Personal Preference

To each his own, right? Everybody has their preferences. Ford, Chevy, Dodge. Blonde, brunette, redhead. Thick, wide, tall. Just to be clear, that last list of characteristics was in reference to whitetail deer antlers, not women.

Not that we necessarily get to choose what we want in a deer rack, right? I mean, I feel fortunate if I even catch a glimpse of a mature buck while hunting so the idea of custom ordering one with all the options I’d like is just plain crazy. If I had my druthers, though, I’d take my deer racks tall and tight with lots of mass. I remember saying as much to my dad one time and then asking him if he preferred something similar or if he liked a rack with more width. His response?

“Why do I have to choose, son? Why can’t I just have it all?” 

Fair point, dad, and a good one.

So in that spirit and as long as we’re preferring, why don’t we just go ahead and draw up the deer of our dreams? You know, slip on the mad scientist’s lab coat and design the Frankenstein’s monster of all whitetails? For me, that buck would look something like this:

My dream buck would have the deep woods body of a Maine deer, where they measure trophies not by the number of points on a rack but by the number of pounds on a scale. He’d wear the South Texas spread of a Hill Country whitetail and stretch the measuring tape with the tine length of an Iowa bruiser. His antlers would carry both the mass and the dark chocolate color of those bucks typically found north of the border and his coat would be early season Milk River, Montana. My dream deer would have some of the nontypical junk you see on the racks coming out of Kansas these days and he’d be sporting the double throat patch that’s seems to be common among Oklahoma whitetails.

As long as we’ve got that deer of our dreams in mind, we might as well set the scene for his hunt. The dream hunt for my dream buck would take place the last weekend of Oklahoma’s black powder season, which generally falls on the first weekend of November. There’d be an early frost on the ground and the rising sun would electrify every blade of frosted grass. I’d hear the deer before I saw him, his heavy footfalls crunching fallen, frozen leaves. Just before he stepped into view, the crunching would stop. My heart would beat near to bursting. Mother Nature would join me in holding her breath. And then, finally, that buck of a thousand lifetimes would step into a shooting lane. I’d tell myself to give him time, to let him turn fully broadside, but I’d rush the shot anyway, jerking the trigger instead of squeezing it. The deer would disappear in a cloud of smoke and hope, and I’d be left alone in my stand, replaying the scene in my head and praying my shot was true.

If I close my eyes for more than a moment, I can conjure up a crystal clear image of that deer stepping out of that tree line and into that shooting lane. If only he could be brought to life! Lord help me if he could, though, because if that dream buck ever appeared in front of me, I’m afraid that I’d be overcome with a nightmarish case of buck fever and miss the shot. Maybe I’m better off with that whitetail staying right where he is – in my dreams.

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