Here’s a first bow kill that will make most seasoned hunters pretty darn jealous. In fact, I know plenty of hunters that will go a lifetime without ever seeing a buck like this one. So I’d say that Jack Janning is off to a pretty good start with the ole stick and string. Big congrats to Jack and thanks for sharing this great story! ” – MK

“I almost didn’t go out Sunday morning, November 6 and sit in a stand.  We hadn’t been seeing much activity yet aside from does and yearlings, but we had been spooking a lot of deer on the way to our stands.  The fire in our little shack’s woodburner had died, and my bunk was very comfortable.  I read somewhere that a lot of big deer get shot in the middle of the day, so at the time, sleeping in and hunting later seemed like a good idea.  If I stayed in bed for a while, I figured I wouldn’t spook any deer.  Luckily, I listened to my Dad, piled on six layers of clothes and snuck out to a stand he had taken a doe from the week before.  We have our own little trail cut from the field edge to this stand, and the deer had started using it, with a rub and a scrape along the path within 20 yards of the stand, almost overlooking a small little turnip and cocklebur plot we planted for the first time this year just outside a bedding area.

I got settled in with about 15 minutes to go before shooting light, polished off some pop tarts and checked the wind.  This spot usually gets busy just a bit later in the morning, because it is farther off from the crop fields, so I was not expecting much action right away.  Right about 7 I noticed movement through the brush and it did not take me long to recognize who was coming towards me across the food plot.  We had been seeing this deer off and on all summer long on our trail cams.  He even seemed to take a vacation from our place starting late September, and we didn’t find out until pulling some cards the next day that he returned in the last days of October, and only showed up in front of the camera at night.

When I first saw him he was only about 30 yards from the stand and he passed behind some thicker brush on his was to check a scrape, giving me time to grab my bow from its hanger.  He paused at the scrape just long enough for my nerves to get worked up before walking closer, behind another little clump of brush, allowing me to draw my bow with little chance of being seen. I began settling the pin on him as he walked slowly over the exact spot my Dad’s doe was last standing.  My exact memory of what happened next is a little fuzzy, but I think I remember not wanting to spook the deer by making some sort of noise to stop him because at this point he was passing through an opening about 16 yards out.  I followed him with my pin and let the arrow fly as he walked through the shooting lane.  The arrow passed through and stuck in the ground and I was able to watch the deer for about 80 yards before losing sight of him as he ran in the perfect direction, straight toward camp.

I pulled my phone out and sent out the “BBD” message to Corey Fall and a few other friends, then got Dad on the radio to let him know what happened.  We decided I should check my arrow, wander up through our CRP where we had a few traps set to try and thin out the local coyote population, then circle around to camp and stoke the fire to get some coffee brewing.  While I was standing on the porch drinking coffee I saw a big buck move through fast about a hundred yards up into the woods, followed by a less alarmed 8 pointer about a minute behind him.  Lo and behold, Dad came down the hill about ten minutes later and informed me that while he was in another field up the hill checking his traps up that way, the two bucks came towards him out of the timber.  He took a knee and drew on the larger deer, but on the ground in tall grass, deer look closer than they appear, and a 20 yard pin on a 30 yard deer sailed an arrow right under that bucks chest.

We had a cup of coffee and shed a couple layers of camo then wandered back to my stand to track my buck.  Turns out my buck piled up about 20 yards after I lost sight of him, and about 50 yards from where I shot my turkey this spring.  The blood trail was solid the whole way, thanks to a double lung hit, just a bit high and back from where a guy would really like to put an arrow.  It was a great moment to spend in the woods with my Dad, and with this deer being my first ever with a bow, definitely one I will always remember.  This guy taped out to about 158 5/8” counting the little sticker points, and after looking around, we decided one of the five shed antlers we found last year is from this deer. It is a 5 point side, same angles, same curves, just smaller, a lot smaller.  After measuring that shed, I figure that deer was about 118” last year, putting on 40” in a year!  We even have a picture of him wearing just that one shed last winter.

We had a few more encounters with big deer as we sat in a tree that evening and the following morning.  I was looking for a doe, and ended up watching a nice ten tend to a doe and fend off a 4 point under my stand for about half an hour while Dad had the misfortune of getting what he says was the biggest 8 he has ever seen in the woods to stop at 15 yards, with vitals squarely behind a tree trunk, before running off after a doe again.  The action should really be heating up by the time we get back into the woods this weekend.  I look forward to spending the time out there, and hope Dad was right when he said he’s going to shoot one that makes mine look small.” – Jack Janning