Nov. 9, 2009
The day started like any other for a 13-year-old — I woke up, showered, brushed my teeth, ate breakfast, and went to school, but I guess God had plans for this day to be anything but normal.
Before school started, my dad called me from one of our farms by the river. He told me saw four bucks chasing a doe. They included a spike buck, a small basket rack 6-point, 1 big 8-point buck, in the 130-range, and this other buck, maybe in the 150s! My dad said the biggest buck was special: “he has something funky going on with his horns, also they’re ghost white,” he told me.
After an uneventful day at school with math and language, I found out my good friend Tyler was unexpectedly moving to Minnesota. Saddened by the news, classes seemed dull and boring the rest of the day. After I said my good-byes, my dad picked me up. The time was 3:42 p.m.
We drove to one of our river farms (it has a shed with a shower), so I quickly showered there and threw my always important practice arrow, the arrow flew true and I felt confident in my equipment. I grabbed the rest of my gear, finished getting dressed, and hustled to my stand.
It is important to be in this deer stand early because I was hunting near a bedding area, however, that was impossible with school. With the decreasing amount of daylight, I hoped I wouldn’t bump any deer on my way to my stand. I was nearly to my stand and sure enough, I saw a large whitetail bound back into the bedding area. I thought to myself, “so much for being stealthy.” I secured my safety harness, and settled in — it was 4:02 p.m.
My eyes continually scan the woods for any movement, then all of sudden I see this buck coming towards me, working the scrape line, in a slow trot! I stand up; he’s still coming. I draw back, I grunt with my call, but darn, it was too early because he stops right behind a tree and I have no clear shot!
Then all of a sudden I’m hit with an adrenaline rush like I’ve never had before. I put all of my concentration in the shot and try to contain my nerves. The longer I hold my bow back, the more my muscles burn. He needs to move two steps ahead to my shot window. But he’s got me pegged, and is only 20 yards away! I stay at full draw for nearly 30 seconds and he looks south and takes two steps. I grunt again, this time so loud I scare him. He looks and I focus my pin behind his shoulder. I release, and too late, I see a good-sized branch sticking out! It deflects the arrow, and hits him in the neck, and he instantly drops to the ground!
I quickly nock another arrow in all the excitement to close the deal of my life. After a few minutes, I call my dad and tell him about the events that have just taken place. After I hang up, I realize he didn’t even know exactly which treestand I was in. He says he will head in my direction in a little while, not knowing how nice my deer is.
The author and his fine Iowa P & Y buck.
When dad finally arrives he is amazed with my buck. He just shakes his head and with a smile on his face gives me a hug. I raise my hand to the sky thanking God for everything he has blessed me with this evening. Standing there with my dad, I feel good and bad. I felt the sweetness of success, yet the bitterness of the passing of a buck. But I was hopeful that his genetics would be roaming around these woods.
For me bowhunting is more than taking a Pope & Young whitetail. It’s hearing the honking of geese, the cackle of the rooster pheasant, the quack of the mallard drake, watching a squirrel bounce across the ground, and letting young bucks pass in hopes of them reaching maturity. That’s what bowhunting is to me and that’s what it always will be.
On this hunt, I used a Mathews Mustang bow, Easton ACC 3-49 arrows, Swarovski Optics, a Bushnell Rangefinder, and Stream Light flashlights
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