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Sometimes It's Your Day

Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson hunted four days in a row to take this drop tine buck with a recurve bow.
By Bob Johnson

-- On Monday, Nov. 10, I left work at lunch to go out and hunt that afternoon in search of a big buck that I knew was out there. I had spotted this deer crossing the road and in the neighboring fields for the last few weeks but never knew if it was a permanent resident on my piece of hunting ground. Then a photo from one of my game cameras captured the buck working a scrape on Nov. 3. I knew right then that this was the buck I would hunt.

However, I never would have expected my season to come together like it did.

My brother decided to hunt with me over the weekend, not knowing about the buck that I had been watching. The night before our weekend started, I pulled out the pictures of the big buck off the trail cam. Needless to say, we were very anxious for morning to come. The Friday hunt brought a lot of sightings of other deer. Saturday morning brought high winds and no deer movement.

We cut the morning hunt short and headed to the house to put together a new game plan. As we were talking it over, our dad pulled into the driveway and said he saw the buck bedded down in a field about 8 miles away. We drove down the road to make sure this was the buck. To my surprise it was!

We decided to stalk the buck. After making a big loop around it to get downwind, we were nearly in position when we kicked up a doe. The doe jumped up, ran across the field and took the buck with it. We walked home with our heads hung low in disbelief of what had just happened.

Johnson
Once the game camera captured this drop tine on Bob Johnson's property, the recurve bowhunter put all of his energy into going after this buck.
Later, we talked over what we should do next and decided to check out the area the buck ran toward. We circled the timber and decided to sneak into the backside of the field, lo and behold, the drop-tined buck and three others were chasing does.

We split up working around the deer and eventually were able to get on both sides of them. Together, we slowly worked closer to the drop tine. I had moved as close as I could and was in position at around 35 to 40 yards away, but the buck was behind some debris. My brother continued crawling down the edge of a hedge row.

All the deer had bedded down and did not know we were in the area until my brother crawled a little too close. One of the bucks spotted him. Immediately, all of the deer stood up and bolted. We watched our prize run halfway across the county.

After two more unsuccessful stalks, we were done for the day. Sunday I hunted a different area to let my prime spot rest a little. Monday I was supposed to take off all day to hunt but decided to go into work until lunch and hunt in the afternoon.

It was a cool, crisp day with no wind. I didn't see anything until around 4 p.m. Some small bucks started chasing a doe in the neighbor's pasture. After a while, the chasing was at my stand. They were running so hard it sounded like someone was knocking down trees. Three small bucks were chasing two does right under my stand when I heard a grunt to my left. I turned to look and thought it was just the big 8-pointer I had seen before, so I was going to pass on it. When the buck turned and headed toward me,
I noticed it was the drop tine. I shook uncontrollably as it turned broadside just 10 yards away behind a few small trees.

I pulled back and shot, hoping my arrow would thread the needle between two trees. The buck jumped. I missed! Somehow I was able to knock another arrow. This time I pulled back and the shot hammered the buck. I watched is run for about 50 yards and fall.

After getting out of the tree, I noticed the first arrow was stuck in one of the trees. Walking up to the buck was an awesome experience. What's more, I took this buck with a recurve bow, which I just started shooting last season.

No doubt that this is a buck of a lifetime.

Bob Johnson
Springfield, Illinois

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