This page details the first significant buck I have killed in my entire life. I started bow hunting at age 13 and didn't kill this one until age 41. Obviously there were many years I didn't hunt, such as college, when I first got married, started a family, and moved down to Ft. Worth Texas. But upon returning to Indiana in 2000, I began the quest to kill a descent buck. Patience was something I had to learn and practice year after year for over a decade.
This page will outline all information known about this buck and detail the hunt itself. The thought process around this entire page and the other buck pages is to connect the dots towards understanding the property and how whitetails behave and utilize the 63 acres.
This was the year I first met Jim Ward. He pushed me to try extreme scent control methods and also to hold off hunting until early November. He pushed me to wait until Nov. 7th, but I began hunting on the 5th. This was the first day I would see this buck on the hoof. I knew this buck immediately as I recognized the rack from the trail camera photo shown above as the header of this page. This buck had visited the mineral station and had a unique rack, including a damaged brow tine.
I was sitting in the north stand just west of a main bedding area we had created in May. I was excited as I felt this stand had a lot of potential. I remember the morning was cool with the wind out of the southwest. I heard something and spotted this buck entering the area on the east / west trail. He was heading west and walked right in behind my stand. Even with bow in hand, I could not even think about getting a shot off due to the brush behind me. A descent shooting lane on the back side of the tree should have been cleared....lesson learned.
The buck looked up at me and seemed a little nervous, but did not act as if he smelled me at all. He slowly walked further west and disappeared. This direction of travel is important and foreshadows the next events. I hunted a couple more days and did not see this buck again. Then on Nov. 8, 2011, I was hunting in the west stand which is just about 60 yards off of the south side of the Main Plot. Again, the wind was out of the SW. As it started to get dark, I was scanning the woods and saw this buck walking on the trail just north of my stand. He was about 50 yards away and was traveling towards the Main plot, heading east. Now I was beginning to put together his travel routine. He was basically making a big counterclockwise circle with the top of the circle being the north end of the property. He would circle and end up in the Main Plot in the evenings.
Now I had a decision to make. Do I sit in the same stands and hope I get a shot, or install a new stand right on the Main Plot South Section? I consulted a friend a decided I needed to install a new stand. After the morning hunt on Nov. 9th, I quickly got my tractor, chain saw, and other equipment. I took the climbing sticks and stand to the Main Plot and picked out the tree I wanted about 15 yards off of the edge of the field. It took me a couple of hours to install the climbing sticks and cut shooting lanes using the chain saw. I left the tractor running the entire time to keep a familiar noise going for the deer and not make them feel threatened as I drive the tractor all over the property, so they are well aware of it.
I made my way back to the truck and completed a quick in the field shower to try to ensure scent control. I put on new clothes and walked right back to the stand. As the sun began to set, I had a doe come running into the field from the north. The wind was again out of the SSW, so my scent control had to be working as she never acted alarmed. She was quickly followed by the buck, who entered the field with a loud grunt and snort-wheezed. He then began to walk east away from my stand. I quickly grabbed my grunt call and gave it a shot. He didn't even react. I then sounded a snort-wheeze, which got his attention. He stopped, looked, back then proceeded to walk east. I let out a second snort-wheeze and this time he was hooked. The buck immediately turned and began walking right to my stand all bristled up and walking side-ways, basically saying "bring it on".
As he crossed into my shooting lane broadside, I let out a doe bleat. Instead of simply stopping, he turned completely facing me. I was at full draw and had to make a decision on what to do. The buck became nervous and turned to run. As he turned, I released the arrow hitting him way towards the back on his right side. Probably the worst shot in my life. I heard the arrow hit and he ran off north into the woods. I new it was a bad shot and feared it only injuring him. Upon exiting the stand, I found blood everywhere. Not just a little, but a lot. It was clear I had hit a major artery and he was going to die quickly. I began tracking the buck after a few minutes and found him within 50 yards into the woods.
Date: November 9, 2011
Score: 122" total
Age: Based on jawbone aging evaluation, believed to be 4.5 years old.
Wind: SSW - Buck was shot to the north or down wind of my position (scent control worked)
Property Location: Main Plot South in Whitetail Clover and Chickory
Location of Shot: Right side Femoral Artery
Buck Activity at Time of Shot: Chasing a Doe into the field
Sightings: One trail camera picture, which is the heading on this page. He was seen from stand three times total, all directly down wind of my location.
Calls: Grunt and Snort-Wheeze
Don't shoot at deer when they turn to run!
Don't bleat at a buck and be surprised when he turns and faces you head on.
Always ensure plenty of shooting lanes to allow shots in many directions around each stand (missed opportunity on Nov. 5th)
Be persistent with tracking as you never know how lethal the hit will be.
Extreme Scent Control tactic learned from Jim Ward works.
Be aggressive with stand locations and don't be afraid to move or put up a new stand even in the middle of the season.