Kansas' No.1 Typical by Crossbow
By Ivy Dupree
I was born in 1945 and have been deer hunting since whitetails were introduced in the northwest portion of Louisiana in the late 1950s. We typically hunt family property where we maintain annual food plots and have had plenty of success in procuring venison for the freezer each year.
Trophy bucks, on the other hand, are few and far between. My sons have taken a few 120- to 130-inchers, but my best was an 8-pointer that couldn't compare with theirs.
My oldest son, Jason, is a passionate hunter who hunts far and wide.
He actually took an exceptional buck in our home parish in Louisiana on Dec. 31, 2001. His story was published in the January/February 2003 issue of this magazine.
Since then, one of his goals has been to get me an opportunity at a trophy of my own. He's carried me on hunts in Illinois, Kansas and Texas, as well as on the Louisiana river lands where he took his largest whitetail. He finally accomplished that goal on Nov. 8, 2008, when I got my buck of lifetime.
Jason and one of his dental school classmates, Paul Hargis, were in Kansas a few days before my other son, Dan, and I arrived late on Thursday, Nov. 6, for a couple of days of bowhunting. We hunted all day Friday, and Paul got a great looking buck on video that afternoon.
They put me on that stand Saturday morning, Nov. 8. Jason drove me partway in his utility vehicle, pointed to some distant trees and told me how to walk to them and where a treestand and ground blind would be situated at an old home place.
I had turned 63 that September. Although I'm in pretty decent shape, I decided to go for the ground blind rather than the treestand in a great big old cottonwood.
Due to rotator cuff problems in both shoulders, I shoot a crossbow. I had used my green cap light to get to the blind and arrange my backpack, quiver, rangefinder, binoculars, water, snacks and all the stuff we take for a day's hunt. When I had everything arranged and had unzipped some windows in the blind, I turned off my light and settled in to wait for daylight.
When I looked to the right up a rise, I saw what I thought was a bush that looked a whole lot like a deer. I made a mental note to keep an eye on it. A minute or so later, I looked back and saw that the bush had turned its head and was looking straight at me.
It was still too dark to make anything out except for the dark silhouette with a rack at the top of the hill. It must have been quite a sight for the buck to see the greenish glow emanating from the blind for 10 minutes or so while I was getting ready for the day's hunt.
After five or 10 minutes, the buck disappeared. The next time I saw it was about 20 yards in front of me. It was still too dark to tell much about the deer, so I waited patiently for daylight. Just as dawn was breaking, another buck walked up out of a draw and headed to the top of the rise where I saw the first one. Before it reached the top, it turned and walked straight to the first buck. Both were standing broadside at 20 yards.
I had sighted-in my crossbow at 26 yards from an elevated position. I was faced with an uphill shot, and I must have had too much buck fever to think clearly; I either shot under or over the bigger of the two.
The animal did not run away, however. It simply took a few steps behind the first deer and began down a path that would lead it 15 yards to my right.
I have to use a crank to cock the crossbow before I can nock an arrow. Anyone familiar with the cranking device knows that the clicker that locks the spool makes a pretty good sound as you crank it. I had to hold it with one hand to keep it quiet, while I cranked with the other.
The only problem with this is that the cord spools up on the side of the spool and makes a loud pop when it starts back the other way. This happened twice before the buck walked out of sight. Both times, it stopped and looked straight at the blind. But despite the noise, it never spooked!
When it was gone, I was devastated. Never had I seen a buck like that, and I figured I never would again.
After the buck vanished into the brush, several does began feeding along with the first buck. The first buck fed for about 45 minutes and then went back to the top of the rise where I first saw it.
The second and larger buck made a complete circle around me in the brush and came back out beyond the does - a little too far to shoot - and joined the first buck at the top of the rise. As they walked over the hill away from me, I grunted twice with my call.
When I glanced back at the does, a large, aggressive spike was chasing them. It cut one out of the pack and was stomping toward the brush on my left. I then looked to my right where the two bucks had gone over the rise, and the largest buck - the one I'd missed - was quickly coming back with its head down. It came within 10 yards of my blind. I was barely able to get the shot off before it went behind the low hanging limbs of the cottonwood beside me.
When the arrow hit, there was a loud thwack. The deer went about 20 yards, pivoted and went into the brush to my left. I heard dry limbs cracking when he crashed, but it was another hour before all the deer quit feeding and returned to the brush.
By then, I had resumed breathing normally.
When I got to the buck, I could only stand and look in awe as I telephoned Jason to tell him what had happened.
As you can imagine, I consider myself one lucky hunter for not getting just one chance at a trophy buck, but two ... and within a span of about 30 minutes. I have only the good Lord and my son, Jason, whose determination finally paid off, to thank.
Hunter: Ivy Dupree
Official Score: 163 2/8
Composite: 180 4/8
-- Reprinted from the Winter 2009 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine.