Living in a grungy college dorm, sharing one bathroom with forty kids isn’t my interpretation of a glamorous lifestyle, but it’s something I’ve come to deal with.
The overbearing odor of stench and filth of living with a bunch of beer crazy animals doesn’t even faze me anymore. My time is spent with my face hidden behind textbooks and research papers.
There are days when I wakeup with extreme bed-head after pulling an all-nighter studying for exams, which includes a mind-numbing political science class. Many times I find myself sleeping in my clothes and then wearing them the next day, maybe it’s because I don’t really care or I’m just too busy. Welcome to college life and my world.
Nothing beats sitting in a lecture class rotting for three hours and feeling so out of it that you seem to forget where you are. Most of the time I find myself sitting in a tree-stand overlooking a plush green food plot or rattling in a brute on an overcast November day. College isn’t easy, especially when all of your hunting time has shutdown like a sixty-degree rut hunt. The only thing that has kept me sane is the assortment of trail camera images from my game cameras and weekends spent in Buffalo County, Wisconsin with Bluff Bucks Outfitters (www.bluffbucks.net).
I soon realized how much hunting meant to me when I could count the days I went archery hunting alone on one hand. The feeling of deprivation has swept through my body so many times this year; I felt like I’ve forgotten how to hunt. Between the college cafeteria food and my hunting itch, I don’t know how I got this far, but maybe it’s from slaying two giant bluff bucks.
As I stood amongst the old glacier rubble of western Wisconsin, all worries and pests fled my mind. It was the first morning of my three-day archery hunt. My cameraman and I walked to our morning perch, which overlooked an Evolved Harvest chicory plot on one side and river on the other. We sat in a pinch-point, where the woods narrowed from the edge of the plot and bend of the river. It was a virtual funnel that would hopefully channel bucks through all day searching for doe.
I was so blissful to be in the woods that I didn’t care whether I shot anything or not, a feeling that I’ve never felt or experienced ever before. It wasn’t long before I felt my first sign of chills. Sitting motionless on a steel platform in 16-degree weather would probably do it. Knowing that my bodies defense mechanism against cold weather is as worthless as praying for my 1991 Isuzu Trooper to start on a day under thirty-degrees,
I stuffed each of my pockets with hand warmers. Trust me, it doesn’t work as well as it sounds.
As the sun grazed the top of the nipped chicory plants an undeniable sound of footsteps crept from behind. My heart began jittering like an old lady managing to stand straight. I stood up slow and played hide-and-seek with the deer that thought it would slip-in from behind us. After spotting him no more than thirty yards away, he was a definite choice for a taste of carbon shaft. He stood postured with love crazed eyes and a nose that led his temptations into my scent-wick. The god-awful, raunchy smell of doe estrous must’ve drug the old brute out of bed. The highly potent smell of estrous would probably get me out of my bed too!
My eyes focused on his, I managed to reach for my doe bleat. With a gentle, but encouraging plea of hope, I convinced him to walk a little closer. Suspended high above the forest floor with two tree-stands clung to an oak tree accompanied by two guys, one with a bow and one with a bulky camera, I just hoped he didn’t look up! The camera began documenting each step of the buck. As each second passed, history was being made. My only job was to put an arrow through the beast; the other gentleman hung next to me had the job of making that buck a movie star.
My brain felt as if it were being boiled and if I didn’t do something quick, it would soon spill. I drew my bow back, while taming the screams of my conscious asking me if I had the correct distance ranged, shot angle, bow grip, anchor point and spot picked out to shoot. It was at that moment when my 100-grain Ramcat arrowhead pierced through the flesh and into the vitals of a true Buffalo County buck.
I had to question myself; did I just harvest a buck the first morning of my hunt? A remarkable feeling was passed between the cameraman and I; it almost felt better than escaping the confinement of my dorm room-dungeon. We soon recovered our harvest before I could even get cold from the frigid temperatures.
The hunt quickly came to an end and it was back to school for me. See this hunt on video in the Video section on Bowhunting.net. GO TO BRANDON’S HUNT VIDEO…
I arrived in Eau Claire and prepared for a full weeks worth of homework. It is hard to describe the feeling of elation and enlightenment spiral down so quickly as I settled back into the reality of everyday life.
I’ve learned so much about hunting from working with Mr. Fox. Its one thing to slam a big buck, but it’s another thing to consistently put clients on giant whitetail time and time again. Many people don’t realize the talent and experience outfitters have when it comes to making the outdoors their life. It truly isn’t a passion, for Butch Fox, it’s a life.
As we all are aware – between jobs, family, school, friendships, finances, other commitments and anything else in-between, we all realize the effort it takes to find time to hunt. Sometimes it isn’t how long you sit in your tree stand, but where the stand is strapped. No matter where I hunt, whether it’s my backyard or an Illinois creek bottom, my heart will always be in Buffalo County, Wisconsin.
Follow Brandon Wikman on Bowhunting.net on his web TV show Fresh Blood Web TV.
Please be sure to take a look at the Whitetail Adrenaline website at (http://www.whitetailadrenaline.com/) for some of the most radical whitetail hunting ever caught on camera.
Former Next Generation Co-Host