The last day of rifle season for deer this season set me up with a brief encounter with a buck who could have been king. It could have been my nemesis buck, the Grey Ghost, but this monster-racked monarch was in the wrong forested neighbourhood.

It was a cold, snowy, and frosty morning. The frozen ground under my feet echoed like a series of distant AM radio channels. My boots could not find a stealthy route along grandpa’s pond road.

My agonizing, 15 minute journey down this aged logging road was only broken by brief pauses to listen for anything that may ‘bolt’ during my approach to the backwatch.

The backwatch was a deadly, deer stopping portion of a ridge that deer would usually “double-back” through to evade a ‘driver’ pushing through. I suspect the nearby access to the pond’s shoreline is the reason for this.

As I walked along I had to step around several FRESH deer scrapes on the ground. In some spots along the trails there were two scrapes side by side. All had been done within hours, if not minutes, of my walk down to the watch. I sprayed each one with a squirt of my bottled doe urine and kept my finger close to the safety on my gun.

It looked very encouraging.

Eventually, I came to the point in the road where I would head up onto the high ground that overlooked the road and these fresh scrapes. I scented the last two scrapes with my bottled magic and sprayed some neighboring trees as well.

As I looked up the hill, where I needed to go, I took one step into the bush and then I heard the spine tingling sound of a ticked-off buck snorting. Three times that buck snorted and stomped before I heard it crash away from me. It had been standing just out of site past the spot on the ridge we like to watch.

His snowy track was huge. His leaps were few. I gave up tracking close to grandpa’s pond but made sure to remember the direction they were heading.

Just past an old pine tree, in view of the pond, waits the lair of the Swamp King.

The countdown to the 2019 hunt is ticking down.

After this encounter, a neighbour shared these deer pics with us. One of these could have been our swamp king.