December 08, 2015
I was starting to get excited about this season's rut. It was supposed to be intense, and somewhat early.
None of the areas I hunt are used for bedding by mature bucks. Only come mid October, when I open up a few mock scrapes, do the big guys start showing up. So by the weekend of October the 24th, I was expecting to start catching some activity.
I remember walking to my tree in the dark and wondering if I'd made the correct call by hunting this historically good stand. Was I hunting this area too early?
Once there, I laced the area with Ambush from Buck Bomb: a scent that I've had good luck with it in the past. I skirted up the tree and finished off my routine by spraying down and putting on a couple more layers of Scent-Lok.
My properties are small and I can't always afford to wait for good winds, so years ago I adopted a very strict scent control system. It's changed my hunts and hasn't gotten me busted since.
I had just finished getting set up when I heard deer approaching. Usually I need visual confirmation to get excited, but since it was early and I hadn't sat down, I picked up my bow and waited. It was three does: a mother and two yearlings.
They came out right under my tree, smelling where I had walked and put out the scent. They were milling around for about 5 minutes when I heard a buck grunting in the distance. It was barely into legal shooting light, so I had a hard time making out any details.
I caught a glimpse of the buck at about 100 yards. He was moving through the brush, grunting as he trotted towards the doe. When he emerged from the timber at 40 yards, all I could tell was that his left side G-2 and G-3 were massive, and that he was a shooter.
It happened so fast, which was a good thing that I didn't have time to evaluate exactly how big he was. I only had a short moment to draw my bow and bleat him to a stop in my shooting lane.
He cooperated perfectly!
The impact of my arrow looked a little low, but still a great shot. I watched him run about 50 yards and stop. I waited for him to drop, but he didn't. Instead, he kept going.
I told myself I was going to give him an hour before getting down. Only 30 minutes passed when I heard a ruckus in front of me. I pulled up my binoculars and could see him lying in some brush with his antlers caught.
At that point, I knew he was mine. I started the celebration by texting family and friends that I'd just killed a "nice" buck. I still had no idea exactly how big he was.
When I walked up to him, I couldn't believe my eyes! I was staring at a massively thick buck with a huge droptine. I just sat down and admired him for a while, not really comprehending what just happened.
Then I just started snapping pictures and sending them out. The response I got back was as overwhelming as the buck itself.
As I sat there, I wondered where this giant wandered in from. Deer like this just don't go unnoticed. It didn't take long to confirm those beliefs as a buddy texted back with pictures from another hunter who had been following this deer.
It turned out this buck was living only about a mile away. The guy was very gracious and sent me a bunch of trail cam photos. He took the news of the buck being killed much better than I would've, and I'm very thankful for that.
With a small inside spread and short main beams, he still totaled 150-inches. Much of the credit goes to Dr. Gary Alt, who helped turn Pennsylvania into a trophy state since implementing point restrictions about 15 years ago.