first part of december last year. a chilly and lightly breezy beautiful sunny day. stalking up deer on the 300 acres i lived on at the time. "raised up" on a yearling doe but when i saw her thru the scope i didnt have as good a shot as i thought so i let her slide. around noon or so i decide its time for a bite to eat so i hunt my way back to the house. perhaps no more than 100 yards from my back door i unload my rifle and take my pipe from my pocket. leisurely loading my pipe with tobacco im not paying too much attention to anything else when something catches my eye. rifle unloaded and slung on my shoulder, my big freehand pipe in one hand and a lighter in the other, and not fifty yards away from me is far and above the biggest buck id ever seen. i counted seven tines on one side and could have had more. by this point my heart was pounding its way thru my chest and my tunnel vision showed me nothing outside of the massive buck's vitals area. slowly enough it seemed to be an eternity i let the pipe and lighter simply fall from my hands and gingerly unslung the rifle. with mine eyes focused on his vitals the crosshairs lined up perfectly. this was it, this was my once in a lifetime buck id waited oh so many deer seasons to find. i pulled back the hammer as softly as i could, wincing at that little sound it made as it locked into place. with the scope on him i could tell for sure he was a solid 14 point typical. id only seen bucks like this in magazines. he's standing quartering away from me to the left at fifty yards or so, i figure out exactly where my entrance wound needs to be and squeeze the trigger. CLICK ! That click was louder than any gunshot id ever heard. by this point the buck is looking dead at me, perhaps even laughing at me, i creep my hand down into my coat pocket for a cartridge and load the rifle with as little movement as possible. i think i may have wet my pants too. hahaha i managed to get the rifle cocked and sighted just as the buck took a big leap into the thicket. a dozen emotions hit me all at once. mostly i was mad at myself. here was my lifetime deer and i let it get away. my (now ex-) wife told me it served me right for unloading my gun before i got to the porch. i calmly stood there for a good five minutes letting my blood pressure calm down and trying to listen to hear the buck thru the woods. thinking about what i did wrong and how never to let this happen again. dejected and disgusted i go back in the house, eat a bite of lunch, and go start tracking that deer. his massive tracks were easy to pick out of the others and i spent the rest of the afternoon roaming his area. twice more last season i saw that same deer but never was granted another chance at a shot. i still daydream about such a deer walking out in front of me and if i hunt smart enough and long enough i will indeed be blessed with such a deer to my credit. its okay tho, many people never get a chance to even see such an animal.