January 24, 2022
As we look back at the recently closed deer season of 2021-2022, we’re reminded of why we hunt. But we’re also reminded of why this magazine still exists—it’s the stories that keep this publication alive. This story is one of the most unique from this past season.
In the shadows of the Indianapolis skyline, 20-year-old Jon Geis, along with his father and brother, exclusively archery hunt for Indiana whitetails. Even during the regular firearms season, you’ll find the Geis boys carrying their stick and string to the field.
“During mid-November, my dad came upon a severely damaged vehicle on the road right where we hunt,” says Jon. “The driver said she hit a buck that was just absolutely huge. You never really know what other people think is big, but still, we were worried that the one big buck we had on trail camera might now be dead.”
The family hunts a small, 20-acre parcel just outside Indianapolis, so they were bummed to hear about the accident. Not only for the driver’s safety, but also for their hunting strategy, too.
The family continued hunting. On the morning of Nov. 12, 2021, the group did what they thought was most fair and played rock, paper, scissors to determine stand selection that day. He didn’t know it at the time, but Jon won big-time.
Jon sat all day in the stand and never saw a deer, until the last few minutes of shooting light. With less than half an hour left of legal shooting light, Jon laid eyes on a big, mature buck.
The buck was standing across a small creek and out of bow range. So, when the other deer that arrived with the buck started heading the other direction, Jon reached for his flextone grunt call. It took a few loud grunts to get the buck’s attention. The buck lost interest in the deer that he was with and started toward Jon. Jon added in one short snort-wheeze and things instantly changed!
Within minutes, the huge buck was just 27 yards away, and Jon touched one off.
The deer only ran about 30 yards before going down. But since the deer was so big, Jon quickly nocked another arrow and released a follow-up shot. Both shots were vital, but he didn’t want to take any chances at losing the trophy to a lousy blood trail and tough tracking job.
When Jon and his family members recovered the buck, they noticed that his entire hide and skin on the back half of one side was gone! The poor buck had been living with quite the open wound. A grotesque sight for the hunters, but a testimony to the whitetail’s will to survive.
This was definitely the buck the lady hit with her car. It makes you wonder if the buck would have survived much longer.
Jon Geis has shown extreme resolve for a young hunter. He has been bowhunting for roughly 10 years, and arrowed plenty of does, but has chosen to pass on several bucks as he continues to target mature deer.
This was Jon’s second buck ever, and his first one scored 168!