The Velvet Giant!

199 Anyone who has ever climbed into a treestand has experienced a day in which nothing seems to go right. For most of us, these infamous trips usually leave a poor old hunter with nothing more than a headache and feelings of frustration. However, sometimes a little bad luck can ultimately lead to a lot of good luck for those who refuse to throw in the towel. That is exactly what happened to Randy Bradley during an early season archery hunt just a few days ago. Although Bradley had just about everything thrown at him save the proverbial kitchen sink on the opening morning of bow season, he decided to stay in the stand.

Bradley’s opening day began with a flat tire on his ATV trailer, forcing him to load the 4-wheeler in the back of his truck. After lifting on the heavy wooden ramps, he experienced a major muscle cramp deep inside of his lower back. Somehow coping with excruciating back pain, he was ready to drive his 4-wheeler onto the bed of the truck.

Once in the woods, a downed tree across the trail caused Bradley to take a wrong turn. After getting his bearings, he had to kick it into high gear to reach his treestand before daylight. By the time Bradley climbed up the tree, he was soaking wet with sweat and just about ready to call it a day. Most of us would be tempted to bend our bow across a hard-bodied oak tree on a morning like this, but Bradley didn’t let his bad luck get him down. Within a few minutes, an absolute giant velvet-racked buck appeared out of nowhere, which completely erased all the aggravating things that had happened to him earlier.

Quickly, Bradley came to full-draw on probably the biggest buck he had ever encountered, but this hunt and the bad luck was far from over. In the heat of the moment, his arrow popped off the rest and violently crashed to the ground. All of the commotion spooked the nervous buck and Bradley found himself in the middle of a hunter’s worse nightmare. After what seemed to be an eternity, the massive buck calmed down and presented Bradley with a second chance. This time the arrow smacked into the ribcage of the “bad luck buck” and left Bradley with a trophy-class bruiser. Way to hang in there and that is one hell of a buck!—Travis Faulkner