Date: November 10, 2008, Location: McDowell County, WV, Weather: Overcast, Windy Day, Time of Day: Evening Hunt.
Q: Tell our readers a little about the events leading up to the day you shot your buck?
A: I decided to do some in-season scouting because the areas I had been hunting were just not producing the results I wanted. I had my eye on a location that looked promising, but just never found the time to scout it. Eventually though, the thought of an unfilled bow tag was all the motivation I needed and I finally gave this spot a look. After spending a few hours in my new “honey hole” I felt confident that all the sign and the terrain were setting things up for the perfect hunting scenario.
That first evening I successfully rattled in an awesome looking buck, but none of my plans came to fruition. He came in just long enough for my heart rate to skyrocket and the shaky knees to begin; but then disappeared just as fast as he had appeared. At that point, I decided this was definitely the place to be. However, I knew that I would not be able to accomplish my goal hunting from the ground. (treestand placement)
With light escaping quickly, I surveyed the area trying to find the perfect tree to hang a stand. With my heart still broken from the earlier encounter, I picked out a spot that would fit the bill. The next evening, I got the chance to climb that tree for the first time. I knew the rut was on, so before climbing, I decided to doctor a couple key points around my stand with my favorite doe in estrous scent. After a very long and quiet evening, I decided that there was time for one last rattling sequence before it would be time to climb done and head home. (real-world rut tactics)
We all know that luck plays a part in hunting success. However, sometimes you have to know when to make your move and create your own luck. Bowhunter Breck Stiltner did just that and scored on this fine mountain whitetail.
As the rattle bag found its final resting place in the bottom of my pack and I gathered all of my concentration for that final grunt…..here he came! I could just see the tips of the buck’s antlers as he came around the ridge on a nearby logging road. As the buck got closer, his antlers seemed to grow with every step. I felt like my heart was going to explode; at one point I started shaking so badly, I thought I was going to fall out of my tree. (tree-stand safety)
As he approached my shooting lane, I managed to get my bow in my hand without detection. The buck continued on his path along the old logging road. As he passed behind a large oak, it gave me just the split second I needed to get my bow to full draw. Once he cleared the tree, I followed him with the glow of my pin as it floated around the perfect location. As I touched the release, the arrow jumped off of the rest and crashed through the chest of the unsuspecting buck; causing him to bolt up the mountain. As he reached the peak, I saw the giant start to sway from side to side. Given the angle, I could not see him as he crashed to the ground. After waiting several hours and putting a call into my cousins for help, we finally started to track down the buck. To my surprise, after only a hundred yards, I was able to finally put my hands on the prize of a lifetime. This was my first big buck with a bow and nothing could have made me prouder.
A good supporting cast is always a plus when you’re chasing mature bucks. They often require a lot of time, patience and understanding; not just from the hunter but those who are waiting at home.
Q: What were the major factors that helped you harvest this buck?A: Having the courage to move from a non-producing location and scout a new location all without alerting the big bucks to my presence.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to thank?A: I would like to thank my Dad, Chris Stiltner, who taught me so much about hunting and always taking time to teach me everything he knew. Also, I want to thank my mom, Ingrid Stiltner, who puts up with my yearlong obsession with deer hunting. I also would like to thank my cousins, Jimmie Houck and Chris Woods, for their assistance in tracking and retrieving my buck in the rugged mountains of Southern West Virginia. (bowhunting Mountain bucks)
Equipment UsedBow = Hoyt UltratecBroadheads = NAP Hell RaisersArrows = Gold Tip Ted Nugent signature Arrows Camouflage = Realtree APCall= Knight and Hale Easy GrunterCall= H.S. Rattle Bag