I’ve hunted with my dad since I was old enough to trudge through the woods. We experienced it all; the highs of harvesting good bucks, the lows of not seeing deer or just missing them, and plenty of laughs along the way. The rifle season of 2008, however, produced a story that we still speak of consistently today. This is the story of The Runt.
I was sitting in my trusty ground blind on opening day that year. It had been a slow morning with zero deer sighting past the lunch hour. Not long after I consumed the final morsel of my turkey sandwich, I heard a commotion down by the stand of softwoods out in front of me. Without warning, on a dead run were four deer, followed closely by a grunting one. As they were moving briskly through the flat 100 yards away, I hastily pulled up and checked through my scope. The first four were all doe, while the fifth deer had small spikes. They raced out of sight, with the buck grunting along the way. I put my gun down and had a chuckle. That boy thought he was a big man and the ladies wanted nothing o do with him.
The following afternoon, I met Dad at our usual meeting spot at dark. He had a twinkle in his eye as if he couldn’t wait to tell me a story. He said he saw a doe approaching at a steady walk that suddenly began galloping through the hardwoods toward him. Behind her was a small fawn, also on a mission. When the deer closed to within 15 yards, he heard the grunting and realized the “fawn” was actually a small spike horn. He then had a front row seat to the doe running in circles with the buck following in lock step, grunting dozens of time, before the two deer disappeared. Dad said the doe towered over the buck and he wondered how the male deer would ever be able to mount the object of his affection.
I was back in my normal spot on the fourth morning. At about 9:00 AM, I spotted a deer off to my right, coming my way. Immediately, I heard grunting. I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” The Runt, as Dad and I now affectionately called him, was closing in. They walked from my right to left and up a bank, getting to within 20 yards, giving me a great look at them. The buck couldn’t go more than 80 pounds. I got on the radio with Dad and we had a chuckle about seeing the big boy again. This is probably the only time in my deer hunting experience when I couldn’t wait for the deer to get out of there.
That was the last either of us saw of The Runt. I’m not sure what actually happened to him. I’m assuming he got to be too big for his britches and got run off by a larger deer. In all honesty, it wouldn’t take much. Dad and I talk about him frequently to this day. Maybe five or six years later, one of us wondered out loud, half-jokingly, if he would be a small four pointer yet. Long live The Runt.