By Dallas Fort Worth
For me, the 2012 season is over, and it was one hell of a year. I got married, got my wife pregnant, and I’m about to have a baby girl, but most importantly… I shot my biggest buck to date only two days into my vacation! This was my first in several years where everything “kinda” went right. What I mean by that is, I scouted hard, ran my trail cameras properly, and moved in on a buck I knew was in the area. It all paid off. A completely different feeling compared to past years full of frustration and more frustration.
As hunters we have to learn to evolve. We need to learn from observing our surroundings and then put what we have learned into action. Every year I learn a little more about the properties I hunt, the deer movement, and what time is the best time for those properties. This year I put a little more of the puzzle together and made a critical move that resulted in harvesting a 5 or 6 year old mature whitetail. It’s not the biggest or highest scoring buck in the world but it means a lot to me because of all the work that went into getting him. Planning, preparation, and patience.
On this particular piece of property I had several trail camera pictures of shooters, but they were showing up after dark. So, I set up another trail camera about 500 yards further down where a corner of a bean field met up with a bend in a creek. Two days later I had daylight picture of this buck. Not the best picture, but that’s all it took. The next night I crossed the creek into a really thick bedding area that I never really noticed before. Active scrapes and rubs were all over the place. I bumped about seven deer going in, one absolute giant. My plan was to get in there knowing I wasn’t going to see much that night but plan for them to come back the next morning to bed down. The next morning came and went with no shooters. But I now had a stand in the right spot. I was in a hot bedding area, and it was only a matter of time before a mature deer came through to scent-check the area.
The next time I hunted that stand was the evening of November 3rd. Deer everywhere, and right at last light I saw the buck I was after. The next morning we got to the stand a little early so if we did make some noise there was some time for the area to quiet down. It was the perfect morning, cool with a light haze in the air. Other than a couple does and one small buck in the distance it was a slow morning.
It was about 8:45 when Ryan my cameraman noticed a good buck working his way down the opposite side of creek edge. After putting the binoculars on him I realized it was the buck from the night before. At this point he was out of range and heading away from us, so I did what I do best and threw a couple loud grunts at him. It got his attention but he didn’t seem to care, we lost sight of him.
After about 10 minutes we spotted him again a little further down the creek heading away from us. I did the only thing I could think of and made a snort wheeze call with my mouth. That got his attention. He turned around and slowly made his way towards us but still on the other side of the creek. We kept an eye on him until we lost him again in a thick patch of trees and brush. 20 minutes passed and we were still unable to find him or see him leave the area so we knew he was still around. I was stumped; I didn’t know what to do next. We either missed him leaving the area or he was within 80 yards of the stand. I snort wheezed one last time waited 5 minutes then reached for the horns. All I did was tickle the horns together for about five seconds and he immediately popped out the creek took a quick look around then headed right for us. He was broadside at about 23 yards when I drew back.
When I came to full draw, my cameraman Ryan said “No, No, No, No”… My elbow had blocked the camera, and he had to adjust the camera arm to a new position. In the three seconds it took to move the camera and arm the buck had taken a 90 degree turn and was now only 10 yards away but directly head on. I put my pin about 4 inches below the white patch. Before Ryan could even finish saying “OK” I pulled the release and the arrow had hit the target, but I wasn’t sure where. I instantly saw blood, but was disappointed that I took the shot. The deer noticed us, I took what some may think is an unethical shot but knew that if the arrow hit where I wanted it to I would have a dead deer at the end of the blood trail.
After about 15 minutes of waiting we decided to get out of the tree and have a look. There was good blood at the site of impact and really good blood leading away towards the creek. We thought about letting him sit a couple hours and were even considering backing out if the blood dried up. But that didn’t happen, I was now following one of the nastiest and easiest blood trails I have ever seen. It was like someone had a hole in a bucket. Long story short, we crossed the creek and found my buck within 60 yards from where he was shot. As I walked up on him I was confused on where I shot him, it was in the nostril through the roof of his mouth and right down his throat with one blade opening up a 6 inch strip down his neck. It was not the way I wanted to do it, and I was not happy with the shot, but at the end of the day the deer expired just as fast as a double-lung shot.
I was happy that I killed one of my target bucks, and happy that I got to share the experience with a good friend.
Some years go by fast and some go by slow, but no matter what, I will love every second of it. The deer is currently at the taxidermist getting ready for a wall in my man cave and I am excited to someday share this story with my daughter.
If you love hunting whitetails as much as I do, please visit www.whitetailsinc.com and watch the seasons of hardcore hunters like yourself.