It’s just the order of the universe. It’s what keeps the cosmos from flying apart too fast, sending your Mathews Z7 (and the rest of Earth) hurtling into deep space. On one side of the equation, if you pass the wrong buck, you will eat your tag. On the other side, if fill your tag with a small buck, you will be taunted by a bigger one.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of a forkhorn I took with my bow here in New York, with the headline “Don’t Tell Me I Should Have Passed Him.” Having spent yesterday making venison sausage, I’m not sorry I shot the buck. But payback is hell.

On Friday evening, the day before the gun opener when my other buck tag would become valid, I climbed into a bow stand. About an hour before dark, I spotted a buck sidehilling through the hemlocks behind me. Just about to walk into my scent stream, he stopped, turned downhill, and walk right under my stand. I mean right under my stand: He spent a full five minutes sniffing my treesteps, where it was plain to see that he carried the biggest 8-point rack I’ve ever seen from a bow stand in New York.

I drew, put the pin on his vitals, and with only a doe tag in my pocket…let down. It’s now Monday, and I’m still feeling that one.

Anyway, any of you been burned yet?