Opening week for Arkansas archery season came and went quickly and was pretty uneventful. We're hunting about 300 acres of private property and also surrounding National Park in Central Arkansas. Temperature lows were mid. 60s, highs got into the 90s. Way too hot for much daytime deer movement and our game cameras were feeding us supporting intel. I'm always anxious to get back into the woods so this was still a great few days to get in some well needed tree time therapy in and welcome the start of another archery season. Arrows stayed in the bows for round 1..... Tuesday 10/24 is a date on my calendar that has been coming for what seems to have been months. I was able to get off work early that day and lead footed my way out of north Texas. I rolled into deer camp about 3:30 pm and after a quick change of clothes, I headed to a tree that I've hunted from last year that's in a protected ravine. Not a deer "hot spot" by any means but due to the wind we had I thought it might be a good protected transition area for the first evening hunt. I was pretty settled in my climber by 4:30 pm and happy I chose this ravine area as the wind was really whipping through the pines. 14 minutes ticked by and I pick up movement to my right. A young buck was moving through the ravine brush about 15 yards away. No shot there but luck was with me as he circled a tree cluster and came into the open at 18 yards. I put the 20 yard pin low and back from the front left leg, made a nice trigger pull and the BEE found it's mark in an instant. The young 6 point kicked and was off to the races heading north following the ravine. My arrow passed completely though and the illuminated omni nock was shinning though the ground cover. I was pretty confident the shot was good so I decided to let him find a spot to settle, I'd hunt the remainder of the afternoon then go find him. My plan didn't work out as well as I hoped, the blood trail wasn't cooperating. I had good blood initially but after about 50 yards down a small creek bed, the blood stopped. I decided I need extra eyes and better light so I returned to camp picked up a spot light and tagged my brother in law for help. After another 90 minutes of searching and a little more progress with the blood trail, we lost it again. No luck circling out so we decided to stop for the night and pick it up in the morning. Temps were in the low 50s now and it would drop to mid 40s by morning so we were comfortable the deer would cool down and be fine left overnight. Not so..... About 1 am, still stoking the camp fire, we heard the coyotes going off in a big way out in the darkness somewhere and didn't really tie that to what we would see the following morning. I made their week I'm sure and learned a hard lesson about their presence in these Quachita mountain woods. The coyotes are here in force. Wednesday morning had me in the national forest on the edge of a big clearing and up in a big pine. This tree offers a great vantage point and overlooks an area I have never hunted so it was a hunting/scouting trip and who knows, and maybe I'd get lucky. The morning temps had dropped into the 30s and by sunrise I was feeling the morning chill. The crows were up and talking and a tom called out for a minute to two. All good signs that the woods were waking up. Nothing showed from the deer family until about 8 am when two does crossed the far side of the field. They followed the edge a bit then vanished into the dense cover of the woods. Anxious to get some blood circulating and thinking there may be a better spot for my tree stand, I got down and set a course to the edge of the field where the does vanished. On this trek I also passed two nice scrapes. The second scrape was almost at the point where the does vanished and I easily found the trail they had taken back into the woods. An ideal sized pine was about 6 yards from the scrape and just a few feet from the trail so I decided to setup here and planning this to be my spot for the following morning. Thursday morning finds me in the new spot, dawn's light creeps in about 6 am and at I catch myself dozing. I look off into the field to my left and see something standing in the field close to the path I used to cut across the field. 10 minutes or so pass and more dawn light creeps in and this shape turns out to be a coyote. A nicely filled out male too.... After a few more minutes he drops back into the woods and is gone. Sunrise is beautiful, temps are not quite as cold as the previous morning, there's no wind so I'm pretty comfortable and enjoy the oncoming light. I don't move around in my climber much and have learned to sit as still as possible. Even up at 20-30' I've been busted a time or two by deer, coyotes and turkey so I try to be pretty still. It was just about 8 am, I'm looking down through the brush that boarders the field and I see a buck walking the field edge. At this point he is no more than 10 yards from me to my right but behind the brush that boarders the field. He continues to pass under my tree and I quickly realize I have no shot through the brush. I've moved from sitting to standing now and he's past my tree to my left and working on the scrape I mentioned earlier. I can see he's a nice buck, an 8 or 10 point, he's a big body deer and his neck is thick. I'm now frantically looking for a shooting gap in the brush and see none..... The thought rushes in that that if he continues to walk the field edge he's gone. Yes, my sit here would have been very productive but was this great deer really going to walk on by? I'm pretty sure the good Lord was paying me back for feeding the coyotes and as the buck leaves his scrape he leaves the field edge and starts angling across the field. He's at 12 yards now and a window opens for a shot with his left side partially open. I put the RangeMaster's 20 yard pin midpoint on his rib cage, pull the trigger and the shot looks good. The buck takes off across the field like a rocket but as he gets near the far side woods I could tell he was slowing and limping. My BEE had passed through, was lit and buried in the dirt. Two minutes to take a breath, rewind this in my mind and I'm soon lowering my Storm to the ground so I can see the arrow. I quickly find it and it's covered from tip to the nock. Blood is everywhere and the trail of 70 yards across the field in knee high grass was easy to follow. Twenty yards up into the hardwoods lays this mature whitetail buck. No, he's no record book buck by a long shot but the best antlered buck I've seen in the woods in my lifetime. I paused for a few minutes, thanked God, counted my blessings and took a good look at this animal. This deer embodies why I hunt and he will live with me as memories for a lifetime! This could have been the buck you hear about when stories are told around the camp fire. If he had held to the field edge, he would have lived on and may have been this hunter's campfire tail. He tipped the scales at 202 and is a 5X4 with a 2" base sticker. A typical 9 point or a 10 by some standards. In my book he will be remembered as the chocolate racked buck that almost got away.