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Crystal’s Buck


Crystals Buck

By Chris Niehaus

I planned to spend opening morning bow season 99 in the woods behind my house perched in the same spot where I took a seven point buck in 97 and again in 98.  That location had a pretty good track record so I thought it just made sense to try again.  The morning was uneventful for the first hour or so.  Then, a sad and strange thing happened.


I heard a vehicle down on the road making loud noises.  Thats not so unusual as trucks regularly bounce on the uneven pavement and rattle their loads, so my mind quickly turned back to deer.  It is prime time, I thought.  The bucks from the previous two years made their appearance between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.  Just then, I could hear a woman screaming.  What in the world was going on?  I listened for a minute and my mind began to try to imagine what was wrong.  After a few minutes of this I could tell the woman wasnt merely yelling for her lost dog.  The hair began to stand up on the back of my neck.  The only thing I could think of was that she was being chasedmaybe by an angry dog or, God forbid, a wife beating husband.  I couldnt take it anymore.  I had a moral obligation to do something, whether or not it was prime buck time.


My gear and bow were left hanging in the stand as I almost slid down the tree, my feet barely resting on my tree steps for only a split second.  Wouldnt you know it!  Two deer spooked not 30 yards down the hill from under the cedars.  Oh well, I had to make a phone call.  45 seconds or so later, I was in the kitchen talking to the 911 operator.  Whats your emergency, she clamored.  Im not sure, I reported, somewhat out of breath.  I explained what I heard and told the operator that it could be a domestic argument, who knew?  I was back on stand within five or ten minutes listening to the sound of an approaching siren.  Then I heard more sirens and recognized the heavy sound of a diesel.  I got down from the tree and made my way to the road.  Finding the life squad didnt make my morning any better.  Later in the morning I learned that a twelve year old girl had passed away in a car accident and the screaming came from her companions in the car.  The police thanked me for calling, but it didnt stop me from feeling the sadness that started the 99 bow season.  Say a prayer for the girls in that car and for the repose of the soul of the little girl who passed away.  I dont even know her last name, but I know from the little shrine made of sticks and rocks down on the road, that her first name is Crystal.  The story doesnt end here, however.  You see, Im sure that little girl is in Heaven because what happened next was certainly a blessing, especially given what happened to my prime deer hunting spot.


During the next two weeks I worked on my house and kept hearing the loud cracking and popping of large timbers falling to a lumbermans saw.  They were logging the bottoms from where the deer normally come down across the road from my place.  Deer activity by my ridgetop stand literally stopped.  When I started scouting for a new location, I noticed that activity on my entire piece of property either stopped or changed to nocturnal.  That little girl must have said a little prayer for me because on October 3 a friend, Tony, asked if I would hunt with him.  I helped Tony set a stand or two in August so I knew where to hunt. 


It was a hot afternoon, but a weak cold front was coming in with the clouds.  Dark arrives around 7:35 p.m. at that time of year and at 7:15 p.m. I was beginning to doubt my luck.  Just then I heard a twig snap in the stillness of the hot evening.  I slowly turned my head and was surprised to spy a deer moving along the hillside just 25 yards away.  The deers body was big, especially for this time of year.  No antlers were visible at first, but I soon detected them when the deer cleared some brush. No shot was yet possible and I could only pray he turned from his intended direction away from me.  He put his nose to the air and I thought my chances were gone.  He winded mebut how? I thought.  The wind was in my favor.  No waithe smells the block topper I put out earlier, I whispered to myself!  Like a magnet he turned and headed right to me.  My  shot was a pass through at only ten yards.  The nine point, 159 pounder was dispatched only twenty yards from my stand!  (He also ran up the hill toward the truck so the dragging was easier and no tracking was necessary!)


When I got to the truck, Tony asked if I saw any deer.  I sure did.  I got one! I said.  Nuh-uh Tony sounded back, Let me see your arrow.You did!  At that, I knew the prayers of a little girl were answered.  Thanks Crystal and God Bless. 

Text Box: This deer field dressed at 159 pounds.  Pretty good for an early October buck.  Thanks to Tony for taking me hunting!