If a bowhunter grunts in a forest and a buck is around to hear it, does that mean it’s working?
If Austin Nord wasn’t already a fan of grunt calls prior to Oct. 5, 2017, he’s now a firm believer. The 25-year-old from Bloomington, Illinois, credits deerspeak with drawing an incredible 31-pointer to his arrow that day.
Austin hunted Oct. 1, opening day of the Land of Lincoln’s archery season, but work kept him out of the woods for the next three days. On Thursday, he left his father’s construction business early and headed to the family farm in McClean County.
When he arrived at close to 3 p.m., he rode his four-wheeler about halfway to the strip of trees he planned to hunt, and then he walked the final 200 to 250 yards to his stand.
Austin saw nothing until 5:30, when two small bucks – a basket-racked 8- and 6-pointer – entered the hay field 100 yards away and began butting heads and eating.
“They weren’t really fighting; just messing around,” he said.
Ten minutes after they left, Austin grunted three times.
“I wanted to see if I could get them or something else to come back out,” he said. “Not more than five minutes later, I heard a stick break.”
An enormous buck had snuck to within 20 yards of Austin’s tree, apparently looking for the other deer it heard.
“It was about five steps away from being out of my shooting lane,” he said. “While it was walking, I grabbed my Bowtech. Actually, I stopped the deer – with a loud ‘merrrr’ – before I even had my bow in hand.
“I had no idea how big it was. I just saw a bunch of points,” he added.
The humongous deer ran for about 30 yards after first arrow smacked it.
“I got a second arrow in it, but I don’t know how. My pin was floating all around: up, down, left and right. I guess I finally got it stopped long enough to release,” he said.
At the second hit, the big whitetail ran another 15 yards and disappeared.
The buck was neither aged nor weighed, but Austin says it probably would’ve tipped the scales at 260 or 270 pounds, field-dressed. The antlers haven’t been officially taped, but preliminary estimates put it in the 241-inch range.
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