Cuz's Best Bow Buck (after 35 years)

If you’ve watched Mossy Oak TV on The Outdoor Channel you know Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland. Here my friend guest blogs on his best bow buck ever.

Dec_6_06_2 The hunt started with an e-mail from Toxey Haas, who created Mossy Oak camouflage back in the 1980s. Toxey said he was getting low on fuel and needed a couple of days to charge up.

We ended up at his hunting camp near Livingston, AL with his son Neil and a couple of Neil’s buddies from school. I cooked and hung tree stands and scouted with Toxey for the boys--old-school stuff. The boys hunted hard; Toxey and I kind of forgot about hunting and just had fun.

We did hunt one morning; neither of us saw a deer. By the time we got back out that afternoon it was getting late. We picked a couple of spots close to an old dirt road. Toxey climbed into a stand I had hung last year and I hunted one he had set.

Mine was a ladder over a food plot not 50 yards off the road. I wanted to take a big doe for meat and that was all that was on my mind. I was in the stand with no gloves on, typing on my Blackberry when I heard rustling to my right.

(BTW, I had just received this e-mail from my wife: “If you don’t put that Blackberry away you’ll never see a deer.” )

Technology!

The buck stepped from a pine thicket and looked my way. I have videoed dozens of record-class bucks over the years and my reaction was, “Nice one.” Then it hit me the best bow buck of my life was standing at 30 yards.

I got fired up but managed to go through the motions that 35 years of hunting have made routine. By the time I got to full draw the buck was 35 yards but relaxed and looking the other way. I hit the trigger. It is cliché’ to say the arrow looked like it was in slow motion, but it did. I watched it smack behind the shoulder and disappear.

The buck bolted. I heard a crash and coursed it right, toward the pine thicket where the deer had came from.

I climbed down and checked my arrow—covered point to nock, just what you want to see. I looked for a trail leaving the field but no luck. I hit the thicket and started an organized walk up and down the rows of pines. An hour later no buck…no blood…no sign.

I made my way back to the field and walked out to the road to wait on Toxey. There was my buck! He had run no more than 60 yards straight away. I had thought the crash was to my right; goes to show your emotions can play tricks on you.

The flood of emotions from before the shot until Toxey arrived reminded me of why I have done this for so long. I’m convinced this buck, this hunt, was an amazing gift God sent to remind me why Toxey and I got into this business in the first place, with Toxey starting Mossy Oak in 1986 and me coming on board in 1987.

A passion for hunting, the outdoors and the resource that we sometimes take for granted brought the Mossy Oak crew together—and it keeps us together to this day.

The only person more excited than me was Toxey. He went nuts. He knew it was my best buck ever with a bow. I had killed him from a stand Toxey had hung on his land, near a plot he had planted with his hands. I could see in his eyes that made it more special.

Buck of a lifetime for me in more ways than one. What did he score? I have not done the B&C on him and could care less. To me he’s a perfect 10.