Today’s W2H success story comes from our very own contributor and the “Big Buck Serial Killer” himself, Dan Infalt. Dan has become one of the most respected public land and high pressure whitetail hunters in the Midwest, and for good reason. The guy just puts big deer on the ground, year after year. 2013 has been no exception! Congrats Dan! – MK
By Dan Infalt
November 6th was the day I predicted for the best rut day of the year for S.E. I was just back from a hunting trip and was not planning on hunting till my friend Dave called to tell me he observed a buck passing thru the small farm he owns and we share hunting on. The farm is only 60 acres and receives a lot of pressure on the borders. There is more pressure on this area than most of the public land I hunt.
Anywho, I chose a staging area with a Slayerseed clover mix plot, an apple tree, and adjacent buck and doe bedding. I felt any buck worth shooting should cruise thru this area to check on the local girls.
About an hour before dark I looked up and saw a buck standing on the CRP hill scanning the area. I felt naked in the bean pole tree I was in without any leaves anymore. But I managed to get the camera rolling as the buck approached the food plot. He came in on a cross wind heading for the center of the plot and he could do one of three things. He could walk straight in, he could circle down wind, or he could circle up wind. The buck looked cautious and I was betting myself he would do what most bucks I observe in this situation do. He went to the up wind side and circled into the plot with the wind to his back. He was smelling behind him while he watched in front of him while eating.
I had also noticed that one area of the plot on the far side looked a lot heavier browsed, he went to that spot right away. I have seen this before too, whether its a certain oak, a certain spot in a field, or one of dozens of the same plant, they will prefer one. I think it has to do with the best soil / nutrients, but I am not sure.
I waited for the buck to feed into the screen of the camera and I took my shot. My shot looked low, it hit the buck below the vitals thru the bottom of the chest, at first I thought I may have clipped the heart, but the buck stopped running about 50 yards out and calmly looked back. I knew right there that I did not hit the heart. Then, to my total amazement, the buck I had just shot turned around and walked right back into the food plot. Thats where the next lesson comes in. I hung my quiver on a branch, the trouble was the only suitable branch was below the stand. “I didn’t think” a buck would likely give me a second chance and now the buck is even more spooky and I have to bend over skylighted in a bean pole no cover tree and get another arrow.
I moved when ever I could while the “wounded” buck fed. I very slowly sat down then crouched till I got my hand on an arrow. It was in that quiver really good and took some force to pop it free which made a ( you guessed it ) popping noise that the buck heard and immediately locked eyes on the blob hanging from a treestand with an arrow in his hand. There was a stare down for a few long seconds and then he went back to feeding.
There was a gust of wind and he looked over his shoulder into the wind and I used that moment to right myself and nock the arrow. He turned to see the blob had moved and stared a little more, then started walking past at 10 yards.
There is a phrase I use a lot to refer to why pressured bucks seem smarter. It’s called “stupid dies” and this buck had all the signs of “stupid”.
When he passed by I drew the bow and since he had been eye balling me since the first time I shot him he stopped to watch me draw. The arrow disappeared right in the crease. The shot looked perfect. In one bound the buck was gone behind heavy brush.
I got down out of the magic bean stalk and went over to look at the arrow. The arrow was stuck into the mud and was coated with blood. The exit sprayed blood around the arrow and I thought, “easy track job”, but that was far from the case. After 4 hours of searching on our hands and knees Dave and I had uncovered a whopping 3 drops of blood all within 20 yards of the hit. With two arrow holes you would think the blood would be pouring out… Wouldn’t you?
Late that night after calling it for the evening I went to work to take care of some things I was needed to do. I left work at dawn the next day with no sleep and two Monster caffeine drinks eating a hole in my stomach and met Dave at the farm. I have to say, that Dave is as loyal a friend as you can find, never preaches about bad hits, and is there for you no matter what.
We searched all morning and it was not looking good. I was going up and down trails in a dense swamp looking for blood when I noticed a running track and then a patch of deer hair… Looking at the hairs they looked cut with a razor so I got down on my knees and was able to find a speck of blood. I called Dave and he came over and we finally got on a blood trail. When we lost it again we split up again.
Dave yelled out, “I got blood over here” so I went over there and he was down on one knee pointing at another tiny speck. He looked me straight in the eyes and said ” I figure he went straight down this trail here and he is probably laying somewhere over there where those deer legs are sticking out of the grass.”
I looked up and sure enough, there was deer legs sticking out of the grass and we both busted into laughter!
The shot was right where I said, right in the crease… How that buck got over 200 yards I will never know.
The big buck serial killer