Today’s W2H success story comes from a good pal of mine, Bob Polanic. Bob’s a persistent hunter, who despite crazy work hours manages to keep grinding it out in the whitetail woods. For that reason, I couldn’t be more proud of Bob for pushing hard this fall, and getting the job done. Congrats Bob on a great season and a terrific buck! – MK
By Bob Polanic
As I rolled out of bed Thursday morning at 4 a.m I literally almost sent Mark (of Wired To Hunt) a text that simply said, “Anything can happen”. Why I never did, I do not know. Was it because I needed the inspiration for myself? The extra push to get out of bed as I was setting a new alarm time for 9 a.m.? Maybe, but what was really going on was the internal fight I had with myself for the next 15 minutes while I lay in bed debating if I should get out and hunt sun up to sun down or just early morning until sun down. Needless to say, in the end, I was in the stand by 5:30 a.m. and boy what a great decision that was.
Let me rewind for a second here. I had hunted the past few mornings and all I had seen was a doe the first morning. I had a nice 2.5 year old 8 point that had been cruising in front of my camera at all different times of the day, every couple days. With bow season coming to an end, I was keying in on him and figured the only way to get a chance was to be there all day. The problem with sitting all day was that I had to work all night that night. It turns out that wasn’t going to be an issue.
At about 7:30 a.m., a busted up 5 point came strolling through and it was not as easy as I thought it would be to let him walk. He was broadside at 20 yards, a chip shot if you will, but I had harvested 2 does back in Michigan so I decided the best idea was to pass on him. Without that meat in the freezer already, this could have been an entirely different story.
20 minutes or so had gone by and to my surprise a buck was cruising through a wooded corridor 150 yards away. I could see he had a nice rack from that distance, especially with the sun lighting up his horns. As I inspected his beautiful, sun glowing rack, which seemed more like a halo than anything else, I recognized this buck from a picture I got a month or so ago. He was a big 6 pointer, but in the one picture I had of him, it did not do him justice. As he strolled through the corridor, I threw out a couple grunts, nothing. I hit the doe can and he heard it but didn’t change his course. I figured he was going to walk out of my life about as quickly as he had entered.
As I sat and reflected on this cool encounter for the next 10 minutes I was a little bummed that I never turned my camera on to capture some footage. This had been my first year doing self filming and although it is very rewarding, it is another added challenge. All those feelings changed rather quickly when I noticed movement from where the buck had disappeared to. He was working back towards me, coming in straight downwind. Camera on, bow in hand, lets roll!
He entered the NE corner of my food plot, and I figured it was only a matter of time until he busted me, especially with a SW wind. He walked in and was 30 yards away, broadside. My heart was racing! I couldn’t believe what was happening. He needed to take a few more steps and he did. Then he picked up my scent. He stopped in his tracks, nose up. I knew their was only going to be a few more seconds until he was high tailing it out of there.
With the string against my cheek, knowing I was a sure shot at 30 yards, I let one fly. A little high and a little far back, but a clean pass through! After seeing him run off for over 100 yards without tripping up, I found myself questioning how well of a shot I had put on him. After tracking him for 50 yards, it was obvious both his lungs had filled with blood as he was spraying blood three to four feet up on every tree he ran by. 100 yards later, my fellow outdoorsmen and I recovered the buck! He is my biggest and oldest to date. 3.5 years old, 18 inch spread, 21 and 22 inch main beams, 5 and 6 inch brows, 5 inch G2s, and a 4.5 inch diameter at his bases.
It’s been a reoccurring theme for me over the past 3 years that opportunities do not present themselves until the last day, or hunt, of the season. Persistence is the name of the game. Finding the patience to not lose your mind while sitting day in and out is a must. It is so easy to get frustrated or jealous when you see Facebook littered with pictures of big bucks harvested.
I entered this season with one goal that can be summed up in a word. Enjoy. I wanted to focus on enjoying time in the great whitetail woods. Regardless of outcome. Sit all day and watch squirrels? Yeah that can be a bummer, but with the speed in which this world turns, I’ll take a slow day in the woods over the hustle and bustle that most of us live in. In the past, I even found myself feeling competitive about killing the best buck. But now, focusing on enjoyment left me not giving a darn what strolled by that day. I was just happy to be there. I was able to get back to the roots of why I started bow hunting in the first place, and that is because it is a hoot, a blast, the best adrenaline rush, just good clean fun! What a rewarding year it has been. I am very thankful and feel extremely blessed. Good luck the rest of this year! – Bob Polanic