With everyone’s mind on deer this past week, thought I’d post a couple flashback pieces on a couple of my favorite deer hunts. This one goes back to 2009…
This is a nice buck I found simply by doing a lot of scouting. I found a pinch point where there were several nice scrapes and a few rubs on trees that were about as big around as my calf. I like to look for good sized rubs to get a feel for what size bucks are in the area. I sat in this pinch point one time and narrowed down where the deer were coming through so I adjusted my stand by 40 yards. I was hunting in early November, pre rut so the chasing had not started yet. It had been hot and windy and I had a full moon to boot. Generally very rough hunting conditions.
On this morning, I went in a full hour early to get in there hang my stand and let things settle down before it was time to hunt. Well, as things would have it, while I was hanging my stand on the tree in the dark, I saw a very nice shooter buck walk directly under me in the moonlight. I had my stand on the tree, but had not winched it down yet. He walked right by my bow laying on the ground. I was glad he did not step on it!
I pulled my bow up and sat for the next 4 plus hours and once the wind got to blowing about 30 miles per hour and I was getting a little sea sick, I figured it was time to get down. I had not seen squat while on stand. I dropped my bow to the ground and was working the tree stand off the tree while hanging in the air on my steps and turned around, and there he was standing there 25 yards away. ARG! Mother nature is a cruel foe! He saw me, but I held still and did not freak him out so he walked on and once he was out of sight, I pulled my stand and scattered out of the area. I went and had lunch and was thinking of work vs. hunting. The wind was blowing like crazy and I was battling a full moon. I decided to give it another shot since I knew there was a nice buck in the area. I went back on stand and sat there, riding the wind waves in the tree as it swung back and forth until with just a few minutes of shooting light left, I heard footsteps coming from behind me. Thank goodness the wind had subsided a bit. I got my bow ready and looked down and around my left foot and saw this guy walk right down my left side. I tried to get a shot off straight down, but he was moving too fast and got behind a tree that was in front of me. I kept leaning left and right to get a shot around the tree while he walked further on. Once I finally got some clearance, I had a straight away shot at about 35 yards. I had misjudged the distance by just a bit so my shot was a bit lower than I wanted. I saw the buck run off about 70 yards and lay down but as the sun went down and I lost light, which was only a few minutes later really, I could still see his head up.
Not knowing exactly what sort of hit I had, I stayed in that tree in the dark for the next 2 hours holding my phone in my backpack so I did not give off any light, but telling my family I was ok and needed to sit tight for a while. The evening cooled down and I decided to get out of my tree and walk directly away from the buck to give him some time. I did not want to push him at all with a hit high in the back angling down into the chest cavity. Odds were very good I did not have an exit hole for my arrow and tracking would be very tough.
I went home. Rough night of sleep. I brought my daughter and son with me in the morning to help me track the buck. As luck would have it, he only went another 60 yards and expired in some tall grass. It was a good adventure and good experience for my kids to help me track and find the buck and have them help me get it out and to the truck.
I typically don’t hunt much when winds are blowing harder than 25 miles per hour, but this was an exception and the winds dropped for me just at dark. Hunting around the full moon on a warm windy day had me pushing closer to his bedding area to catch him on his feet with a little shooting time left. Had I pushed this buck after the hit and he possibly run another few hundred yards, I may not have found him, let alone finding him in time early in the morning to be able to salvage the meat. The meat was delicious and the pictures were great! I am glad my kids were able to join me to help me recover such a nice animal.