If you enjoyed Episodes #62 and #159 of the Wired To Hunt Podcast with John Eberhart, you’re in for a treat. Over the coming weeks, John has offered to share a number of his successful kill stories here on Wired To Hunt. Today John shares the story of his one and only Missouri buck kill, a story of serious perseverance in the face of adversity and tough conditions. – MK
By John Eberhart
In November 2004 I went on my one and only hunt to Missouri. I had called a landowner listed in a county plat book and received permission to hunt a 40 acre parcel. On the first day while scouting and setting up the property, I spooked a wide antlered buck that had been bedded with a doe from a small bedding area.
The weather forecast predicted rain for the next several days and when I woke up the next morning the forecast was spot on, as there was a light steady rain. I settled into my saddle twenty eight feet off the ground an hour before daylight and hunkered down for the beginning of what would turn into three days of gut wrenching, all day hunting in the rain.
The first morning I saw a doe and two fawns, it was time to move on. By 1:00 pm I was settled into location #2 of the three trees I had prepared. That afternoon I saw three small bucks.
The weather the second hunting day was a carbon copy of the first as it rained on and off all day. Sitting in my #3 tree which was further away from the core bedding area, dramatically changed what I saw. A big half rack passed at first light, and at 9:00 am I saw what I thought was the wide racked buck at about 120 yards distance.
He was obviously not coming closer on his own, so I tried to rattle him in. He immediately laid his ears back and trotted to within 25 yards, offering a perfect shot opportunity. As he stood there it was clear that it wasn’t the buck I had seen while scouting, but rather a beautiful 9 point which I reluctantly passed on.
The third hunting morning I returned to the same tree I had been in on the first evening. It was still raining and the temperature was in the mid 30’s. Later that morning I watched as the wide antlered buck chased a doe past the tree I was in the previous day. The rest of the day was rather uneventful.
Looking out the window of my $29.00 a night motel at 4:00 am on hunt day #4 I noticed it was still raining.
To say my stamina was waning would be a gross understatement. I had woke up every morning at 4:00 am, hunted all day for three days straight in the cold rain, came back to the motel and washed and dried my clothing each night, didn’t get to bed until at least 11:00 pm each night and I was flat worn out. I so wanted to just shut off the alarm button and go back to sleep. But that’s hunting and I didn’t go to Missouri for rest and relaxation, I went to hopefully take a trophy buck, so I sucked it up and got out of bed.
I was back in the tree the big buck chased the doe by and although it was well before first light, I could hear a buck chasing a doe in the nearby standing corn. He would chase the doe for thirty seconds or so, stop for five to ten minutes, and then chase again. She was definitely in estrus and there was an excellent chance of the buck being the big guy, as he had to be the dominant buck in the area.
The chasing and stopping kept going on and the noise kept getting closer. By shooting light they were within 80 yards because I could see the tops of the stalks move when the chase phase ensued, but the corn was too tall to see them.
At 7:30 the doe busted out of the corn and stopped about 40 yards away to my right. The monster buck however busted out of the corn right in front of me and turned and attempted to circle around the doe to push her back into the standing corn where he felt comfortable due to its security cover. At 25 yards and broadside, I blatted to stop him, which he did, and took the shot. It was a perfect double lung shot and the buck only ran about 80 yards before expiring within sight along the edge of the corn field.
I was geeked to say the least and when I got down and went to him, I was even more geeked. He was a 24 inch inside spread perfect 10 point. Remember me saying how tired and wore out I was? Well all of a sudden it was like I just had a sugar fix and was on top of the world.
Getting him out by myself was a chore, but you always get them out, no matter how difficult. What a rewarding trip out of state. Unfortunately, the owner sold that 40 acres the next spring and I’ve never been back to Missouri since. But I still go someplace out of state each year.
– John Eberhart
For more from John, including information on his “Whitetail Workshops,” visit EberhartsWhitetailWorkshop.com