Soon I was at full draw, waiting, when the huge deer got to the very edge of the cover, and…stopped. Then, to my horror, it took a step back and began making a scrape. Still at full draw, I pondered letting down but felt the deer, so close, would see me. In one of those split-second decisions you wished you could have back, I decided to lean out as far as I could to the right, and attempt that extreme-angle shot. At the release I had what appeared to be an open shot to the deer’s chest. But the scene was a mirage. I hadn’t noticed the network of branches lurking below me, hidden in the dark shadows of the steep ridge; my arrow ricocheted neatly off at least one of them, hopping cleanly, if not comically, over the deer’s massive back. I could have cried. To this day I can close my eyes and see that deer’s unique, Coke-can-thick rack before it rocketed away.