50th Birthday Buck
It’s Nov.10, still dark and about 30 degrees. This was only the third morning that I have been in the tree stand this year and bow season has been in for five weeks. I’m thinking how fast time gets away from us these days. I turned 50 last week which is only by God’s grace and mercy. I and most folks that are close to our family once thought me reaching 45 would be a long shot due to an extended illness.
My safety strap is secure and I’m settled in for a great morning in the southern Ohio woods. Things were quiet for the first hour until I hear a deer walking slowly on the nearby trail. It was a small 6pt, I had stood in anticipation hoping for a larger one to follow but he was a loner looking for a trace of a doe.
Fifteen minutes later I hear some brush crashing to my far right, the leaves are very dry, deer are running up over the opposite hill and down on my side. Two or three; I can’t tell it’s too thick. I love hunting during the rut and how things can change in a moment. I’m looking and finally spot a doe slowly walking away from me about 150 yards away. I also maybe hear a faint grunt or two. I grab my grunt call and blow it a few times but she continues on by herself. I turn and sit back down a minute then hear movement again. This time I catch a glimpse of antlers and so I grunt call some more… Nothing. We all know the story; buck following a doe 150 yards, off going the other way. I sat there thinking there is nothing to lose & they will be gone in a few minutes, I pulled out my Primos “CAN” and flip that thing over about 10 times, wait a minute then flip it over 10 more times. Sure enough that buck turns around comes down the opposite hill and stops at the deep ravine. I flip it over some more and he crosses over to my hill now and starts to climb.
He is still 100 yards away but he is on my side of the hill now and is definitely interested. My stand is near the ridge line and the buck climbs up to about the same elevation but straight behind me and still a long way back. It’s very thick and I can’t see but maybe 30 yards. He stops often for a long time and I flip that “CAN” at least 75 more times over the next 30 minutes.
Finally I barely see him straight behind me, but can not tell which side of my tree he is going to approach. My tree is 18” in dia. which hides me quite well, but I have to decide here pretty quickly. He turns downhill so I turn around and peek around to see him now moving uphill. I turn back around to that side and sure enough that doesn’t look right either, foot steps are louder now and I turn back to the down hill side and can't even see him, I know now is the time so I turn around again and there he is on the uphill side. I pull to full draw, find the shoulder and let the arrow fly at four yards! It was practically shooting straight down with a good hit but not a pass thru. I see some of the arrow sticking out as he wheels off down the hill. I knew this was a good buck, but had not even got a real good look at him at this point.
I sat back down and called my son Brian at college; he had hunted this stand 3 days earlier and saw a nice one. He did not have class till late afternoon so he came home quickly to lend a hand. I did not hear a crash so I went straight home, changed clothes, put on some bacon /eggs waited an hour for Brian to show up. We ate a hearty breakfast and headed back to the woods in great anticipation.
The trail was easy to follow with all the leaves kicked up at every jump, some blood along the way but not a lot. We slowly walked basically right to him, the last jump being like a slide landing. We were thrilled to say the least. I’ve hunted 35 yrs and never killed a buck like this and have only seen a handful of this caliber.
I’ll just add that prior to this hunt I had very little faith in that Primos “CAN” deal. I had called in two little yearlings with it a few years ago and that is all. But now, I think it will be a regular item in my pocket when in the deer woods.
I thank and praise the Lord for my special 50th birthday buck.
12 point 175 gross score.