Here’s a really neat story from Wired To Hunt reader Dana Dutoi, as he recalls his hunt for this big old Indiana whitetail. Gotta love seeing members of the Wired To Hunt Nation having success in the pursuit of mature bucks. Big congrats Dana! – MK

“On Thursday November 17, 2011, I was at work around 8:30 A.M. when my friend Randy called me to ask about a dead deer laying in the field on his brother in law’s property where I hunt.  I told him I didn’t know anything about it and that I had hunted their the night before and hadn’t seen it.  I told him I would send someone to check it out, as we had been having some issues with poachers over the last few weeks and I was afraid we had another victim. So I called my friend Emery who lives around the corner and asked if he would go check it out.

He called me back later to say it was a button that had been hit by a car but hadn’t been dead more than 2 hours and he was going to wait for the game warden to arrive and issue a possession permit so he could have it processed.  Good.  All is well and no deer have been poached.  20 minutes later Emery calls me again and says that while waiting for the game warden he watched a decent buck push a doe into the woods and never saw them come out.  He said he didnt get that great of a look at him. So I walked out the shop door and looked at the flagpole out front to check the wind.  Straight out of the Northwest, absolutely ideal for that stand, this could work.

It’s gun season now and I’m still carrying a buck tag.  So I skipped lunch and bailed out of work around three P.M.  headed home for a quick scent neutralizing shower and put my camo on.  I got settled into my stand at four P.M., fifteen minutes later I went through a tending grunt and doe bleat sequence.  The timber came to life, their were 2 yearling does bedded in a blow down 20 yards behind me that I never knew were there.  They got on their feet and began to mill around feed on some acorns, and I could hear deer coming my way from the west, game on.

I could see a doe making her way through brush and I was praying that it was the same doe Emery had seen that morning and that the buck was still with her.  Sure enough, like he was cued, here he came behind her 2 minutes later.  He must have read the script the night before because he put on show.  He made a scrape, rubbed some saplings, all while the doe fed into the clearing in front of me.  The deer were pretty much in the lock down stage of the rut at this point and he wasn’t really pushing her but he didn’t want to leave her.  She finally fed into the other side of the clearing and he stepped to the edge.  This is when I knew I was dealing with a very mature deer.  He stood at the edge of the clearing like a statue for 5 minutes never moving but all the while checking his surroundings. I was perched just 32 yards away like a stone.

He finally made his move into the open where I could really evaluate him, I instantly put the safety back on.  He was no more than a 100 inch eight pointer. But then I started looking at other things.  This buck had a face as gray as a ghost, and a big ol’ roman nose like a mule.  He was an old warrior with a broken right beam and heavy antlers.  He was no booner but a solid buck.  I was still unsure.  He fed past at 12 yards.  I was kind of upset thinking that I would much rather kill this deer with my bow.  I took the safety off on my shotgun, then put it back on.  I still couldn’t make up my mind, knowing for a fact that there were much larger deer in the area.  I watched him and the doe for another 5 minutes and he was suddenly in my last shooting window at 22 yards, (this stand was set up for archery in some thick timber just 70 yards west of a bedding area).  It was do or die time, the moment of truth if you will. This was no booner, but still  had a very nice rack, and he was a very SMART, mature deer, which are hard to get within 100 yards of let alone 20.

The safety came off and the gun came up, BOOM, game over, he dropped like he’d been hit by a train.  After a rush of emotion and adrenaline that every deer hunter knows about hit me, all of the successes and failures that had occurred in the past 47 days of hunting rushed through my mind. I was excited that I had killed my buck, but at the same time disappointed that it was over, that I had to wait another year to do it over again.  Then I said “who cares!” and started making phone calls. ” – Dana Dutoi