The Four Arrow Buck

The Four Arrow Buck  11/9/03 Genesee County, Michigan
The Four Arrow Buck
11/9/03 Genesee County, Michigan

Mike Tison's Four Arrow Buck
Mike Tison’s Four Arrow Buck


It was a cool, crisp and clear November afternoon. Conditions for bagging a monster whitetail were perfect. It was peak rut, virtually no breeze, and half a dozen doe were already spilling into the surrounding woods. A hunter couldn’t ask for better circumstances.
All of the doe quickly snapped to attention and that is when I knew it was time. A giant eight-pointer sauntered into view; there was no need for an introduction. Everyone knew he was the “king of the woods”. Focused and obsessed with his trophy rack, my thoughts drifted to an earlier conversation with my wife about where I would hang a monster mount in the house. I was hesitantly confident – my wife would agree that this mount might look best over our bed. I was wrong.
The buck jumped when the arrow pierced the ground just in front of him. Still unaware of where the sudden thud came from, the eight-pointer intent on finding an estrous doe pressed on. Armed with only two arrows, my next shot had to be on target. The last arrow in the quiver took flight and sailed over the back of that four and a half year old buck. In an almost a mocking gesture, the mighty buck raised his shoulders and lifted his head high as he casually worked his way toward a nearby grazing doe. No longer armed, I sat helpless, and slowly watched him saunter to the other side of the woods and eventually out of sight.
I was so focused on his large rack that I was just about willing to do anything for a third chance. I climbed down from my tree-stand and with the stealth of a rhino I was able to reach my first arrow, presently stuck in the mud. Sitting on both knees, I yanked it out and was able to clean the mud from the broadhead as I saw that familiar flash of white coming back in my direction. There was still hope.
A thirty-yard broad-side shot presented itself in just a matter of seconds. The arrow, back in flight again, raced towards the unsuspecting buck. The impact of the arrow ripped through the flesh of a little sapling tree before it came to a screeching halt. To my dismay I sat, lowly in the mud, watching the deer of my dreams literally walk off into the sunset.
It was a gloomy day with forty to fifty mile an hour winds howling through the woods. Gun season was drawing near and the cold air was piercing. Immediately upon reaching my tree-stand, I caught a glimpse of a whitetail flag off in the distance. Did I scare off a new deer? No, it was the same Pope and Young eight-point buck dogging after a doe.
In our earlier encounter this whitetail trophy came out victorious, but this day would be different. My heart had changed and my focus was much clearer. I knew what had to be done. Years of training and experience quickly came flooding back. My focus no longer rested on boasting, or on the distraction of his mighty rack; instead my target became a matter of enjoying the hunt.
This time the buck took my abilities for granted, taunting me by coming closer. I’m sure he thought he was safe since I had missed him three times earlier in the week. The impact of the arrow sent a shock wave through his body as the shaft of my arrow penetrated his heart. The “king of the woods” had now lost to a man who had learned to reset his priorities, resulting in a day of victory and redemption.
Mike Tison
Wild Game Speaker & Author