Big whitetail deer are like wizards. They are never late, nor are they early, they arrive precisely when they mean to.

Meaning, when a big buck materializes in the forest near you – his entry, his exit and your presence have already been calculated. These rare encounters give life to the legends and Ghost Bucks that enchant the flicker of hunt camp wood stoves across North America.

Fortunately, deer hunters have access to one tool that can break the magical disappearances of big bucks.

‘The Rut’.

The Rut has the power to make a buck appear 50 yards downwind from your stand, walking broadside of you, while keeping his eye on a doe (you almost shot 10 seconds previously). The Rut puts big deer in places they shouldn’t be.

The kind of places where a hunter (on the ground) can wear fluorescent orange gear (with no scent elimination products) and be surprised to see a distracted doe emerge from the forest growth that stops and stares at the hunter. Then, within seconds, moves on to escape a series of grunts 30 yards behind her.

When the mass of the trailing buck’s antlers came in to my view, I excitedly clicked off the safety of my .308 Savage and fired 2 shots at the downwind monster.

An excited cackle of our radios signalled to the others that I had killed my first giant buck – its ethereal shielding fatally pierced.

After we processed and loaded the deer onto the Prowler, we tried to re-enact what had just transpired. The questions, comments and head shakes from the others confirmed in my mind that this buck should not have been here – especially at 50 yards, downwind and broadside.

There’s hope this season for your big buck. Wizards do makes mistakes.

For those of you in to ‘details’ – the buck weighed 270 lbs field dressed. His, not exceptionally, wide 8-point rack is dwarfed by the length of his tines. I’ll try to post a rough score shortly.

I would also like to thank the guys (and Diana) that I hunt with for making this year’s hunt a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.