Many of you who know me may also know that I have been wanting to harvest a big swamp buck with my bow. I also have wanted to bag one of the light colored or what I call “yellow” coats that I have seen and admired from a distance. The color phase I am talking about is not vastly different from the typical deer color but it’s lighter and sometimes the top of the head is as blonde as any bleached blonde you might see on the beach. I have only seen the color phase in swamp bucks of the Delta. Some may say it’s not a real thing, this light or “yellow” color phase, but I see it clearly.
Now, in Texas, due to the Spanish influence, they often refer to a big whitetail buck as “El Muy Grande”. The Spanish word for yellow is “Amarillo”. I wasn’t sure how to put it all together so I went to an English to Spanish translation site to determine what “large yellow swamp buck” would translate to in Spanish. If the translator is right, this weekend I finally managed to be a part of taking a “gran macho amarillo ciervos del pantano” or big yellow swamp buck. Let’s just call him “Amarillo” for short.
Before I go any further I have to state that the taking of this buck unfortunately wasn’t a true fair chase like I had always envisioned. The young son of a friend of mine and I were hunting and we had just cleaned a big boar I had killed earlier. My friend, Albert, had left to go to work, after killing and dressing a sow pig. His son, Cullen (inset), stayed with me to hunt the rest of the day. We were in the process of toting out meat, bows and stands (my friend wanted the boar meat, not me!) Well my friend’s son got ahead of me and made a wrong turn in the thick palmettos and was walking away from where we had been hunting. Suddenly I heard his excited shouts. I was at first concerned because I thought he was lost or hurt or something, but when I caught up to him he told me a big buck had jumped up in front of him and ran off and appeared to be hurt. We dropped everything except our bows and began trying to find the buck. Something took off through the palmettos and ran and then appeared to stop. We couldn’t see the buck but occasionally would see the tips of antlers. After several repetitions of the cycle of the buck running and then us stalking, the buck finally appeared to become exhausted, giving us the opportunity to slip up on him. My friend’s son shot him first and I followed up with another shot. I then eased up as quietly as I could in the heavy cover and delivered the “coup de grace”. I have a video of the buck before delivering the final arrow.
Oh my gosh, what a buck! One of the G2’s is over sixteen inches! The inside spread is 20 and 3/4″. The buck was green scored at 166. An incredible buck. Looking over the buck we found that he had a broken front leg, broken at the shoulder. The break was high enough that a projectile would have injured the body, but no such injury to the body was present. Though no gunshot or bow wound was present, the evidence of a fight with another buck was. We studied the wound carefully but just couldn’t see where the broken skin could have been caused by anything other than just the broken bone. It is hard to imagine this buck losing a fight considering his headgear, but that is the conclusion we reached. Other signs of fighting were present, including some antler horn in the skull. The buck had lost a lot of body weight and the end was not far off. At the very least we saved the buck from a fate worse than death, being eaten alive by coyotes and hogs. The weight was 175, but should have been more as you can see by the buck’s ribs showing. Of course bucks are often lean and worn down this time of year so it’s hard to know how long the buck had been wounded and how much weight loss had occurred from the broken leg.
I know this was not a fair chase adventure, but the fact that I got to experience a huge, and live “yellow” swamp buck and share in putting him out of his misery was fulfilling. The great buck deserved a better ending than what coyotes and hogs would have given him. Maybe I’ll just stick to the invasive and destructive hogs from now on and let the smaller bucks become great bucks. Of course we’ll have to see if I still feel that way next year.
The boar I had taken earlier was a nice trophy too, but considering the buck, hardly worth mentioning: