By Rick Garrett
-- One of my longtime goals as a hunter has been to arrow a nice buck still in velvet. Here in Kentucky, it’s very unusual for one of our bucks to carry velvet past the 12th of September, giving us a week – maybe two – to collect one.
I have several trail cameras on my hunting property, and I normally collect several shots of decent bucks before the season opens. Finding myself in bow range of one still carrying his fuzz is a matter of crossing my fingers.
Opening morning last year, I saw two bucks that had recently shed their velvet. Sadly, I figured the neighborhood bucks were ahead of schedule and my goal would remain just that for another year.
I changed stands for the evening hunt due to a north wind. The move put me close to the creek in one of my favorite locations. I like that place for evening hunts because the deer tend to use it as a staging area before moving out into my food plots.
To be honest, I was a little discouraged when a third buck showed about an hour before dark with a freshly shed 9-point rack. By then, several mature does had entered the clearing and I was thinking about getting an early start replenishing my nearly venison-bare freezer.
Before I could act on impulse, however, I saw a big bodied whitetail moving into the clearing. It was a nice 8-pointer, and – lo and behold – still in full velvet.
My heart was pumping like this guy was my first buck. That’s how badly I wanted one in velvet.
I let the buck walk past me and took a perfect 25-yard, quartering-away shot.
“WHAP!” I love my broadheads.
After waiting an hour, I enlisted my son’s help – Jeff had been hunting just down the ridge from me – and we tracked my first velvet buck in 40 years of hunting about 75 yards to the edge of the creek.