By Chris Eberhart
My brother is a great whitetail hunter. He’s one of those guys though that you never hear anything about. Every year he kills a nice buck or two and quietly has amassed a house full of big antlers. Jon simply loves to hunt. He certainly isn’t looking for attention. His attitude towards bowhunting whitetails is utterly pragmatic and he has been known to say things like, “this ain’t rocket science, it’s really not that complicated,” when people start elaborating on the intricacies of the this or that detail of deer hunting. He also doesn’t tell much of story either, unless prodded. Initially his stories always follow the same pattern. “I was sitting in my Saddle and the buck walked close enough. So I shot it.”
He hunts primarily in central Michigan, which is a tough region to find good bucks, but he manages to get on to a mature buck every year despite having limited access to a couple small tracts of private property and spending a lot of time on public ground. He also goes on a single out of state every fall. This year he managed to kill a big Michigan buck, and a big Kansas buck. What follows are the stories I managed to get out of him:
It was the late pre-rut and Jon was hunting public ground in central Michigan when a nice buck appeared about a hundred yards away right at the break of day. Just a few minutes before a red fox passed through at about half that distance. In an attempt to get the buck to come close Jon grabbed his rattle bag and grunt call and did a short calling sequence. The buck turned and started coming in, almost like it was on a string, that is, until it crossed the scent trail left by the fox. The buck instantly became nervous, slowing considerably and becoming far more cautious. It took the buck almost another twenty minutes to cover the last fifty yards. When it did finally get to within shot distance it walked straight in to the base of his tree, where it stood for a minute sniffing his tree steps. Jon had to wait for it to take a few steps back before he could make the five yard shot. The mature six pointer dropped about fifty yards away.
Out in Kansas Jon was hunting in the morning when about an hour after daylight a nice buck ran through pushing a doe and disappeared. About a half hour later the same buck returned, presumably after discovering the doe wasn’t ready, or lost the doe somehow. The buck was moving fast, scent checking for does and walked by at twenty yards. Despite blatting to stop the buck three times, it didn’t stop and just kept moving. Jon let the buck get about a hundred yards away before picking up his rattle bag and grunt call again. Upon hearing the calling sequence the buck turned and started right back. This time the buck was cruising through fast at about twenty-five yards, but stopped after the second loud blat. Jon’s arrow was instantly on its way. The buck dropped in the prairie grass after about a hundred yard sprint. The wide and tall eight pointer is a good one by any standard.
Jon keeps his stories short, but is hunting hard and laying them down. I’m proud of my brother and the bucks he kills. Congrats Bro.
- Chris Eberhart, BowhuntingWildFood.com
If you want more great whitetail hunting information like this, check out Chris’ latest book, Bowhunting Whitetails The Eberhart Way