56 Day Waiting Period
It had been fifty-six days since the first day of deer season in Oklahoma. The magic of peak rut had passed. The woods had been full of eager rifle hunters for the past 3 days. Mature bucks were on high alert and I still had my buck tag in my pocket. For the most part all I had seen to this point was smaller buck. I held out hope even though I failed to connect with a nice buck the year before. This year had to be different.
I decided to take off work on the coldest day of the week and try to hunt all day in a spot where i had been seeing a lot of doe action. While walking to my stand on this pleasantly cool morning I noticed a thin layer of ice below my feet. Maybe the cool weather was what I needed to put the odds in my favor.
I made my way to my perch and got settled in. Just thirty minutes after sitting down I noticed movement 400 yards to my right. I grabbed my Nikons but before I could get them up the ghost had vanished. I knew I had seen a deer. I thought it was big but my heart always skips a beat when I see a deer in the distance. So after glassing that area for 15 minutes I went back to my normal routine and tried to tell myself that I'd see more deer if I stayed alert. If I stay alert !
The next glance to my right would cause my heart to nearly explode. There it was the mature buck I'd been looking for, hot on the trail of a doe. His head down, in a steady run directly to my stand. 300 yards and closing. I got my gun ready and planned to wait until he was 50 yards to take the shot. Once I knew he was a shooter I tried to take a deep breath and slow my heart, which was in overdrive. All my controlled breathing accomplished was to fog up my scope. Now my heart is beating faster. Lucky for me the doe stopped to check out her surrounding and that gave me time to gather my nerves and clear my scope.
The next few minutes happened in a blur. After a brief pause the doe picked up the pace, leading the buck to a clump of trees 200 yards away that would ruin my chances to take him. Once I realized this and moved my gun, the buck was behind the brush. I scanned ahead for a clearing to shoot through. There was only one and it was small, maybe 12 yards wide. I put my crosshairs on the right side and waited for the buck to move thought. I expected to see the doe walk out into the clearing with the buck right behind. Suddenly the buck popped into the clearing in a trot with his nose to the ground. With no time to spare I put the crosshairs right in front of his shoulder and released what I knew would be the only shot I had at this buck. The recoil surprised me and so did the results. With one quick well placed (lucky maybe ?) shot the buck was down.
I set a land speed record after the shot. I was down 15 step and covered 200 yards in approximatly 1.4 seconds. I've taken many deer , countless hogs, and flocks of turkeys but this hunt was one of the most memorable ones I've been on and I'm glad to pass it on. So after my 56 day waiting period my tag was filled and my season was a success in my books.