Bill Pulse might not be in the market for a new bow just yet, but it’s a safe bet he’ll acquire a bigger quiver and a new pack of broadheads.
The Missouri bowhunter shoots an old second-hand compound bow for which he traded a spotting scope. His friends call it “The Banjo Tech.”
“My Whisker Biscuit is so worn, it looks like a broom,” Bill laughs. “But I’m really comfortable with that bow.”
The three-arrow quiver? Not so much. Not anymore.
Having so few arrows didn’t cost him a buck, but it gave him a scare when, after he dropped one and shot another into a tree, he was left with only one for when the biggest deer he’d ever seen gave him a second chance.
“That buck looked like a mule with a rocking chair on its head,” Bill said.
A medic and firefighter in Kansas City, Bill didn’t grow up with a love for archery or deer. He only decided to give it a try after a neighbor shared some ducks with his family.
Grocery shopping outside of a grocery store sounded like a lot of fun.
After bartering for a bow, Bill heard about a managed deer hunt along the bluffs of the Missouri River in Platte County, on land owned by Park University. The area stretches from Riverside to Weston, Mo.
“I got in on the tail end of the 2010 season and shot a doe,” he said. “The next year, I started right after the opening bell on Sept. 15.”
Between then and Nov. 1, Bill spent as much time as he could muster away from work and family to scout and hunt.
“I had been hunting hard and had shot a couple of does, but I wasn’t seeing or hearing anybody else talk about any big bucks,” he said. “I moved my stand numerous times, figured the grass was greener and that the hunting would be better the farther back I could go.”
According to the terms of the managed hunt, hunters must field-dress their deer “off site,” a requirement that can keep hunters concentrated close to roads to avoid long and lung-busting drags. Bill didn’t mind venturing deep into the land.
“I was always on the move with stands,” he said. “Then I got into an area just loaded with rubs and scrapes, and then it all broke loose.
“My brother said he’d seen one of the biggest bucks he’d ever seen, ‘great big buck’ is how he described it,” he added. “I knew the rut was kicking in, and I wanted to be in there.”
Bill moved his hanging stand another 30 yards deeper into the woods. On the morning of Nov. 4, the rut was in full swing.
“I had seen some nice bucks, some chasing does, and then I saw two does and, behind them, a beautiful 10-pointer coming toward me,” he said. “I had a grunt tube and rattling antlers and started to use them, hoping to lure the buck closer.”
Instead, Bill’s calls and rattles pulled another, smaller buck out into the open, and it headed for the 10-pointer and the does.
“The 10-pointer ran off the interloper and then rejoined the does,” Bill said. “I didn’t have a shot at either of the bucks.
“I had just started to hang up my bow when I caught a glimpse of a third buck,” he added. “Even with just a glimpse, I could see that the antlers were substantial.
“I grunted, and it started to rake the brush, thrashing trees that were probably 4 inches in diameter,” Bill continued. “I was watching it and hoping, ‘Please, don’t go where the other deer went.’”
Bill tried a grunt, and it worked. Pronto.
“That buck was grunting and coming to me at a trot, ready to fight,” Bill said. “I started telling myself not to look at the rack, but that was difficult. I remember thinking the deer looked like a mule with a rocking chair on its head.”
Bill had dropped an arrow out of the tree earlier. With No. 2 threading the biscuit, he drew when the buck passed beneath his stand.
“I shot, and ‘WHACK!’” he said. “I hit a tree.”
Two of Bill’s three arrows were tipped with older broadheads. The third, which was the only arrow he had left, was tipped with an expandable head that his brother had given him. Bill had never shot it.
“After I shot the tree, the buck scampered away, but it stopped at about 40 yards,” he said. “I got the arrow loaded, drew and shot. I couldn’t tell if I hit or missed.
“I knew I was supposed to wait an hour, but my heart was beating really fast and I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” he remembered. “I got down to look for my arrow, but I couldn’t find it or any blood.
“I was looking and looking ... so disappointed ... I got down on my hands and knees,” he added. “When I looked to my right, I saw the dead buck about 100 yards from my stand.”
The deer’s heart had been center-punched.
“There were so many points on the rack, I couldn’t take them all in; couldn’t even count to 23,” he said. “I was so excited, I started dragging. After an hour, I’d moved it no farther than about 100 yards. I was spent at that point, and I realized I needed help.
“I weigh about 205. My friend is about the same size. And it was all we could do to drag that deer,” Bill said. “I was literally steaming.”
Bill’s season might’ve ended with this enormous 23-pointer, but the frosting on his cake came the very next day when his 6-year-old son, Garrett, shot a 9-pointer during a youth hunt.
Seeing the thrill in her men’s eyes, Bill’s wife, Mandy, announced that she wants to take up bowhunting, too.
“Everybody says I’ll never get another chance at a deer like this, but I’m not so sure,” Bill smiled. “I’m persistent.”
Hunter: Bill Pulse
BTR Official Score: 195 6/8
BTR Composite Score: 217 1/8
— Photos Courtesy of Bill Purse This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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