Mississippi bowhunter plays it safe by taking the first of two bucks ... and tracking before a storm.
Story and photos by John J. Woods
To get a jump on the expected weekend warriors, Jerry Gibson of Petal, Miss., drove to his Newton County hunting camp on Friday, Oct. 5. The 2001 bow season had opened the previous Monday, but the real crowd wouldn’t be afield until Saturday and Sunday.
“It was a typical hot and muggy Mississippi day,” Jerry said. “I really didn’t want to go hunting, but I felt compelled to go. Boy, I’m glad I did.”
Aside from spending a day in the woods by himself, Jerry was also eager to see what might visit the soybeans the club had planted. One field in particular was on his mind.
“The food plot was next to a pasture that had been planted in pines many years ago. One day while running the tractor and mower, I came up with the crazy idea to mow down some of the lanes between the pines,” Jerry said.
“Several of the pines had finally reached a size capable of handling a fixed-position treestand, so I figured I would mount a stand back in the pines where I could see down one of the lanes that led out into the soybean patch,” he continued.
That morning, Jerry limbered up his bow-shooting skills and chased away a few deer fever butterflies by taking a doe.
“It felt good to get back into a deer stand,” he said, “and arrowing that doe really broke the ice on what I was hoping would be a good season.”
He slipped back into the pine plantation about 2:30 and climbed into his stand. He did not see anything until about 4 p.m.
“I was beginning to think that first evening was going to be a bust, buck-wise, but the sun still had a long way to go before disappearing,” he said.
“A spike came across my main shooting lane, stopped, and paused for several long minutes. I recognized that something was amiss right off,” Jerry continued. “The little buck was acting really cagey – nervous, but not spooked. It was fidgety, I guess. It just did not act normal like a solo deer out for a late afternoon stroll. Something held its attention.”
About the time the spike bolted out of the lane, Jerry caught a flicker of movement and connected it to a huge buck standing back in the pines. He then saw a second nice buck. Both, it seemed, were going to come into bow range at the same time.
“I was the jittery one then,” he laughed.
The first buck stepped into the lane, offering a broadside target. Jerry decided he’d better go for the “bird in hand.”
As he released, the buck took a step forward, and the arrow hit farther back than Jerry intended. It was 6:30.
He knew he needed to give the buck some time, so he left the area quietly. His first instinct was to return the following morning, perhaps with a buddy. But a thunderstorm was supposed to move through that night.
“When I heard that, I started to panic. Any sign would be lost, and I had no idea how far the buck had run. So when a friend arrived in camp, we decided to take up the search. We gathered up some flashlights and headed back to the pines,” Jerry said.
Soon after the guys started tracking, they jumped the buck not 40 yards into their search. But it ran only 50 yards before expiring.
Just as Jerry and his friend were loading the buck, the clouds zipped open and the downpour started.
This article was published in the July 2005 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.