The big buck appeared like a shadow in the early morning Manitoba light, and began methodically making his way toward my stand, stopping occasionally to test the wind or nose the ground for signs of danger or other deer.
It is easy to allow your mind to wonder during the hours of solitude spent in the forest - picturing the ideal spot for a monster whitetail to make an entrance.
I think we all do it - envision which route or trail an experienced brute might take - visualize him walking through a sliver of light along a faint runway carved into the forest floor.
On this morning, I don't think I could have scripted it better.
He first came into sight like a ghost emerging from a tangle of dense brush - exactly as I had envisioned an experienced deer would. Then, he strode proudly along a well-used trail that promised to bring him easily within bow range.
"He's a nice buck, I am definitely going to take him," I whispered to my hunting partner, Mike Fenoff, as I eased my way into a solid shooting position.
I caught a glint of antler at 60 yards, and took a deep breath to calm my nerves. While some shots with a bow happen as quickly as it takes to raise and draw, others seem to unfold like a television drama.
This was proving more the latter, giving me almost too much time to mull the shot while nervously willing the deer on.
For the moment at least, he continued to steadily close ground.
Then, just as it seemed the buck would emerge under my stand, the heavy eight-pointer seemed to vanish into the thick Canadian bush as quickly as he appeared.
"Where did he go?" I said in a hushed tone and Mike answered remorsefully, "I don't know."
It was the fourth morning of a fully-guided bow hunt in Minnedosa, Manitoba. Mike had tagged out a few days earlier on a dandy 11-pointer with gnarly dark antlers and then offered to man a video camera in hopes of capturing my hunt on tape.
Our guide was Ernie Noordenbos of Little Saskatchewan Outfitters. Both Ernie and his son, Kevin, are disabled - Ernie from a fall while working as a heavy equipment mechanic and Kevin from a car accident that left him comatose and then with a life-altering brain injury.
Ironically, it was our disabilities that brought us together.
Because of his personal experience and family history, Ernie believes strongly in helping those with physical limitations. For this reason, he offers discounts to members of the Physically Challenged Bowhunters Association, of which I am a member.
It was this common affiliation that led to me booking a hunt with Ernie, and I've been two years waiting anxiously to make it happen.
Because of my left hand paralysis, Manitoba also gave me the opportunity to use a crossbow during its regular archery season.
New York is not as permissive with the use of crossbows among its state's disabled hunters - only paraplegics who fire with assistance from a blow tube are allowed to use them during our archery season.
We saw 17 deer the first day in Manitoba, which was capped by Mike downing his largest buck ever with a bow, or any other firearm for that matter.
Then, a nasty cold front weather forecasters compared to a category three hurricane settled in bringing sleet, snow and 50 mph wind. Needless to say, deer activity tapered dramatically and I was beginning to question my chances of filling my tag.
That is, until the heavy eight made an appearance.
But, the deer had vanished into the same thick underbrush from which it appeared, and for what seemed an eternity neither Mike or I could find his dark outline.
Fortunately, he was never far away.
Just minutes after the deer had ducked into the bush, he reappeared, this time intent on following the runway two does had taken earlier, directly under our stand.
As Mike videotaped, the deer made his way to within 50 yards, then 40, then 30. At 25 yards, I stopped him with a bleat and sent an arrow home. The shot was true and he dropped in sight.
It has been said that harvesting a mature whitetail with a bow cannot be described, only felt by those who have earned the feeling.
I could not have said it better myself.