A Whitetail Season to Remember

The 2010 bow season was fast approaching and I was ready for the season to get underway. I spent many hours shooting my bow and reading about all the latest hunting tips and techniques. All my gear was packed and I was ready to head out to the deer lease as soon as I got home from work that Friday afternoon. We made the five hour drive to our lease and arrived in Llano Texas about ten oclock pm.

Once I got the truck unpacked, it was off to bed to try and get some sleep. After a good night sleep of dreaming about the big bucks I was going to see, the alarm clock brought me back to reality. I woke up and dressed quickly. There is a special excitement in the air on opening morning that is different from all other mornings. I made a good check on all my equipment to ensure it was all in good working order. I grabbed a breakfast kolache and headed out the cabin door.

As I stood on the porch I began to ponder on what stand I should hunt. I decided to hunt the stand we call Boogers Grave because it is only a short walk from the cabin. Ole Booger was a mule that died a couple years ago and was laid to rest in vicinity of the stand. As I headed up the hill my mind was racing with excitement on what I was going to see this beautiful cool October morning. As I came up to the stand I noticed that there looked to be a lot of activity. I checked the game camera and it showed almost 400 pictures. I could not believe it. We had just set them out two weeks earlier. I was really getting pumped up now. I climbed up the tripod and settled in.

It seemed like forever before the darkness began to give way to the sunlight. Suddenly, I caught movement from the corner of my eye. It was a nice young eight point. I watched him for awhile before he moseyed on down the trail. That was all I saw that morning.

I was a little disappointed but when I saw what was on the game cameras all that disappointment faded away. There were several big bucks visiting two different stands. I decided to hunt these two stands in hopes of seeing one of them. That afternoon I pulled out my bow and decided to take a few practice shots before I went out for the evening hunt. I wanted to make sure I was going to be ready if the opportunity presented itself. As I was about to head out I noticed the accumulating clouds overhead. It was definitely raining to the north of us. I did not care I was going hunting. Besides it looked like would be just a passing shower. As I arrived at my stand, the storm to the north began surrounding me, and it was going to be more than a passing shower. As long as there was no lightning I would be fine. I climbed up the tripods ladder and got ready. After about fifteen minutes the gates of heaven opened up. The rain was coming down like I had never seen before. I scrambled to get my emergency rain suit on and to protect some of my gear from the torrential down pour. After an hour, I had just about had enough. The wind was blowing like crazy, the rain was still coming down, and the temperature was dropping. I decided to call it quits.

I was packing up my gear when something caught my eye. About 75 yards from the stand a young buck and doe were walking toward the stand. I hurriedly tried to take off my rain jacket before they came too close. I knew if I did not get it off quickly they would hear it and the hunt would be over. I managed to slip it off and stuff it in my pack without spooking them. They came up and began feeding on some of the corn I had thrown out in various shooting lanes. They began to get a little nervous and kept looking back toward the direction they came from. I knew there was another deer back there but I just could not see it. After a few minutes I saw some movement along the same trail. I was right. Here came two bucks. They were the same two I had on my game cameras. One was a main frame freaky four point with trash going everywhere, while the second buck was a nice long tined eight point. These two bucks were smart. They circled down wind and stood there checking the air for quite awhile. I was confident they could not smell me because I had just been through Mother Natures washing machine. If I had any smell on me before, it was gone now for sure. Once they felt like the area was safe they both circled back up to the point were I originally saw them. They began to cautiously work their way toward my stand. I decided to go ahead and get ready and be prepared for whatever shot I was going to get. I raised my bow, and clipped on my release. It seemed like an eternity as the big eight point worked his way closer and closer. Finally, he entered one of my shooting lanes.

