So another muzzleloading season has come and gone, and my luck has proved itself out again.

I spent 4 days in Meade County the first week of the season and only saw deer 1 of those days. I made a quick trip out to El Dorado reservoir on the last Saturday of the season and came up short there also.

In Meade, I was hunting a silage field. They had a test cut through the center of the crop circle and the irrigation pivot was leaking so there was a nice little marsh of fresh water that I was sure the deer would come in to. I sat off the pivot about 30 yards watching back to the east figuring the deer would come in from that direction since the generator for the irrigation equipment was running and sitting at the west entrance to the cut.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes before sundown, a small 4 point buck stepped out of the crop about 150 yards or so and walked away from me to the east. He was joined by a few does who came in from the east entrance. I watched them for nearly 20 minutes before they spooked at something (probably me) and ran out of the cut.

I set back and contemplated my plans for the next day’s hunt, figuring I’d need to move my stand further east in the cut.

Have you ever had that feeling something was watching you out on the stand? As I was sitting there thinking, I happened to glance towards the pivot and there he is, a nice 8 point standing there watching me. I’m frozen in place as I’m caught totally off guard.

I slowly pull the rifle up to my shoulder. He doesn’t move. I pull the hammer back. He’s still there. I set the trigger. He doesn’t flinch. I pull the trigger…

My view is blocked by the black powder smoke as there was practically no breeze that night but I can hear him crashing through the crop back to the east. While reloading I’m thinking how bad I don’t want to have to try to track the buck through that silage. He was so close, there’s no way I could have missed, I’m sure of it.

A bit later I see him step out of the silage into the cut. He’s about 100 yards or so and walking away. He stops, turns and looks back down the cut towards me. I’m frozen again. I’m afraid to move thinking he’ll run so I hunker down and glass him watching to see what he’ll do.

“Drop! C’mon, drop!” I say to whoever…

I watch him for over thirty minutes, until it gets too dark to see. So I get my flashlight and head down the cut to see what’s up. Meanwhile I had texted Keith to let him know I thought I had a deer down. I get to the place I think he should be…

Nothing. Nothing! No deer, no blood.

I keep walking, nothing. I don’t see a trail at all. As I meet Keith at the east end of the circle he asks if it was a nice looking 8-10 point. Yeah.

“Well, he was just in my head lights and then took off across the next field to the east. He didn’t look hurt to me.” Keith says.

That can’t be right! I’ve been to the range, the gun was shooting fine. I can’t believe it.

The next day I do some target practice, trying to figure out what happened. I set up  a steel target at 25 yards ad put a square of orange duct tape on it. First shot, dead on. Next shot, 4 inches to the left. Next shot, dead on. Then 4 inches to the left.

I check the front sight and find that it’s moving back and forth about a 1/16th of an inch. So sometime between my range time and the hunt, I must have knocked it loose. So really, it was the gun.

I didn’t see any deer the rest of the hunt or the last Saturday. I blew it by not checking my equipment over before going into the field. Stupid mistake.

Oh well, there’s always December right?