Date: October 17, 2013
Time of Day: 5pm
Weather: Partly cloudy and 48 degrees
Location: Waukesha, County, WI
Q: Tell me a little about how you harvested this deer?
A: It rained most of the day before my hunt, and the morning of. A quick look at the weather said that the cold wet weather would be breaking at 2pm. I work 2nd shift so a quick call to my very understanding boss would let me be in the woods for the afternoon hunt. The first deer appeared almost on cue after only 20 minutes of being in the stand. Initially, several young does wandered through and then a bigger doe and her fawn hung around eating acorns only 20 yards from my tree stand. Their attention soon changed to a path straight away from my stand. I remained alert but thought that they were probably concerned about neighboring dogs or humans. The path was almost entirely blocked from view by two huge oak trees that the does would wander behind from time to time not having any clue of my presence.
After about 25 minutes I caught a view of a bigger deer moving toward the does. I thought that I saw a flash of antlers through the brush. The does suddenly bolted right for my tree stopping between 5 and 10 yards under me and watching the bigger deer take over their feeding area. I briefly saw the big body and antlers well beyond the ears of a buck only 25 yards away, but almost completely obscured from view by the big oak trees. It would be only a matter of time before he showed himself, but I was pinned down in my seat with the does close to my stand and on high alert. Luckily my bow was in my hands with the release attached.
When his head suddenly appeared from behind one of the giant trees all I had to do was draw back my Creed and fire….so I thought. I had been sitting for over two hours and the cool damp air had set in, this made it extremely difficult to get my bow drawn back. As I struggled the does caught my movement and immediately bolted. As the big buck watched the commotion becoming ever alert, he started walking away. Without reason he stopped and turned to give me one last look. I was at full draw just waiting for the right shot. I froze and tried to be as still as possible. It wasn’t long before my right leg started shaking. All I could do was rest the bow string on my leg for support and tried to stay calm. My left leg started to go next, and then my shooting arm. I was falling apart. Undoubtedly he saw my movement and turned again to walk away giving me a momentary quartering away shot. This is, by no means, a shot that should be taken lightly. But, I had practiced and thought about this shot during the off season. I touched the trigger and could see the laser like glow of the lighted nock as it hit and buried the arrow deep behind the rib cage angling severely forward. The giant buck turned again, jumping twice, from my right to the left. I could see the bright red LED protruding slightly behind the ribs with the shaft almost completely missing. He trotted about 50 yards and disappeared over a small rise.
Unlike other deer I have shot, a sense of calm came over me. This was a surprise, because usually this is when I fall apart and need to brace myself against the tree for support. But with this deer it was almost certain I would have a long wait before I could safely trail and hopefully put my hands on him. I reluctantly sent text messages to friends and family of the occurrence. After about 15 minutes I got down and went to the spot of impact expecting to see a nice trail of blood. Not a drop anywhere! This was going to be a long night.
The next morning I realized that because of the angle and no pass through all of the blood would be inside the deer. I went to where I last saw the buck disappear over the hill. After much searching I found one drop of blood about the size of my pinky tip. Slowly, I began tracing his path and about another 50 feet I found a substantial puddle where he bedded. A great sense of relief and optimism came over me. He was found about 100 yards after following a vivid red blood trail from that spot.
Q: Anyone you would like to thank for their help with this hunt?
A: Thankfully my good friend and land owner, Mike, was home to give me a hand. This deer was one of the heaviest we have ever shot. Neither one of us had seen this deer, nor was he on any of my trial-cams.
Bow: Mathews – Creed
Camouflage and Clothing: No particular brands, but scent free regiment used religiously and kept in Tink’s Scent free bags. Rubber farm boots are also a must for me.