November 14, 2023
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I had dreamt of this moment, since I was 12 years old. Every long walk I’d ever taken into a stand, stepping in the rays of my headlamp. The hundreds of evenings spent practicing from the tailgate of a truck. And the millions of hours glassing, scouting and hanging Stealth Cams throughout my life, led me to this moment in time.
There in front of me, a world class whitetail stood proud, on the other side of a barbed wire fence, only forty yards away. As he admired the countryside, deciding it was safe, he jumped the fence. Now he was on my side, walking straight towards me.
I called him “Lumpy.” A seven-year-old whitetail that I had spent 5 hunting seasons admiring, from the shadows. Each summer I’d watch his velvet antlers grow, a little bit bigger than the last. The fall, I’d pray he’d survive all the other hunters. Through the Canadian winters, I’d feed him, and hunt my ass off to kill every coyote I could, that may harm him in the treacherous months. And each spring, I’d hike the hills looking to add to the amazing collection of antlers, I had found, of his.
Every single ounce of that effort, led to this moment. I was living it. He was walking straight for me. I stared down at my Rage on the end of my arrow, in attempt to mentally block the fact that a 200-inch whitetail was now within range. My bow hand was trembling so badly, that the Rage, was a gyrating blur in the low light.
I glanced back up at the buck… He was now broadside at 21 yards. I drew my bow, knowing how important it was to make a perfect shot, while every ounce of my soul was shaking. I dug as deep as I possibly could, and slowly willed my pin to the right spot… and let it fly!
Every ounce of passion, I’ve ever lived for whitetail deer, was thrown into this second. Lumpy jumped and kicked in the air… I’D HEART SHOT HIM!
My entire whitetail career has led me to this experience, with this absolutely stunning animal. The journey has been video documented to create a film called “The Rafter 7.” It will be released on Outdoor Channel in 2024, as well as our YouTube channel called “Live2Hunt with Cody & Kelsy.”