Although Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were among baseball’s greatest hitters, few remember the fact they also led the league in strikeouts during many years of their career. Regardless of what you’re doing, success is a mere bright spot amid a tapestry of abject failure.
Bowhunter Chuck Adams knows the feeling all too well. Although he’s considered among the elite bowhunters in the entire world, he readily admits he’s gone home humbled far more than you would think.
"For every animal you see me grinnin’ with in a magazine or on TV or in an advertisement, there are several others that absolutely kicked my butt and got away," said Adams. "There have been so many failures, I don’t know where to begin."
Two lost opportunities stand out in his mind. The first was a legendary deer in Alberta, Canada along the Red Deer River. A massive whitetail buck had earned the nickname "The Space Monster."
"He had just huge antlers and they picked up his shed antlers every year because after the season he would appear," said Adams. "The average set of sheds was scoring an average between 250 and 300. This deer had anywhere from 15 to 20 distinct tines on his rack every year."
Adams had the good fortune to be hunting in the area and spotted the Space Monster during bow season. Adams says it was a rare opportunity and believes the deer may have errantly revealed himself because he was slipping in his old age.
Nestled into a ground blind, dug into a hole and surrounded by tumbleweeds, Adams was able to ambush the Space Monster from 40-yards at a fence crossing in an agriculture field. The deer was limping and skinny, but sported an incredible rack.
"When I let go of the bow string, he turned from an old, crippled buck into a yearling," said Adams. "He jumped the string and was probably ten-feet away by the time my arrow got there."
Adams never saw the Space Monster again and the legendary buck fell to a rifle hunter later that same season. The rack, even at the buck’s advanced age scored 200-inches.
"That’s one I’ll always remember and I don’t know if I’d say I regret it–but maybe I would a little bit," laughed Adams. "I’d rather have him on my wall than somebody else’s wall."
Adams was the first hunter to kill every North American game animal with a bow. He accomplished the feat in 1990. Along the way he managed to on two occasions to set the world record for Sitka black tail deer. He spied one while hunting Kodiak Island in Alaska which was the biggest even he had ever seen and speculates had he gotten him, it would have still stood as the world record today.
"I found that buck and knew he was huge," said Adams. "I was hiking six or seven miles every day from base camp to where he was hanging out. I chased him around for about a week and then had to go do a business trip that I could not get out of and I had to fly out and never got that deer."
Adams returned the following year, but could never find the elusive animal for a second time.
"I’ll always remember that massive 5-by-5, because I think he would probably be the world record today with a bow," Adams said.