Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
Home Wrecker. That’s how my friend Brandon Stark has labeled the monstrous white-tailed buck currently haunting our local woodlands. The handle stuck, and now it’s the name everyone is using when referring to this nerve shattering, four legged antlered giant.
High, wide, and handsome; Home Wrecker is the kind of buck that deer hunters dream of. By high, wide and handsome, I mean HIGH, WIDE, and HANDSOME – a high tined, wide framed, heavy antlered brute that, if you ever saw him in a painting, you’d likely criticize the artist for taking his imagination to somewhere beyond the point of reason.
He’s called Home Wrecker because he is the kind of a once-in-a-lifetime buck that drives formerly sane hunters to the point of obsession – a deer that causes normally responsible guys to spend time sitting in a tree when they should be doing chores at home, changing oil in the car, or attending parent/teacher conferences. When added together, these sudden changes in behavior can lead to some lively discussions at the supper table. Oh yea, I forgot. Antler obsessed deer hunters don’t usually make it home in time for supper. See what I mean? That’s why Home Wrecker is such an appropriate title.
Until recently, Home Wrecker only existed as shadowy nighttime images captured by strategically placed trail cameras. But as the November rut goes into overdrive, the mythical beast has begun moving about in broad daylight – or so I’m told. I’ll admit that I haven’t actually seen Home Wrecker for myself – yet. But I have been shown a couple of those trail ‘cam photos. One of the pics shows the deer cruising in the near vicinity of where I often sit. I’m sitting there now, in fact, writing these notes as I quietly watch and wait.
The legendary deer I have yet to see in person has already exacted a heavy toll on my archery season. Hoping to have my own up close and personal encounter with Home Wrecker, I’ve already passed on some easy shots at lesser bucks – including two nice 8-pointers; one at eight feet and another at eight yards. By ‘easy shots’ I mean totally motionless bucks standing fully broadside in the wide open. As the month progresses, I’m already beginning to second guess the wisdom of those choices.
The fact of the matter is that I’m a hard core trophy deer hunter. That is, right up until the moment I’m not. I love sitting in the woods watching deer. I especially love watching big deer, and the November rut offers a brief window in time when those normally nocturnal mature bucks can actually be seen during the day. That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, that a hunter will even come close to getting a shot at one; it just means that if you spend enough time at it you’re likely to see some nice bucks.
Having said all that, I should also mention that I love eating venison. And if my deer is still on the hoof once the annual rut has passed its peak: watch out. Faced with the dismal prospect of an empty freezer, my deer hunting standard begins to drop like a cannon ball rolling from a barn roof. From then on, I’m looking more at the size of a deer’s hind quarters than I am at what – if anything – is growing from the top of its head.
But for now, at least, patience reigns. Plenty of deer are still on the move and anything could happen. Who knows? Today could be the day. Maybe the next Home Wrecker photo will be the one of him and me posing together. As long as I’m dreaming, I might as well dream big.