December 11, 2022
By Andrea Rothove
Early bow season in Missouri, which opens mid-September, is usually warm and the woods are full of ticks, mosquitos, and other annoying insects. Unless I have a target buck patterned, I tend to stay out of the woods until around October, when it finally starts to cool off.
This year was no exception, however the heat continued through October. Despite the warm temperatures, I was starting to see a mature buck frequenting my favorite tree stand during daytime hours on my Browning Trail Cameras. I knew it was time to get out there!
I hunted hard throughout the month of October, both mornings and evenings. With my bow in hand, I was hoping to get a shot at the beautiful mature 9-point buck that I had been getting regular images and videos of. The trail cameras revealed a pattern, but regardless I never did see him. A handful of nice, younger bucks presented me with some shot opportunities, but I was holding out in hopes that my target buck would soon make an appearance.
Last year was the first time I saw this buck, as we had just moved and purchased a home and different property. Coming from 500 acres to the 40 acres that we now have, it has been quite an adjustment. We don’t have as many deer at our new property and can’t hold deer on that amount of land either. For the most part we see the same group of about 5 does regularly, with the occasional stray buck that cruises through during the rut. But this buck stayed.
Opening day of rifle season was November 12th. A cold front had moved through the night before and we woke up to a fresh coat of snow on the ground. That was a first for me since I began hunting around 15 years ago. According to my Browning Trail Cameras, this buck was still coming out in the daylight hours pretty regularly. I had a great feeling about this hunt and was excited to get in the stand.
Once in the stand, I realized that I should have taken the time to trim some limbs prior to hunting this spot, as I only had a small opening to my right to shoot through if he came on that side. At about 6:45 am, I saw my buck step out of the woods on the opposite side of the field. Wouldn't you know it, he shows up to my right. As he made his way through the field, he started to pick up speed. I knew I had to stop him now or he would be out of the opening and I wouldn’t have a shot at him. “Meh”, I yelled.
He stopped right in the opening and I took my shot with my Browning X-bolt .270. I got him, and I hear my husband yell “Wooh!” out the window of our home, as he had been watching the whole thing!
He is one of the most beautiful bucks I’ve shot to date, having super dark chocolate antlers, great mass, and a unique G3 on his left side that curls, similar to a flame. But what stood out the most to me was he still had some velvet on his other G3!
Every deer that I’ve shot has its own unique story to come along with it, and this one was no different. However, this buck was a little more special to me…He was my first buck to harvest on our new property - actually THE first buck harvested from our new property - and I couldn’t be more proud of him!