I'm sure that many of you hunters out there have heard of bucks chasing and does feverishly running away, craning there necks to see how close that buck is; all the while trying to figure out whether to zig or zag. I'm also sure that just as I have, you have all watched the outdoor shows on TV where the big bucks come running the guy hits his grunt call and down goes a big buck.
I have hunted for nearly 20 years at this point, I have harvested my fair share of slick heads, and the occasional basket six, although i try to avoid those. I have seen big bucks, but usually just out of range or no clean shot, being an ethical hunter I have passed on more bucks than i wish to discuss.
On November 19th of 2012, the woods was particularly active. I went to the stand about 45 min before sunrise, trying to stay as quite as possible. There was heavy dew on the ground and the temperature was in the mid 40's. About 10 min before sunrise I looked out over the 1 1/2 acre field that hunt, and saw a rather large deer making its way up the pipeline that runs through our property, this was about 160 yards off but looked big for that distance. That deer was about 30 yards past the distant tree line in the below picture.
A view from the stand!
In this picture you are looking out over a field planted with beans and standing corn on the low side to the right, further down in hardwoods to the right is a swamp and a creek. To the left you have standing pines mixed with small hardwoods, back and left of the stand has cedar trees and fairly open pasture. About 70 yards out in this field there is a low spot or swag that deer tend to frequent to sneak across this open area, usually headed toward food or water.
The deer that seemed big in the distance got me excited, i hadn't seen them moving that time of day this season, usually you would hear them in the dark but come daylight no trace of deer. I waited patiently for about another hour or so, then directly out in front of my stand a doe comes out of the woods. The doe didn't come out like they normally do, this time she was rushed and hurrying through the field, looking back over her shoulder the whole time, I was thinking "Man this will be it, here comes a buck!" The doe had come out on the other side of that swag and since i was hunting with a Remington 870 Supermag shotgun i knew it was out of range, even though i was shooting 3 1/2 inch 00 buck. I was hoping the doe would work her way up the standing corn closer to my stand, as I have seen plenty of deer do earlier in the season.
She went straight across making a B-Line to the swamp, then out comes the buck, he was a good size 6 point or so, it was hard to count points cause he was full speed chasing the doe in front of him. I thought to myself "At least it wasn't a huge buck that would have made me regret the shotgun decision."
About 30 min went by and I was just begining to wonder, Will these be the only deer that I see today? Just then off in the distance where the first doe had come out i heard a limb crack, that all to familiar sound that lets you know something is coming and it isn't a squirrel. Out steps another doe moving hastily in the same direction as the first, and with my luck still out of range.
I was beginning to feel as if all I would do today was watch deer run by out of range. I have another stand that is located on the far side of the field and i began to think i had made the wrong choice of where to hunt. At that exact moment I looked to my left up a road that leads away from the field and saw two does coming, i thought finally my side of the field.
Normally at this stand deer make their way through the open pasture or down the road and cross in front of my stand no more than 20-30 yards away, in my head i was thinking "come on down you're the next contestant!" But then these does did something no deer had ever done approaching my stand, they began to blow, and wheeze. I thought no way they smell me the wind isn't right for that. Just then they quit walking and started to trot looking over their shoulders as well, just like the previous doe. I was beyond excited at this point, just recalling this hunt is giving me goose bumps as i sit here writing.
The does continued closer, but instead of the path most deer make, you know toward the food they broke to their right, (behind my stand), just as i saw them break i heard the loud sound of grunting and running in my direction. I looked up the road and here came an impressive spectacle of a buck, his rack was wide and high, looked to measure around 18+ inches across and was well over his ears. This buck was running as fast as he could, time seemed to slow down, he was pushing these does like crazy. His muscles were well defined and his neck swollen. It was amazing. I felt as if i were watching one of those too familiar Hunting shows, and just as fast as it had happened the woods was quiet again. I was livid at this point, I have never seen this many bucks chasing in my life. I had read about it watched it on TV but never witnessed it first hand. I was just about to give up on the day, when i heard another limb break in the direction of the road.
I slowly turned to see a big bodied deer through the cedar trees, it was about to step out into the road, but this was alot closer this time. It seemed like an eternity waiting on this deer to show itself. The seconds seemed like minutes, but then he stepped out into the road, and had a nice size body and rack, I couldn't see him too well at this point but I could tell to things, he was big and was definitely a shooter.
I continued to look up the road, he was coming closer kind of on a diagonal approach, i picked up my gun slowly as to not bring any attention to my stand. He crossed the road and went into the pines and small hardwoods to my left, i could still see him but just barely could i make out his body. Then i noticed him turning, and for once it was toward the field not away from it. He made his way down through the pines with his head up, as if he were smelling or possibly checking a scrape that was in the woods. He came out into the field right in front of my stand, about 25-30 yards off. He approached the area that i had placed doe estrous in that morning. He proceeded to smell the scent I had placed that morning, and with his head down, i took the safety off and lined up my shot.
Just as I pulled the trigger he pulled his head up, but then fell to the ground. I had made a great shot, the buck i had been hoping to see was on the ground, I let out a "woohoo!" in my mind. I decided to sit there fro a while to calm down and give him time to die if he hadn't already. I climbed down out of my stand and approached the buck. He turned out to be a 7 pointer, but it was the largest 7 point I had ever seen.
Man was i proud of this harvest, I proceeded to do all the fun stuff that comes with hunting after a harvest, as my father always said, the fun ends when you pull the trigger.
This was without a doubt the most amazing day that i had experienced in my hunting career. I guess the moral of the story is to stay calm and keep your head about you. Make sure to stay alert and wait for the right opportunity, don't try for the bad shot, and one day you will be rewarded.
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