I just sat there and looked at Johnny, he said “I am sorry but that was not the deer we are after”. Now you have to understand that I love Johnny and he is again more like family than a friend but as of that minute I was not sure if I could stand to hear another “no sweetie”. This is why I like hunting by myself. I am happy with any deer that I harvest with my bow. But again you have to trust your guide even if you want to strangle him and leave him in the woods for the Booners to chew on.
About that time a huge booner bounced in front of the blind and I was more than ready to shoot at something.. I had my QAD Ultra Rest in the capture position so when the moment of truth came I would be ready. I drew the string back on my Mathews Z-7 and let the Muzzy tipped Carbon Express arrow fly. He moved slightly to my left and I just barely nicked his side, he ran off fussing and I would have swore I heard him say “No sweetie, not today” was that laughing I heard from that tree rat? Geez, is this the only words they know in Texas.
We saw plenty of bucks and does on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. We had one spike come in everyday around the same time, he had a knurled up nub on one side and about a 6” spike on the other side, and we nicknamed him Jr. He seemed to like that trail and would come and hang out for 30 or 40 minutes at a time before heading back to the woods or into the food plot.
Wednesday morning dawned early and we were all snug in our blinds as the sun slowly rose in the sky. It was going to be a warm day with the temperature in the high 60’s and I was more than ready to see what the day would offer. The morning hunt was eventful but nothing fell to my bow. After a quick lunch we were headed back for an afternoon of what would be a very eventful afternoon.
Johnny and I dropped Jim off again in the edge of the food plot; he still had does tags and was hoping to cull the heard to help the buck to doe ratio. We drove on deep into the woods parked the mule and walked the distance to the blind. We were not there long when the woods seemed to come alive. Jr. came and hung out for a long time and with him we had a family of raccoons to keep us entertained. Johnny was glassing and I was taking advantage of the photo op on the coons.
Johnny reached up and grabbed the back of my shirt and nearly pulled me off my feet, I turned to look at him and all he could do was point and whisper Big Buck! I slowly laid my camera down and picked up my bow which was nocked and ready. I looked in the direction Johnny had been glassing and about 80 yards through the woods I could see the buck. It headed up the trail to our right and finally came out on the main trail, it was a 6 point buck, he was nice but he was to young and not what we were looking for. I looked at my watch it was 3:00pm it was early and we were already seeing deer, looked like it was going to be a good afternoon.
Johnny and I were in full hunt mode glassing the food plot, I caught movement in the woods, I pointed it out to Johnny but he could not see it from where he was sitting. The closer it came I could see this was an awesome buck. It finally headed up the trail to our right and Johnny finally saw him. I looked at Big Daddy and whispered “that’s a nice buck. “I can’t see him well enough to tell, but maybe he will come out on the trail and we can get a better look”. All I knew was that he was well outside his ears and had tall tines. I was praying he was not the 11 we had seen before.
After what seemed like days he finally came to the edge of the woods and just stood there just inside the treeline 40 yards away. Where I was sitting in the blind there was no way I could shoot, so we waited. Johnny kept his Nikon bino’s glued to his eyes, at this point I could not see the buck and was not about to move to where I could see him in fear of making noise that would spook him. Johnny finally put his bino’s in his lap and just looked at me. Oh well, I knew what was coming….but I was wrong. Johnny said “If that buck comes in range and you get a shot you take it, he is one nice deer”. I looked at him and said “Really, it’s a YES sweetie buck?! He just smiled and whispered, yes, it’s a shooter. Well that was all I needed, so I said a prayer and was ready if he would come down the trail and not cross the ditch and head back to the woods.
It seemed like months as we sat there. I still could not see the buck but Johnny would give me the thumbs up to let me know he was still there. Finally Johnny pointed that the buck was headed toward the food plot and would be walking by the blind any second. Finally I could see him, he was very cautious and his ears were in over drive. He would talk a step stop and listen, what a buck, just a few more steps was all I needed to take a shot. He finally came into my shooting lane and I waited for him to turn his head toward the food plot so I could draw. He gave me the opportunity I was looking for and I drew my bow and settled my pin just behind his shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger on my Tru-Ball Copper Head release.
The shot felt good and the smack of the arrow let me know that I hit him hard but he was quartering away from me more than I though and I shot him a little far back. He ran toward the food plot around the edge of the trees. I watched and listened to hopefully hear him go down. Johnny exploded “You got him sweetie, you got him!” The hugs and high fives were flying! What a great hunt and to share it with Big Daddy made it even more special. This was an awesome buck, the largest I have ever harvest with my bow for sure.
I put my bow down and just sat there for a minute. It was 3:35, I like to wait at least 30 minutes before I get down to go trail a deer. Johnny sat there for a minute and said “What is that noise”? Well, it was my knee on the side of the blind; I was shaking so hard that my knee sounded like a low drum roll on the blind. Johnny just laughed. I always fall apart after I shoot, thank goodness I don’t do that before the shot or I would never harvest an animal.
After about 5 minutes Johnny could not stand it any longer he wanted to get down and go get the deer. I still had the shakes so Johnny said he was going to head over to the treeline and look to see if he could see where the buck fell. He slowly walked toward the edge of the food plot and I saw the buck cut across the edge of the food plot and head into the woods. Let the tracking game commence.
