By Carl Redding
-- It was an ice cold morning during the start of southwestern Pennsylvania's rut. I was going to be hunting with a buddy of mine on a small piece of private property near the West Virginia border. The air was frosty cold with the temperatures around 20 degrees. There was a thick layer of frost that covered the crunchy leaves. It was the kind of morning that hunters dream about.
The anticipation was overwhelming to say the least. I had never killed a buck with archery equipment before, and I was sure that this day, Oct. 27, would be the day that I would get the job done. I had hunted near this spot earlier in the season and had seen several deer, including a nice buck walking the trails that I would be sitting on.
The day started with a lot of action. Five deer including two small bucks started the day by standing and eating almost right under the tree that I had climbed with my Summit treestand. I was trying to place more points on this buck that was putting on a show for me. We are restricted by Pennsylvania law to only take deer that have four points or more on one side. This law is a good thing as you will soon find out.
Those deer actually bedded 50 yards away, and time flew by as I watched them lie there for a good part of the day. Early that morning, we had decided to stay in the trees all day, and boy, did that pay off!
As the day progressed, the wind began to blow across the ridge very hard and directly in my face. I was extremely cold and almost got down several times as the chill ripped through my clothing. Around 4 p.m., I noticed movement down the ridge about 150 yards away. I looked through my optics to see a couple does cross underneath an electric fence and make their way to the opened field to eat.
I pulled out my grunt call to be ready for the buck that I was hoping would come. Sure enough, a few minutes passed, and I saw a nice high-racked buck making its way to the fence. Then, I saw movement behind this buck. It was a bigger buck. As the pair was getting ready to cross the fence, in the same place as the does, the first buck got a little too close to the fence and was zapped right on the snout! He jumped back about 10 feet. The larger buck followed suit.
I watched in amazement as they changed direction and headed directly toward me along the fence line. The bucks moved rather quickly toward me, and the first buck passed within 10 yards. It was a dandy. Even with its high rack and generous girth, the buck did not have brow tines on either side. This was not a legal deer as it had three points on each side.
As it passed by, my attention focused on the second deer. I watched as it slowly, yet methodically made its way into shooting position. I was shaking in my boots by now from excitement and the cold air. I drew back as the buck passed a large oak tree and stopped its progress with a short bleat like what I have seen on numerous television shows.
I nestled the pin just behind the right shoulder and WACK!! The arrow buried in its chest cavity a little higher than I anticipated, but clear to the arrow's fletching. The buck took off like a shot. Then silence consumed the woods. I watched closely and heard some leaves in the distance. Then I saw its rack through the thick brush moving backward, before it wildly thrashed in the leaves. The buck was down!!
What a feeling of exhilaration, as I tried to stop shaking. I called on the radio to my buddy and told him that I had taken a big buck and he told me that he had deer coming in and was going to take a doe. I climbed down and followed the trail straight to the deer that was laying only 60 yards away.
It was a day that I will never forget. I killed a beautiful 8-point buck with a 16-inch spread! It was a great first bow buck, and it hangs on my wall as a reminder of my success and God's favor on me!
Mount Morris, Pennsylvania