posted on June 18, 2012 06:53
By Mike Handley
Young Seth Bisbee began North Dakota's 2011 season with a full tank of anticipation, fueled by trail camera photographs of a huge Benson County 5x5 that had not only survived the previous winter, but also was considerably larger for having done so.
Seth was in a blind on Sept. 6 when the buck with the familiar rack came strolling in at prime time. Because dusk was fast approaching and the deer wouldn't turn, he chose to take the only shot he had, which was at the animal's chest.
In order to shoot, Seth had to draw and lean into the blind's window. And when he did, he and the buck locked gazes. A split-second later, it was gone.
"I thought I'd blown my only chance," Seth said. "I wanted to give up hunting."
He didn't, of course. He was back inside the same blind the next day, since there was no school.
About 7:45 p.m., the No. 2 deer on the family's hit list -- a 6x6 still in velvet -- appeared in front of Seth.
"I tried extremely hard to remain calm, and I did a good job of that," he said. "I drew back, leaned in and tripped my release. The arrow sailed right over its back."
The kid, convinced he'd better find another, easier pastime, almost left for home right then. He was still thinking about it 10 minutes later, when he spotted two more deer approaching.
"It was THE big one and its buddy, a smaller 5x5. I couldn't believe it!" he said.
Just like the first time, the buck was facing Seth. Unlike the first time, it didn't see the bowhunter lean into the shooting window. As soon as it raised its head, offering a clear shot to its chest, the young bowhunter tripped his release.
The buck took off running, and a dejected Seth thought he'd blown yet another opportunity.
"My confidence level was already low, so I assumed I'd missed again," he said. "It was getting dark then, so I left. I was so angry with myself."
He needn't have lost any sleep, though. While Seth was in school the next day, his father found the buck.
At 175 6/8 inches, Seth's whitetail is a new North Dakota record among Typicals felled by compound bow. Its composite (true gross) score is 193. The full story will appear in Rack magazine in August.