Mike Venable picked up a lease late last hunting season on some land in Orange County, N. C., and he wasted no time putting up a couple of stands on an oak ridge. The deer wasted no time either, showing up as soon he and his wife hunted the first time. But a bad mixture between his hunting stand and his arrow caused him to miss the biggest deer of his life. Luckily, that same deer showed up again on the 15th of this month, and this time, Venable arrowed the deer.

This second chance Venable got did not come without some serious drama though. After hitting the buck, he watched it tumble to the ground, but it got up and began moving off. Venable put another arrow in it. Again, the deer fell. And again, it got up, and this time, ran off.

This was the beginning of a very long night.

After looking for quite some time to find a blood trail, Venable was not able to locate anything, and once it turned dark, he returned home to pick up his wife and call a friend, Robbie Baker, to help him track the deer. 

Looking until well past midnight, the trio did find a good bit of blood, and just before 2 a.m., they happened across the buck itself, but unfortunately, the deer was still very much alive. It jumped up, ran out of the woods and across a large field. Venable’s heart sank, and he thought that was probably the last he would ever see of that deer.

Later that morning, Venable went to work, and thought of the deer all day. Once his work day was done, he picked up his wife and drove to where he figured the deer would be and got permission from the landowner to search the area. They picked up a blood trail, but it wasn’t long before it ended.

Understandably disheartened, the couple continued to look another couple of hours. Finally, his wife spotted the deer’s body in a big pine thicket, and told him to go get his deer.

“Maybe it’s not mine,” Venable said, “because I don’t see any horns.”

“Well maybe that’s a big pine tree,” said his wife, pointing at the deer’s thick and wide antlers with two long brow tines.

“Mike is a loving husband, and wonderful father who helps everyone. He’s the greatest sportsman I know. We are very happy, but it is bittersweet, because that deer will be missed,” said his wife.