By Kelly Wadel
The night of Oct. 27, 2009, was a life changing experience for me, and one I will never forget.
I was hunting private property in Bates County, Missouri, on near perfect day for hunting - light winds and overcast skies. I could just feel that the evening was going to be a good one.
As I proceeded to walk to my stand, I kept accidentally dropping supplies and making noise. I thought it would be a miracle if I saw anything at all.
Before climbing into my deer stand, I sprayed a few squirts of buck urine attractant around the area for good measure.
As I got set up, I quickly realized I had overdressed. Very carefully, I shed a few layers of clothing so I could draw my bow with less difficulty. Then, I sat still for around an hour before I started calling.
I grunted first, and then I used my buck roar a few times. After a while, I brought out the snort-wheeze.
In a matter seconds after using the snort-wheeze, I saw antlers! The antlers soon materialized into a beautiful whitetail buck, which stepped out beneath a thick cedar tree at only 10 yards away.
It was going to walk directly underneath my deer stand!
Suddenly, a brisk wind arose, and I could tell the buck got a whiff of the buck urine. It raised its nose, turned sharply and made a beeline for the place I'd sprayed.
I drew my bow and, unbelievably, I was steady. Still, I was afraid it could hear my heart beating.
With my heart racing out of control, the deer began to trot away. I practically yelled at the buck, and it stopped in its tracks.
I held steady and released the arrow. I watched it sail into the buck, which stood looking for the noise at 38 yards. Thump!
The buck bolted. I heard it hit a fence and crash a couple times, somewhere deep in the woods.
It was 5:51 p.m. when I released the arrow, so I walked back to my truck to wait anxiously for a few friends to help me track it.
One hour later, we found the blood trail but couldn't find the arrow. We followed the blood trail for 100 yards, and then the blood disappeared. We marked that spot and went back home to get brighter lights.
My dad and his buddy brought their lights, which made the tracking easier. We found the arrow this time, with clear signs that I'd hit the buck in at least one lung.
Within ten minutes we found the deer, which had piled up about 150 yards away.
The buck had ten points with very long P-3s. This was my first bow kill and my largest buck to date.
With the spread added (BTR composite score), the rack scored 139 5/8" and the official BTR score is 125" in the Compound Bow, Perfect category.
This hunt was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Hard work, dedication and love for the outdoors helped me take this trophy.