December 26: Chris Comstock

The U.S. economy was about to crumble, China hosted the summer Olympics and Rick Rolling was a thing the year Chris’ buck was born.

The buck first showed up on Reconyx trail cam pictures as a four year old back in 2012. He stood out due to physically deformed leg. The second year the deer was on the farm Chris hunted for him with the muzzleloader without success, then the deer disappeared. Chris thought he had died during the winter.

Fast forward five years and the buck begins showing up again in pictures in early November. His leg has straightened out from his younger days, but is still badly atrophied. He was M.I.A. during gun season, which Chris attributes to the buck’s inability to travel with any speed because of the leg. Chris kept this deer on his mind as a target buck as he rolled into muzzleloader season. He wanted to try to take it with his PSE (it’s legal to continue archery hunting during muzzleloader season in Missouri).

The plan was to hunt out of a Muddy blind over clover, but by Sunday arctic temperatures and five inches of snow pushed the deer over to standing beans so Chris adapted by hunting out of another blind.

That night, with a herd of deer already in the beans, Chris caught sight of his buck working through the timber on his way to the field. Some roaming coyotes spooked all the deer off and because this buck moved so slowly, he never made it to the field during shooting light.

He’d never bow hunted out of that blind before, and was unsure he could clear a shot out of the window, so he went to town Tuesday morning and bought a bar stool to give him the height he needed. Some may call it hillbilly ingenuity. We call it dedication to the craft.

Tuesday around 12:30 pm, with his new tactical bar stool, Chris climbed into the blind and began seeing deer feeding in the beans at 1:15 pm. His target buck, along with another shooter entered the field and browsed their way from 90 yards down to 32. Chris decided to shoot the impaired buck because the other deer had yet to reach its potential. He checked the yardage with his Leupold range finder before committing to the shot.

Just then, a highway department plow drove by clearing snow off the highway almost a mile away. The noise spooked the deer and as his buck turned to leave, Chris stopped him, came to full draw on his PSE Evolve and put a Rage Chisel Tip through high lungs, exiting out the other side. The buck made it 80 yards before falling over. It was -5 degrees when Chris dragged him out of the field.

Who knows what tales that buck could tell from 10 years of living? A decade is a good long life for a deer and Chris was grateful for the opportunity to be the one to bring this long story to an end.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.