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At the Center of the Action

Mark GregorBy Mark Gregor

-- It was Oct. 30, 2008, and the rut was just starting where I hunt in Wisconsin. It was a warm and windy day, so I was not too excited about heading afield. But if I didn’t go, I was guaranteed not to see or shoot anything!

I was in my stand a little before 4 p.m.  Right away, I saw a nice buck. He wasn’t close, but at least the deer were moving.

Fifteen minutes later, a forkhorn popped over the ridge, stopped and just stared ahead … at what turned out to be a very nice 8-pointer that charged him. After running off the forkhorn, the 4x4 whirled and started charging in a different direction.

There was another 8-pointer, and the first one chased it away, too.

When the aggressive 4x4 started toward me from 70 yards away, I was breathless. Only then did I notice the doe between us, about 40 yards in front of me. Knowing I had a live and probably hot decoy to lure the buck in my lap didn’t help my nerves.

Alas, the scenario didn’t unfold as I imagined it would. The doe went the other way, and the big buck followed.

Dejected, I sat back down and resumed breathing normally. It was still very early; I had plenty of time left to hunt.

Not 15 minutes later, the big 8-pointer reappeared. He walked right to where the doe had been standing, sniffed around and started off again in the same direction as before (away from me).

I had a bleat can in my pocket, so I gave it a tip. He paid no mind. When I flipped it a second time, the buck stopped, looked back and came charging right at me. I couldn’t believe it!

When he was about 25 yards away, I noticed the other 8-pointer off to my side. That’s what the big deer had seen and where it was going.

The smaller 4x4 ran back about 20 yards, and the big one slowed down to a stiff-legged swagger. I was so PUMPED at that point. Two nice bucks were practically underneath me!

When the big 8-pointer passed me, heading into a small opening, I drew and waited. When he reached the clearing, I grunted with my voice to stop him. He took one more step, stopped and gave me a perfect quartering-away shot.

After the arrow hit home, he went about 50 yards and dropped.

I hope I have many years left to bowhunt. But I can’t imagine a more exciting hunt.

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