I’m 51 years old, a mill electrician who has been bowhunting for 34 years. To say that I have a passion for big bucks is an understatement.
On Nov. 8, 2011, in Brown County, Kan., rain (4 inches) kept us from hunting all day, also keeping deer movement to a minimum. That night, we went to bed with rain still falling. We awoke at 4:30 a.m. to 3 inches of snow.
It was Nov. 9, the day Stan Potts had told me was always the best day of the year to be in a tree.
After showering quickly and donning my Scent-Lok clothes, I checked the wind, which was perfect for my stand. It would be blowing away from the corn- field and toward the bluff by the creek. My stand was hanging 25 yards inside the woods flanking the field.
I did not need a headlamp to reach my stand. The moonlight and snow were bright. As I slipped up in my stand, I felt very confident. I’d not bumped any deer in the corn.
Minutes after I pulled up my bow, dawn broke. The cornfield and woods were glowing with the year’s first snow, which, in the Midwest, is magical. Twenty minutes had passed when a large doe eased out of the draw and passed under my tree to reach the corn, which was a good sign. Five minutes later, out of the same draw and on the same trail came a 120-inch 8-pointer.
After it passed under my tree and went out to the cornfield, I heard a large splash in the creek at the end of the draw. I turned and saw one of the largest bucks I had ever seen standing in the 2 feet of water in the creek. Its antlers were almost glowing, and the buck looked reddish against the white background.
The big deer looked as if it was going away from me. I offered a couple of soft grunts, but there was no response.
Twenty minutes later, while the big buck was still standing in the creek, another small buck passed underneath my stand. When I turned back to check the big one, it had disappeared.
Where could it have gone? I wondered. And how? I’d glanced away for only 10 seconds.
Five minutes later, I saw a large cedar quivering across the draw. I bleated twice, but the tree-shaker paid no attention to me.
For the next hour and a half, I watched this monster walk up the draw only to disappear again at 80 yards.
When my nerves settled, I texted my hunting buddy, James Strength, and told him I’d just seen a 180-inch buck. He answered, “You must be kidding.”
My son was hunting in Illinois. I texted him, too, and he replied, “Hang in there. It might come back.” But I told him I would never see that deer again.
At that point, it was 8:30, and the sun had started melting some snow. I remembered my daughter was having shoulder surgery that day, so I texted my wife to see how things were going and told her about the big deer.
They were all okay. She told me I was going to kill a good deer.
I had been praying and asking God for a good deer I could kill for my grandson, Brody, who had died in a car accident almost 18 months earlier. He was my daughter’s first child.
At 10:55, I spotted an 8-point buck skirting the edge of the cornfield and coming toward me. I thought, “Too small,” and then noticed it wasn’t alone. The buck behind it almost stole my breath. It was, no doubt, the monster I had seen that morning!
I grabbed my bow and hooked up in one motion. I had one good shooting lane, and I grunted when the deer walked into it.
It didn’t stop, so I leaned all the way out on my harness and unleashed my Easton.
I thought I hit it a little far back. I was shaking so bad, I could barely hold onto my bow.
I watched as the deer went out of sight. Since I have lost so many big deer by following too soon, I waited until 3 p.m. to start looking for it. My other hunting buddy, Charlie, was there to help.
Judging from the blood in the snow, I felt sure I’d hit the liver. When we lost the blood trail, Charlie and I split up. I’d gone about 15 yards when Charlie whistled.
“Blood or deer?” I asked.
“BIG DEER!” he answered.
I put my arrow back in the quiver and ran over there.
I couldn't believe my eyes. It was even bigger than I’d thought. I looked up and said, “Thank you, Lord. This is Brody’s deer!”
Hunter: Greg Wood
Official Score: 201 4/8
Composite Score: 218 1/8
– Photos courtesy of Greg Wood
This article was published in the August 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.