By Chris Fischvogt
This is the largest of four book bucks to Chris Fischvogt's credit. He claims to spend 365 days a year watching and trying to figure out big whitetails. Photo Courtesy of: Chris Fischvogt
The third week of October 2006, one of my trail cameras photographed a huge mainframe 10-pointer with matching sticker points off the bases, making it a 6x6. The buck was living on or at least passing through the farm I knew better than any of the places I hunt.
I had tromped around that farm ever since I was old enough to walk.
I discussed strategies with my dad, and we agreed that my best chance of tagging it would be before the rut. If the buck got hooked up with a doe, there was no telling how far it might wander.
I knew I had to hunt this deer smarter than any other I'd hunted. This was going to be tough. I knew if it caught my scent one time, the game was probably over for me.
I decided not to bother this deer until the wind was absolutely perfect. It would take a northwest wind to hunt this particular farm. I tell you, it was hard not visiting this place, knowing what was there. But I knew I couldn't until the time was right. I just hoped the time would come soon.
This is the trail camera photo that bewitched the author. The number of points and their length convinced Chris to devote the entire season, if necessary, to pursue the deer, but only when conditions were perfect. Photo Courtesy of: Chris Fischvogt
I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to take the whole month of November off, so I felt like I had a good chance of at least seeing the buck. On Nov. 1, the last day I was scheduled to work until December, the wind was finally right. I arrived at home from work at 3:30 p.m. After a short visit with my wife and 5-month-old daughter, I took a shower in unscented soap, put on my Scent-Lok (I wear a full suit, head cover, gloves and rubber boots) and was out the door by 3:50.
On the way to my stand, I saw a decent 8-pointer and a doe bedded 50 yards from me. I thought to myself: This is going to be an awesome night. It was overcast with a light northwest wind and 50 degrees. I snuck within 200 yards of the cedar thicket where I suspected the buck was bedding.
I climbed into my stand as quietly as possible, raised my bow and sprayed myself with scent-killer. Less than 10 minutes later, a button buck went by at 40 yards. As soon as it vanished, two does appeared in a food plot at 75 yards.
This was turning into a great night, and I had only been on stand for half an hour.
After the does fed out into the cornfield and out of sight, I decided to do a light rattling sequence. About 10 minutes after I finished rattling, I heard a stick snap behind me. Show time!
Or so I thought.
I turned my head ever so slightly, only to see five whitetails take off and hear three loud snorts that I was sure alerted every deer for a few hundred yards. My good hunt was suddenly going bad. I turned back around and was watching in front of me, replaying the scenario in my head, trying to figure out how I had spooked the does, when the big buck appeared out of the blue at 15 yards.
It was looking for the source of the rattling, and when it couldn't find it, it became nervous. The deer sidestepped me at 20 yards, offering no shot. When it was 30 yards behind me, I grunted twice and it stopped, but only for a split second before continuing on its way.
I grunted three more times, and it started to come back. By this time, however, it was downwind. I assumed that at any moment, it would wind me and leave post haste.
Almost immediately, it stuck its nose in the air and tested the breeze. Luckily, I had dominant buck urine and doe-in-heat scent hanging from my stand. Once this buck got a whiff of the scents, it was as if it were lassoed; it came straight to me.
When the buck was at 15 yards behind a walnut tree, I drew. When it stepped out, I mouth-grunted and stopped it. A second later, an arrow sailed through both lungs!
The deer ran 75 yards, stopped, and then I heard the crash. It was done.
I called my dad and wife soon afterward.
I told them both, "I bet you can't guess what I just did."
They both did.
I can't explain the feeling that came over me. Years of close calls with my bow and hundreds of hours of preparation and scouting had finally paid off. I had finally connected on a giant with my bow!
When Dad came over with his ATV to help me recover the deer, he asked how big the buck actually was. I tried to downplay it and told him it sure wasn't what I thought. The look on his face showed that he was expecting ground shrinkage.
I quickly added that it was a lot BIGGER than we originally thought - a 14-pointer instead of a 12, with unbelievable mass. When my dad finally saw the buck, he was astonished.
The next day, when I went back to retrieve my arrow, I found four rubs the size of my thigh. I knew I had been hunting in that old rascal's bedroom.
A lot of things contributed to this successful hunt, including luck. But I believe you can create your own luck through hard work, preparation and year 'round scouting.
Hunter: Chris Fischvogt
Official Score: 177 1/8"
Composite Score: 195 2/8"
-- Reprinted from the December 2007 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine