My response, “Is that a trick question?!”
Following a quick negotiation with my wife (lol) and some office work the following day we agreed to meet at the farm Wed (11/3) afternoon.
By mid-afternoon we are on-stand and you can feel the cold-front arriving. Overall, deer movement was relatively slow where I was hunting (likely due to the noise I made getting into my stand - this was definitely not The Quiet Place). By late-afternoon the snow arrived and by last light I had seen approx four young deer total all afternoon. Notwithstanding the limited movement as my buddy/I drank a few beers by the fire we chatted about the upcoming morning hunt and the tremendous amount of promise. By the time we turned-in the temp was 31.
FYI, I am hunting a north-facing stand with approximately 45 yards of flat-ground in-front of me (before it drops-off a blind ridge). A wide trail, approx 10 yards wide (with a muddy area in-front of the stand) runs along the ridge top approx 12yards from the base of the tree stand. Behind the stand is a relatively steep slope that drops approx 125 yards to a walnut orchard. Limited visibility to the front, excellent visibility to the rear.
At the turn of the hour, I can now honestly state in hindsight, it touched-off a very special 70-minutes in the Nov deer woods. You guys know how we bow hunters describe the rut, dream about it, visualize it? ....well this was all that & then some!
At 8am, my buddy and I had agreed to touch base re the bitter cold, breakfast, etc. I take my phone out of my pocket and begin texting him. No gloves - freezing hands (boring you guys with this detail as it comes into play later). While I am responding to his text a doe comes barreling across the ridge in-front of me, followed extremely closely by a mature WI 10-pt (let’s call him a no doubter shooter, a 160-class whitetail). They are coming fast and furious (45 yards, 30 yards, 10 yards). By the time I comprehend what the heck is happening they are under my stand and I had only managed to put my phone down. My bow is hanging next to the tree. Awesome. Whereas I fancy myself a pretty decent hunter, only word to describe me at this point is idiot. As quick as these two deer entered my life they were long gone down the slope.
Including a 145” 9pt who comes-in on a string. I seen him chasing a doe previously and whereas I was holding out hope that the large 10pt would return, I committed to taking a shot at the 9pt should he present himself. Well, 10 minutes later there he was standing 16 yards broadside below my tree. I am experienced enough to know there are no layups in bowhunting, yet here I am thinking that exact thought.
Fully drawn, clear site picture....dead deer. Not so fast. I switched to a thumb release two years ago in an effort to improve my shooting and in advance of a goat hunt. All my practicing is done without gloves and all season, right up until I exposed my hand while texting, I had not been using gloves. Well, I made the mistake of putting them on after those deer blew through earlier.
Unfortunately for me, upon release my thumb stuck to the release and it completely torqued my bow arm. I missed that layup shot by two feet (shot in-front of him).
I turned my back to the wind and stared-off down the slope behind me. Scanning the wood line below I notice movement along the backside of this thicket. As the deer steps-out into the open I can tell immediately he is a mature buck. Not clearly knowing how large or which specific buck it was, I simply stood there watching...hoping he would turn north and make his way towards me.
What started at 110 yards....became 85 yards...75 yards.....then he started moving parallel. At 65 yards, I threw a bleet call his way, which stopped him. He looked in my general direction and after 15 seconds or so continued on his way. Being careful not to call too much, I decide another bleet and grunt may do the trick.
The moment I hit the grunt call he swung his head high and turned completely in my direction. At that moment It was apparent he had purpose and commitment. He was coming and directly at me.
45, 40, 35, 30, 25...no shot, 20 (first pin)...at 15 yards I stopped him with a mouth call while fully drawn. Whereas he was quartering towards me pretty hard, I was confident I could place the arrow well, so I let it loose.
Those of you that harvest deer know the exact feeling that was flowing through my body. Following a short track - I came upon him
For those that may have interest, taxidermist has him at 190 6/8 gross.
The Ranger pic and this truck one provide pretty good perspective on his size imo.
Huge congrats and great story!
Great story, big Congrats!
That’s a super buck and an even better story ! Congratulations on the deer of a lifetime !