I had my first buck of 2009 down Sept. 21, to say I was happy was an understatement. Now I was looking forward to the rut, and my Sons and Grandson coming out later to enjoy the deer hunting with me. One would be out the week before gun season to archery hunt and the other Son and my Grandson would be out for opening day of gun season.
I had filled my landowner tag for a buck, and had a bonus tag for a doe. I also purchased a resident tag for archery, which means I could take another buck and doe.
In August I generally put up most of my tree stands, this year I had nine stands up way ahead of time. (The tenth one was put for my first buck) During October I spent many evenings observing deer movement from different stands, never using one stand twice in one week. We had a lot of south winds in October, and many times I had to talk myself into staying home, as most of my stands are set up for north or northwest winds, and I didn’t want to ruin any chances for a deer at that stand.
I must have seen fifteen to twenty different bucks during the first few weeks of Oct., and does too many to count. Only a couple of those bucks would be questionable to shoot, but as the month moved on different ones were showing up every day.
The rut was just around the corner, as the smaller bucks were already chasing any doe they came upon. Most decent bucks were content to chase, smell, then head back to the cover and wait till darkness to move. Most of the deer were bedding along my river bottom, and I would have loved to have a stand there, but getting to it would have been a nightmare. A windstorm about five years ago blew down countless cottonwood trees along the bottom, along with the willows and cedars and fallen trees, climbing over them and under them was a no, no. But it was fantastic cover and bedding area for the deer.
Fortunately for me I have a fantastic wife for an archery hunter, to a point! I’d been hunting and scouting almost every evening for a month now and was told in a nice way that we were going out for dinner the next evening Oct 30th. Now being a man of the house who loves to hunt, and the rut is just starting, I said: OK! Remember now, we’ve all been in that position, Right!
Friday is just a beautiful day, cool and a light wind is out of the NW, all day long I see deer moving along the river. Well! I could sit till dark and still be home in time to take her out to dinner and no harm done. She agreed, but with reservations.
About 3:30 pm I drove my four wheeler to the NW area of my ranch, parked it in a small ravine and walked about 200 yds. to a stand I had in a fence line in a small grove of trees. The deer like to move from the bottom along this fence line through the grove, heading up to my hay field.
It was a ladder stand that I had sat only once so far this season, and to be honest never expected a great deal from it. The stand was on the west side of a big oak tree that had three main trunks growing up, and I had placed it on the center trunk, giving me good cover to my right and left.
I hadn’t been in the stand more than fifteen minuets when I noticed a deer on the opposite side of the fence behind a tree to the northeast of me. Big doe!, I first thought, but with a turn of it’s head I could see it was a buck. It stood there for a moment, then started moving south along the fence going behind me. One look told me this was a good buck and I grabbed my bow and slowly turned to try to get into a position for a shot. I never put the stand up for a shot behind me, now I not only had to turn , but find a shooting lane through the trees along the fence line behind me. I found one, now if only he stayed his course I’d have a shot.
Crouching down as much as my hunter safety harness would let me, I drew back and when he entered the opening at about twenty yds, and gave a grunt. He stopped perfect! I set the pin on his chest behind the shoulder and released the arrow. He bolted off to the east, and I could see the arrow just hanging from his left chest area, and then fall to the ground. He ran about 150 yds and I saw him stumble, make a small circle then fall.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I kept saying to myself. I watched him for about five min. and after no movement I lowered my bow, climbed down and crossed the fence and headed towards the buck. The Spitfire had once again done it’s job, I picked up the arrow on the way to the buck, and even tho I could see the buck down in the bare pasture, if it was brush I would have had no problem with a blood trail, it was everywhere.
As I walked up to the buck I could tell he was definitely a good one. A really nice eight, long tines, with a small kicker on the brow tine on the right and a small crab claw on the right main beam. Fantastic, was all I kept saying to myself. I looked at my watch, and it was 4:30 pm. Uh, Uh! Dinner, I forgot all about that.
I put my Hunter Safety Harness on the deer, to keep any coyotes away, and walked to the four wheeler. I still had time, if I hurried. I drove back to the ranch and started the tractor with the loader, drove out and loaded the buck in the loader bucket and drove back to the house. I’ll never forget the look that I got when I asked her if she’d help me for a few min. while I dress out a buck I just got. But honestly, when she saw the buck, she was just as excited as I was. Especially for me.
The field dressing was done, the buck was washed, tagged and hanging in the garage and we were on our way to dinner at 6:30 pm that night.
The buck green scored around 138, but will have just over 7 in. of deductions, so should score around 129 to 130 P&Y. Unbelievable! I’d just taken my A second great buck of the year, and the rut was just starting. The dinner was great that night!