We gathered out equipment and headed back to get Jim and give the buck time to bed down and expire. We dropped most of our equipment off at the bunk house and headed back to the food plot and began out search where the buck hit the woodline. We found blood and began tracking the deer. Johnny called Juan and told him to bring the Blue Star Blood Trailing Agent so we didn’t have to stop at dark. Jim and I had never used this product but we saw quickly that it is something that needs to be in our backpacks.
When Juan arrived with the Blue Star Johnny ask if we had ever used it before, we told him no. We were standing at the mule; my bow with the arrow that I had shot the buck with was in my quiver. Johnny told us to turn off our flashlights and lightly sprayed the shaft of my arrow, it glowed neon blue. He then turned and sprayed it on the ground and it looked like little neon blue stars sparkling on the ground, this stuff is amazing.
The buck was on the move which let me know that I had definitely shot him too far back but the blood trail was easy to follow thanks to the Blue Star Blood Trailing Agent. The only bad thing is you can’t have your flash lights on to see the trail, so we were walking in the pitch black in extremely thick woods. We trailed as long as the agent lasted and then decided it would be best to come back on Thanksgiving morning and look with more man power. So we headed back to the bunkhouse and a long sleepless night for me.
We were up early on Thanksgiving morning and I didn’t think that the sun would ever come up to give us enough light to go look for the deer. Juan was ready to go and so was Richard, he works for Tallent Roofing and was there to help us look for the deer. The morning was cool and clear. The weather was supposed to be like the days before cool in the morning and then warming up. Jim and I dressed lightly due to the fact we knew we would be walking as did Johnny. Johnny grabbed his coat as we were walking out the door out of habit. When we got to the location where we had stopped looking the night before we all split up and began our search.
With the five of us we walked the woods off in grids. As we walked it slowly began to sprinkle the rain and a cold breeze began to blow. Johnny had slid his coat on before we started our search. As we walked I hoped the rain would not pick up and wash away the blood trail, there had been no forecast for rain at all. As we walked and searched the rain went from a sprinkle to a steady cold rain and the wind really picked up. We looked for the buck for over an hour and the weather turn so cold we could not feel our fingers any longer and it was now pouring the rain. Johnny told Jim and me to head back to the bunkhouse for our rain suits so we did. When we left the bunkhouse that morning it was 62 degrees, when we got back to change our drenched camo an hour and a half later it was 34 degrees, pouring rain and the wind was blowing about 30 miles an hours.
Jim and I quickly changed out clothes put on our rain gear and headed back to find Johnny and the others. When we found them they were all drenched and froze. We decided to give up the search and head back to get everyone dry and warm. None of us could believe the drastic change in the weather. The rest of the day the rain and wind never let up, so we made the most of our Thanksgiving Day, we cooked a great meal, watched football and enjoyed each others company. I was sick over not finding the Sweetie Buck as was everyone else.
Jim and I were heading for home at 5:00am on Friday morning, Johnny and Juan said they would go out and look for the deer until they found it. What an awesome hunt we had at the Circle T Bowhunting Ranch. We hated to leave but like all things great they have to end some time. Johnny got up and saw us off and again promised he would find the buck.
If you hunt long enough you are going to make a bad shot and you are going to lose a deer but it’s never easy when it happens but unfortunately that is part of hunting. Jim and I had a sixteen hour ride and plenty of memories of our great hunt with Johnny and Kenneth at Circle T Bowhunting Ranch. We were headed home with two awesome bucks and no one could be disappointed with that. As we drove home we saw the largest flock of snow geese I have ever saw in Arkansas, Jim pulled the truck and trailer off the road so I could get out and take pictures of them, there were thousands in the air, I was mesmerized by them. You sure can’t see that on the couch. We decided to drive straight home since we had the meat, heads and hides. They were well iced down but we don’t like to take chances. We arrived home around 9:00pm, tired, glad to be home, but I was still a little sick over the Sweetie Buck. We unloaded the truck and hauler and headed to bed.
Saturday morning we slept in till about 8:00am and were standing in the kitchen drinking coffee and telling our daughter, Bud, who was home from college, about the hunt. As Jim was telling Bud about his awesome day he was interrupted by my cell phone ringing. As I pulled it out of my pocket across the small screen it said it was Big Daddy calling. I quickly answered it; Big Daddy said “Guess what Juan found this morning?” Jim was standing there smiling and nodding his head in the affirmative. I said “Did he find the buck”? “Of course he did, I told you we would find him” I was ecstatic for sure! The Sweetie Buck would be coming home.
I can not thank Kenneth and Johnny enough for a hunt of a lifetime at Circle T Bowhunting Ranch. We have hunted whitetail in a lot of places and a lot of states but Texas is on the top of our list for great whitetail. The fact that we were able to spend time with Johnny and make some new friends with Kenneth and Shannon were just icing on the cake. We are looking forward to next November and another opportunity to hunt at Circle T.
To book your hunt contact Johnny Kennedy at Circle T Bowhunting Ranch. www.circletbowhuntingranch.com or call Johnny 972-814-4440.
Mathews Danner Boot Manzella Gloves
Real Tree Camo Nikon Sport Optics Limbsaver
Tru-Ball QAD Ultra Rest Carbon Express Arrows
Sure-Loc Muzzy Products