The buck turned to walk up the creek, through low, winter-dead weeds, quartering away. I’ve daydreamed about the next few minutes for many hours since: While it seemed as though he walked forever, looking back, moment by moment, I realize I didn’t have much time at all. I could hear the gloppy muck sucking at his hooves. He had a front-shoulder limp, worsened by the mud, so he was in no hurry. There was a good 40 yards of clear creek bank in front of him, before the trees closed in, and now that he was in the open and I could see the wide rack, my pulse pounded in my heart, hands, and chest. The old-timer’s unhurried demeanor made it worse. I could have shot that buck a dozen times—should have shot that buck long before now, before his saunter up the creek unleashed a torrent of adrenaline. But still I held my fire, and watched him walk.