Hunting sometimes comes with choices

Mike Simon went out for Monday's opening evening of archery deer season and got his best bow kill.

But he'll forever wonder if he let a bigger one get away.

That's saying something since the 13-pointer he shot grosses about 186 inches of antler.

Simon had been thinking of the buck for several weeks when it began showing up on a trail camera he had set near a food plot.

That the buck appeared to have a droptine intrigued him.

"I've shot a lot of really nice bucks," said Simon, the owner of at least 11 that would qualify for Pope & Young listings. "But I've never gotten a droptine. The idea intrigued me."

He hoped he'd get his chance in November when the rut forced the buck out of its nocturnal wanderings.

Then the day before the season, it showed up at the food plot during legal shooting light.

"Rarely do I go out opening afternoon, but we had a north wind and it's a north wind stand," Simon said. "He'd also been there with plenty of light the evening before."

Monday he was in the treestand, watching a few does graze, when he noticed two bucks coming his way.

One was the nice nontypical.

"The other one was a really nice typical 10 (pointer). I knew he was really good but I'd already decided I'd like to take the drop-tined buck," Simon said.

Both bucks came by and he made a good shot at 20 yards.

When he went to his buck he found two surprises. What he thought was a droptine was actually a third main beam.

What he thought was a 170-class buck was quite a bit larger. His friends green-scored the 13-pointer at 186 inches.

"Knowing that, in hindsight I'm wondering how big was that typical 10?" Simon said. "He was bigger than the buck I shot. I have no doubt he'd have made Boone & Crockett with ease."

He's estimated the buck may have grossed near 190 inches.

Simon said he can happily deal with the fact that he picked the buck he shot over one that could have been world class.

He's sad, though, that his archery deer season is over.

"I don't know what it'll be like not hunting the rut in November, all the rattling and bucks running all over," he said. "Maybe I can finally do some more duck hunting. My Lab is really happy now. So is my wife."