Today’s reader success story comes from Addison Lee and it’s a story I can definitely relate to. This season Addison experienced the lowest of lows and then the highest of highs, coming out the other side a better hunter because of it. I’m so glad to see that Addison’s hard work paid off. Please join me in congratulating Addison on this great Wisconsin buck! – MK
By Addison Lee
My 2014 Wisconsin archery whitetail deer season started off with a shot at a mature buck on opening day. Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived when I couldn’t recover the deer after three days of searching for it. When something like that happens, you experience an extreme rollercoaster ride of emotions and it really takes a toll on you mentally and physically. If this has ever happened to you before, then you know what I’m talking about.
To overcome this heartbreak, I did what every hunter does, practiced my shot and got back in a tree. A month later, I shot a doe and it boosted my confidence and I was ready to take on a buck.
Between a few friends and I, we have a special area called “The Rut Spot.” This area got its name after several years of encounters with bucks that only appear during the rut. We save this spot for the perfect wind, which isn’t often.
I planned to hunt on Monday, November 3rd, because the weather forecast predicted a perfect south wind after a cold front–- as if the stars had aligned for me. I texted my brother and friends the night before that it was going to be the day I would kill my buck and that it would happen before noon.
Before sunrise, I was in my tree ready for the rut. My spot overlooks a marsh with some trees and tall, thick grass. Right around 8:00 am, I heard something walk in front of me but couldn’t see what it was. I looked through my binoculars and saw that it was a mature doe. Bucks tend to chase does during the rut, so I immediately looked behind her. Sure enough, there was a buck behind her.
Both deer walked out of range and never gave me a shot but seeing the buck chasing confirmed that the rut was on.
Different bucks came through the same trail one after another and I counted a total of eight different bucks but they were all small.
Everything started to calm down until 9:00 am when I saw an 11-point buck come through the same trail. He soon ventured off the beaten path and walked onto another trail. The moment he stepped behind a brush pile I drew my bow back and waited for him to step into my shooting lane. He walked into the lane, I stopped him, put my 30-yard pin on the vitals and squeezed the trigger.
He jumped and started walking behind some brush and stood there swinging side to side for 20-minutes before going down. The excitement and adrenaline rushed through my body and I had to sit down to hold myself together.
After an hour, I approached where I last same him go down. I saw his body and, just when I thought it was all over, I saw that his rack was still up and he was facing away from me. Still alive! I quickly knocked another arrow and put it right into the heart. He jumped up and walked away into some brush with my second arrow inside him.
I knew for sure that my second shot was deadly so I backed off and went to sit in my stand. I replayed the shot over and over in my head, and thought to myself, “not again.” I didn’t want to repeat what happened on opening day.
I called a friend to help with the recovery but he couldn’t come until 1:00 pm, which gave me three more hours to think about what happened and why. My spot has doe and buck beds, the mainland woods transition into a marsh and there are buck signs like rubs, scrapes, tracks and droppings.
I got down to head back to the truck and found my first arrow covered in liver blood and guts. I was confident that my second shot was going to put him down. I met my friend at the truck, dropped off my stand and grabbed the drag ropes and sled.
We checked where I first shot the buck and there wasn’t any blood. We walked over to where he fell over and finally found blood. I followed the blood trail through some thick brush and there he was 70-yards from where I had shot. We celebrated with fist pumps and high fives and I was happy that my hard work finally paid off.
– Addison Lee