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The perfect hunt

The big buck appeared like a shadow in the early morning Manitoba light, and began methodically making his way toward my stand, stopping occasionally to test the wind or nose the ground for signs of danger or other deer.

It is easy to allow your mind to wonder during the hours of solitude spent in the forest - picturing the ideal spot for a monster whitetail to make an entrance.

I think we all do it - envision which route or trail an experienced brute might take - visualize him walking through a sliver of light along a faint runway carved into the forest floor.

On this morning, I don't think I could have scripted it better.

He first came into sight like a ghost emerging from a tangle of dense brush - exactly as I had envisioned an experienced deer would. Then, he strode proudly along a well-used trail that promised to bring him easily within bow range.

"He's a nice buck, I am definitely going to take him," I whispered to my hunting partner, Mike Fenoff, as I eased my way into a solid shooting position.

I caught a glint of antler at 60 yards, and took a deep breath to calm my nerves. While some shots with a bow happen as quickly as it takes to raise and draw, others seem to unfold like a television drama.

This was proving more the latter, giving me almost too much time to mull the shot while nervously willing the deer on.

For the moment at least, he continued to steadily close ground.

Then, just as it seemed the buck would emerge under my stand, the heavy eight-pointer seemed to vanish into the thick Canadian bush as quickly as he appeared.

"Where did he go?" I said in a hushed tone and Mike answered remorsefully, "I don't know."

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