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The remainder of the PA hunting season was pretty rainy. It seemed like any time I could get into the stand, it was raining. I don’t mind hunting in the rain and I did hunt as much as I could. I never did see that Big 9 point again, so I started to hunt more around my home. As October ended and November began, I wondered if I would get a shot at a mature buck.
November 5th through the 10th would be the last full week of the PA archery season. Looking at my schedule, it was clear, I was going to be very busy. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I had to coach soccer. The only bright spot was that my practice on Thursday didn’t start until 6:30 pm. With the time change, I could easily get out for at least an hour to hunt on Thursday. The only issue was where. Soccer practice was in Erie and it was going to be impossible for me to hunt the Big 9 point that evening. At least, I had a few days to think of a great place to hunt.
Through the week it rained Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but Thursday was going to be in the mid 40’s and NO RAIN! Still thinking about where I was going to hunt but had it narrowed down to the 100 acres across from my house, where I had two stands or the 10 acre piece that was a great spot. The wind was going to be marginal for hunting the two stands at the 100 acres, so I decided I would hunt the 10 acre plot.
Thursday, November 8th I kept looking out the windows and about 10:00 the rain stopped. I wrapped up my conferences and headed home to get into the woods for at least 2 hours.
I grabbed my gear and made the short drive to the property. Once dressed, I sprayed down with cover spray, hoisted my climber and headed to my lucky tree.
The ground was still wet from the morning rain and the air was cool. Twenty yards into the wood lot, I saw six tails ahead of me heading deeper into the timber. I continued my slow walk to my lucky tree and my heart dropped. The loggers had cut it down.
With time winding down, I picked another tree located close by, attached my climber, and then set up my Buck Cages with Smokey’s Doe in Heat Lure and Smokey’s Rut N Bucks. I had a pretty good feeling bucks would be cruising looking for receptive does. I returned to my climber and went up about 15 feet.
Once settled in, I said a prayer for safety and peace. For about a half hour, I sat and watched the woods quietly soaking up all the sounds. It was so peaceful to just relax and listen to everything around me. Around 4:30, I did a rattling sequence with a few grunts. I could hear deer coming my way and saw a few doe skirting the edge of the swamp behind me. I decided to enjoy a snack but never got to as I saw horns coming my way.
I stood, picked up my bow, switched on the camera and waited for the buck to present a good shot. The buck worked his way toward me, downwind and had no clue I was watching him. When he was about 15 yards away, he turned right and headed toward my Buck Cages. I followed his every move and waited patiently for him to turn broadside. When he reached the Smokey’s Doe in Heat he turned to his right and stopped. As he did, I noticed an open wound behind his front shoulder. I had ranged the yardage at 23 yards. Setting my sight I prepared for the shot.
Making sure to keep the buck in the camera, I slowly drew to anchor. My pin hovered behind the buck’s shoulder and I released. The arrow found its mark and the Grim Reaper penetrated deep. I watched the buck drop at about about 40 yards in some tall grass. I could not believe everything had happened so quickly. My phone showed 4:45.
With the buck down, I packed my gear. When my feet were back on the ground I used my cell phone and made a video of the blood trail. The Grim Reaper had done a wonderful job. The blood trail was easy to see and follow right to my buck. I couldn’t wait to put my hands on him.
The buck laid motionless as I knelt beside him and gave a prayer of thanks. Looking him over I couldn’t help but wonder what had caused the wound in his side. The closer I looked at it I came to the conclusion someone had tried to shoot him and the arrow just glanced his side. Another interesting feature to this buck was the jet black mane running down the back of his neck. This buck was ripe and smelled like he had been rutting hard. He had great mass, dark antlers, and 10 points.
Searching through my pack I found my PA license, filled it out and attached it to the deer. The sun was setting and the woods was getting dark, so I snapped a few pictures before it got too dark to help capture the moment I will never forget.
As I walked back to get my four-wheeler, I let the whole season sink in. This was the first time that the kids and I all filled our buck tags in archery season. We had been blessed to hunt together and all share success. This was going to be a season I will remember for the rest of my life.
For more from Brian please go to this Monthly Column: Grim Reaper Broadheads.