It was a cold evening, I had just gotten home from work and could not wait to get packed and loaded so I could just jump into the Ford truck the next morning at 4 am. It was late in the regular bow season and word was out that the rut appeared to be arriving early this year. Well that morning I awoke to weather in the low thirties which was great.
Upon arriving at my destination, I had pulled over at a bar parking lot to take advantage of the parking lot lights to change into my cold weather hunting suit. After getting set up in my stand with 45 minutes till light, I just had thoughts of past hunts and what the morning could bring. There is something special about being out in the woods, looking up at the night sky and starring at thousands of stars. I can’t help but thinking about what people are missing out here in the great outdoors.
Slowly the stars faded with daybreak and I could see the woods start coming into focus. I had made my way into my stand without spooking any deer and felt good about my chances. The first sounds came from behind me and turned out to be a squirrel moving along the forest floor. Shortly after that I had two yearlings come by. As I watched them, a borderline shooter appeared out of nowhere, my blood was pumping but I decided to let him go hoping that something bigger would appear behind him. With no such luck I watched him move on.
It has been frustrating at times letting some bucks walk knowing that the land owner next door to my property would not be so kind as to let him walk and grow another year. QDM is what I practice on our land and some land owners around us do also.
The rest of the morning was pretty quiet except for a buck in the distance chasing a doe around the woods, covering large amounts of land, twisting in and out of the trees and thick brush violently, but I never got a real good look at him. It was very exciting to see the buck chasing that doe.
I had planned on going in for lunch but that activity had my butt seat down in my stand for another hour. But soon I was cold and came in for lunch and warmed up. After a short nap I would get back out there.
That afternoon, out of the same stand, I had several does work their way towards me very slowly, stopping about thirty five yards behind my stand. As I watched them I noticed off to my right in the thick cover of small trees and cedars, a buck with some nice antlers moving towards the does. I carefully got into position with my bow and drew back waiting for him to pass by my shooting lane. Just as I was going to let my arrow fly I heard the snap of a branch and looked over to see the biggest buck I’ve ever seen in the woods following the same path as the first buck.
The big ten point came in and pushed the other buck out and stopped with a small tree in front of his vitals. Still at full draw and getting tired the buck started thrashing a very small tree and then looked over at the other buck and then continued to thrash the tree till it broke in half.
What a show! By now I’m totally losing it, buck fever has taken over and I still can’t take the shot. My arm is now leaning on the tree, trying to steady myself I can barely hold back my draw when the buck starts to turn giving me the shot. The arrow zips right over his back. I could not believe I had just blown the buck of a lifetime. After heading back to my truck feeling terrible, I checked out the video and found that my camera had been zoomed all the way out so the footage was not the best. It would be another week before returning to the woods with that buck on my mind, wondering if I would get another shot at him.
One week later I returned to the same stand for the evening hunt and had a nice buck come by following a doe. As I drew back, my stand made a popping noise from the cold weather that alerted the doe. As she took off I thought I had blown another chance, but as I looked over at the buck he was love sick and moving slowly towards her direction.
I placed my pin on his vitals and let the arrow fly hitting him good. I watched as he moved up the ridge and out of sight. I decided to back off and leave the woods, giving the buck some time. I called my brother-in-law Shawn to help track the buck . As I hit the edge of the field, there was an eight point about 60 yards away just standing in the corner where the field meets the woods, with some doe. Unbelievable the rut was on.
Shawn and his dad arrived and we made quick work tracking my buck with plenty of blood to track. We found him within sixty yards from where I had shot him. The buck was a nice seven point and I can’t wait to hang him on my wall.