“The Phantom Buck”…A poem for deer hunters

My mother, Beverly VanBuren wrote this poem for me back in the 1980’s when I was a young gunner. I loved it so much that memorized it, and to this day can recall it with ease, and as I recall the words, I can see the images, as if from a movie in my mind…

There was thunder in the meadow
Where the doe had come to feed
And her fawn cried vainly to her
As she watched her mother bleed.

There was thunder in the hard oaks
Where the acorn crop was good
And the ground was slick and bloody
Where the hungry buck had stood

There was thunder on the ridges
And beneath the apple trees
And the whitetail’s flag waved danger
There was man sent on the breeze.

There is thunder all around him.
But ‘The Phantom Buck’ lies still
Lightning never struck ‘Old Grey’
And now it never will.

He died beneath the thick pines
Where the hunters couldn’t go
But his legend lives forever
Where the tallest stories grow.
(Written by Beverly VanBuren)

I don’t recall the entire letter she had written to me, along with the original copy of this poem, but I know the message. It is a message all hunters should know.

Killing is a dirty business. There is going to be blood spilled, and an animal is likely to die. When you enter the woods with a firearm, realize that you are going out there with the intent to kill. Once that trigger is pulled, you can’t take it back…the bullet will go somewhere.

Make sure of your target, and don’t kill for the sake of killing. Paper targets are cheaper!

Be safe out there deer slayers!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.