joel Tupey was ready, gun up, aimed, waiting for that perfect shot. Gently squeezing the trigger Joel heard a click! The bullet failed to discharge. What a time for a misfire! Working the action quickly and quietly in the cold with gloves on is hard but when there is a nice 9-point buck watching you any hunter may mess up in a hurried state. Joel’s misfired shell slipped through his cold fingers and rattled down to the ground. That was all that this buck needed to know before it was gone with the wind!
Joel Tupey’s misfortune was his older brother Dave Tupey’s fortune. Hearing steps coming his way, Dave figured it was the same guy walking up to talk to him who stopped by on the opener. Dave knew no deer would be walking along dragging his feet making so much noise. Dave was surprised to see that it was a really nice buck. In fact it was the same buck that had escaped Joel’s attempt at fresh venison earlier in the day. But this bucks luck was about to run out.
“I saw it was a buck, got the gun up and ready to shoot,” said Dave Tupey. “I watched the rack go right under my climber stand through my scope and waited for the shoulder to appear. That’s when I pulled the trigger and he went down.” It was a bruiser of a buck. Neck swollen, big bodied in prime shape for the rut which was in full swing as Joel Tupey was soon to find out.
Not in the greatest of moods after the misfire Joel was determined to stay in his climber all day. In 5 years since joining our group of deer slayers, family and friends, Joel had yet to take his first Wisconsin deer although he has taken several hunting in Minnesota where he lives. Other hunters who used to hunt out of our Deer Shack had started what they called the Deer Hunters “Wall of Fame.” It sounds neat but it’s just a place on a paneled wall where all the deer harvested by the group record deer kills, locations and more with a black magic marker. All of us are on the Wall of Fame, some of us several times, but Joel was yet to make his mark and the pressure (good natured fun) was showing, but his luck was about to change!
“I heard deer in the brush and they were making a ruckus but it was too thick for me to see anything. I heard noise to my right and then to my left. I got a glimpse of a doe and then a buck stepped out of the thick stuff.” The rut was hot and heavy but this time there was no misfire. Joel was finally on the “Wall of Fame” with a nice 6 point buck!
I added my name to the “Wall” too, filling an antlerless tag. My son Josh didn’t get a shot although he saw several deer without being able to get a good shot. Now it’s processing time for burgers, steaks, sausage, venison ham and jerky making time!
Jim Bennett is an outdoorsman who lives and worked in the St. Croix River Valley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org