I was extremely nervous because he was closer then what I like. I knew he was going to hear me when I went to draw my bow. Standing broadside at ten yards, I decided I would make my move and draw my Mathews Drenalin. Slowly, I pulled back on the taunt string until I came to full draw. I did it! I had got drawn back on him and he did not hear me. He was mine. I settled the pin right behind his shoulder and squeezed the release trigger. The carbon arrow tipped with the Grim Reaper broadhead found its mark, a perfect heart shot. The buck jumped and took off plowing up the wet dirt as he went. He was hit hard. He made it about thirty yards before piling up. I was ecstatic. I sat there for a couple of minutes calming my shaking hands before climbing down to go take a look at him. There was going to be no tracking necessary for this deer. As I walked over to him I was shocked. His rack was still in full velvet. I couldn not believe it. What an awesome trophy. Who would have thought in a torrential downpour you could have such a great hunt.

Three weeks later I made another trip to the deer lease. Deer activity on the lease had slowed significantly since opening weekend because of all the recent rain. It looked like spring time in the hill country and it was almost November. My expectations for the week were dwindling as I looked over the trail cam photos. Nothing but a few young bucks and some does were coming to the stands. I decided I would try my luck at the stand on the very back end of the ranch.

The evening hunt went uneventful as I saw exactly what I had seen on camera a few young bucks, a couple of does and one big hog. The deer were just passing through they area. They walked right on by and kept going. I decided to hunt the same stand since I had seen some deer activity. I was hoping to get lucky and that a big buck would just happen to walk by me.

The next morning the air was cold and crisp. It felt like a good morning for deer hunting. I had no idea what was about to transpire. I climbed up the tripods ladder and got situated. I made a few practice draws on my bow to loosen up my stiff muscles. It was a good forty-five minutes before it was light enough to see off into the brush. Shortly after day break I heard what sounded like a deer running behind the stand. I turned to my right and saw a doe running with a huge buck trailing right behind her. I could not believe it. Where did they come from and why were they running like that?

I began to think they had winded me somehow. From the brief glimpse I got of him, he was the biggest buck I had ever seen while hunting. I could only hope that he would come back my way. Thirty minutes later, a doe darted across the road about 100 yards away and the big buck was right on her tail. He stopped in the middle of the road and looked back towards me. I had my binoculars up and was getting a good look at him. He was a magnificent tall and wide ten point. My mind was racing on how I was going to get him to come within bow range. I decided the only way he was going to leave that doe was to make him think there was another buck in the area. I reached down a grabbed my grunt call. I blew it a couple of times and got his attention. Afraid an intruder was about to take his girl from him he walked over to a persimmon bush and began violently tearing it apart with his antlers. He made several scrapes around the bush, and then he bristled up and started walking my direction. He closed the distance by fifty yards and then lost interest in the intruding buck. He looked to his left and walked off into the brush. What happened? I thought I had him.

The doe he was chasing circled back around and was walking down a trail that would take her behind the stand. I had no shot at that trail and my mind was racing on how I could get a shot if he came down the same trail. My eyes were scanning the brush trying to find where he was going to come out. I finally saw him. He was walking down the same trail the doe was on. If he followed her exact trail I would not get a shot. He came to a fork in the trail and he turned straight for me. I instantly raised my bow and drew while he was still about 30 yards out. He was headed straight for me. I was going to have to wait until he gave me a broadside shot.

He got to my ten yard marker and turned perfectly for one second. Before I was able to take a good aim, he walked behind some brush. I held at full draw trying to see where he was going to come back out. He stood motionless looking and listening from behind the brush. He turned and started back down on the same trail. He was now less than ten yards when he entered into my shooting lane. My arms were shaking from holding back my bow for so long and I mustered every ounce of strength to steady my shaking sights. I released the arrow and it found its mark. The buck took off and disappeared into the brush. I waited a few minutes and quietly climbed down. I walked to my arrow and found good blood all the way to the fletching, a complete pass thru. I decided to give the buck plenty of time before I took up the trail. I did not want to take any chance of spooking him. An hour later I came back and began to follow the blood trail. There was only a small amount of blood and I began to worry that I had made a bad shot. After about 40 yards the trail became much easier to follow and we walked right to him. He ran about 60 yards from the stand. I was speechless as I bent down and picked up his beautiful rack. I was overwhelmed with excitement. To have the opportunity to take two trophy bucks at less than ten yards in one season. Definitely a season I will remember for a long time.

Jared Poole