_ Here’s another great discussion topic idea that I can’t take credit for! Laura Bell just emailed me this heartbreaking story of a buck that entered her life–and left it just as quick. She figured, and I agree, that most of us have had near misses like this at one point or another. Here’s what Laura had to say about hers–complete with a moral at the end! –K.H._

 I'm sure there's been a few times where we've all had close encounters with an animal but just couldn't seal the deal. I remember one Ohio Gun Deer Season a couple years ago. I wasn't seeing anything and my Dad went to put on a drive for me. He was going to walk through a chunk of grape vines and brush, just to see if anything was laying tight in it. My dad walked off and I stood ready for action. Not long after he left I heard the brush cracking and small grunts. A second later a doe trots out, and not 30 yards behind and hot on her heels is a nice, I mean nice, buck! There's also a smaller buck, but my gun is up and on the big one. I try and pick him out, not wanting to shoot the doe or little buck or the trees they're passing behind. I shoot and miss two times, but finally as they pass an opening I let my last shot go and the big boy falls. Yes! He doesn't move an inch and I just stand there watching him, beautiful buck he is. I excitedly call my dad on the radio and tell him I've got a big one down and to hurry up through the drive and come see him! Just then the buck jumps up! I flip my safety off and go to take another shot at him...Click! I forgot to reload. In my excitement I never reloaded and just called my dad. I quickly dig in my pockets for another load and all I can do is watch him run away. I can see he's staggering, but heck he's sure taking off good enough! I'm all reloaded now, but he's gone. My dad arrived and found no deer... I had to tell him he got up and ran away. We start the track job. We had good blood and hair, and dirt turned up from where he fell. He made it down to a creek and that was the last we saw of blood. He disappeared from there. We searched for days, nothing, no trace of him, dead or alive. I was sick over that, but a valuable lesson came from it. Bragging comes after reloading...and tag soup isn't all that bad...  --Laura Bell