Thank You Northwest Wind
The morning of Wednesday, 10/17/01 dawned cool and crisp. I checked the weather channel to determine my hunting strategy. The wind was blowing from the northwest at last! This was the opportunity I had been waiting for.
Several months prior to this morning I had seen an outstanding whitetail that I was determined to match wits with. This particular non-typical buck had outstanding mass, and the longest brow tines I had ever seen. This was actually "THE" largest buck I had ever seen.
I had scouted vigorously, but low profile (as I prefer to call it) to find the perfect ambush location. The buck had a travel pattern slightly different than other bucks taken in the past. He lived primarily on a small tract of CRP bordered by crops and thick, wide fencerows. There were only small trees in his thick bedding area, barely large enough for a tree stand. To complicate matters, he was almost totally nocturnal. I had only seen this deer three times, and knew he would only give me one opportunity to take him.
To make matters worse, the only set up I could find was right in his bedding area. This was the only way to take this buck based on his almost nocturnal behavior. However, the only way I could hunt this location was with a Northwest wind. This is why I was so happy on the morning of 10/17/01. It was the first time all season the wind direction cooperated on a morning that I could hunt. Furthermore, the only tree available to place a tree stand was small at best. I typically like my tree stands approximately twenty feet off the ground or better. The tree only allowed me to place my Amacker hang on tree stand 12 feet high.
I was in my stand well before daylight, which was the first time I sat in this particular location. Shortly before daylight I could see a tree moving back and forth on the skyline, and the sounds of a buck rub being made. As it began to become daylight I could finally see glimpses of the buck. I watched him for a considerable time before I got to get a good look at him. He was the one! Eventually, he started coming my way from the funnel area. Then he stopped to make another buck rub. After making a buck rub he once again walked toward my shooting lane. At this point, all the hours of shooting practice over the last several months was about to come to fruition. When he walked behind some thicker brush, I drew my Mathews Q1 to full draw. My heart sank as he quickly walked completely though my shooting lane. I thought I had just messed up my opportunity of a lifetime. I then let off on my bow.
The buck milled around for a short time and started once again walking toward my shooting lane. I drew once again at the correct time. However, when he entered the shooting lane (broad side) I released my A/C/C arrow, tipped with a 100-grain vortex broad head for the 17-yard shot. The arrow hit him directly behind his right shoulder and exited the opposite side (a nice pass through.)
After waiting approximately 30 minutes, I started tracking this deer. This buck traveled quite a distance before expiring. Although, the deer left a good blood trail, and the tracking was fairly easy. Upon walking up on this magnificent animal, I could hardly believe my eyes. I then started shaking so bad my legs went "rubbery" and I had to sit down.
This was the largest whitetail I've ever harvested. The 6 1/2 year old buck had brow tines close to 12 inches long, 14 points and a dressed weight of 232 pounds. After the necessary drying period my buck was scored by CBM (Commemorative Bucks of Michigan.) This buck was the largest non-typical taken in the state of Michigan with archery tackle in 2001. The gross score was 179 4/8 with a net score of 174 7/8. Year round scouting and attention to wind direction resulted in the harvesting of my buck of a lifetime.