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The Whitetail Story Behind “One-Eyed Bill”

HUNTER: Kyle Smith
STATE: Missouri
YEAR: 2016

WEAPON: (Click to View)

Browning BAR 30-06


Hooyman TreeSaw

Uncle Henry Golden Spike Knife




Some deer have core areas that are small. So small and so set on living there that you almost can’t seem to get them to change their pattern. Some deer however are the complete opposite. They have such a wide range of travel and such a large core area they seem impossible to pattern. These are typically the bucks that show up every 3 or four days and then cycle back through almost completing a loop or a circuit. In some ways the randomness keeps them alive I believe. However, it also exposes them to more hunters and more potential danger by covering more ground. 

One eyed bill was definitely a traveler. He had a wide circuit that basically covered 3 different farms owned by three different land owners. Presenting the opportunity for many hunters to get an opportunity at him. He got his name from fighting and losing vision in one eye. It seems that the deer that often cover more territory are more aggressive deer. Almost like they are unafraid to wander into someone else’s territory or willing the accept the risk. This particular deer we felt we had a small chance of killing him unless we caught him making the one third of his circuit on the property we hunted and during daylight. 

On Nov. 17th , 2016 he did just that. At first light with his nose to the ground trotting, he was heading back into the area where we believe he spent most of his time.  Which was almost a mile from where I was hunting. He circled down wind of me into a creek and stopped right at the creek crossing. That was the last step that he took. 

Words can’t express what that deer meant to me. At a time in my life dealing with some serious personal issues, at a time where really nothing seemed to be going right, something as small as a deer seem to give me a ray of hope that God had my back and that everything will be ok. Hard to explain the emotions looking back on it, but overtime I began to think about the other hunters that could have potentially shot this buck. With his core area being so broad, the neighbors on the other two properties stood just as great of a chance at this buck as we did. 

That lead me into thinking how possessive we get over big deer. “My Deer” and a deer so big you get obsessed with killing him and heartbroken if anyone else kills the deer. What if that person who killed that deer was at a point in their life where they needed something positive. What if they were in a season of trouble where something as simple as a deer could help pull them through. We often get frustrated or upset if we don’t kill the buck were hunting but what if we changed that and thought about what it could potentially mean to that other person. As outdoorsmen we owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to be happy for other hunters and congratulate them. I’ve seen grown men do some of the most selfish and ridiculous things just to kill a deer. 

This brings me to the first two commandments God gave us. Matthew 37 “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest of the Laws. 39 The second is like it, ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. “

The second commandment noted almost equally as important as the first is to love your neighbor as yourself. That implies two things. One you must learn how to love yourself. Once you understand that, you then will understand how to love your neighbor. I think this calls for a change of a lot of hearts as to how we view hunting and the outdoors in general and hunting our target bucks. 

Sure, we all love to target specific deer or the “trophy”. I think that’s a great part of hunting that we cant lose site of.  That should not however come between us and our neighbors and loving one another as God instructed us to do so. 

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