By Scott DelGrego
-- The Saturday afternoon plan was to drive over to my brother's house in Durham, Conn., and see if any deer were moving through the (bow only) state land behind his house. After evaluating the wind direction and jumping two does, I decided that I was not going to hunt this area. It was 4 p.m., and after a few phone calls to a couple of hunting buddies with no success, I decided just to go home.
While I was driving back to my house, I decided to take a chance and drive by a 30-acre spot I have on the other side of town. Unfortunately, this farm has several different hunters on the property, and I normally don't even try to hunt it on Saturdays. The land owner's rule is if you get there first you have the land to yourself.
To my surprise, when I pulled in the driveway, no one was there. Perfect! The afternoon hunt I thought I had lost was saved. I quickly got my gear together and made a call to my hunting partner, Tom, to tell him I was going to be at the farm. Tom and I always hunt together, but on this day, he had some family obligations and couldn't make this hunt. He told me to keep my two-way on because he would drive by later and check-in.
I quickly made my way down to the back right corner of the field. I had my Summit Viper with me and had to make quick decisions on which tree to climb. I had two trees to pick from in this corner; the rock pile tree, or a tree next to a permanent stand that Tom and I hung years back. I picked the tree next to the permanent stand and quickly made my way up the tree, pulling my bow up and settling in.
By then it was 4:45, and the sun was starting to set. Tom was driving by and radioed me. He wished me good luck and said that he would be back through the area in about an hour and would check in then. Before the conversation was over he reminded me about the bucks the landowner had told us about. I told him all I want was to see the piebald 8-pointer that the owner said he had been seeing all summer.
Just a few minutes after that conversation, I looked over to the rock pile tree and saw movement in the woods. At first I thought it was one of the girls from down the road riding her horse. Whatever it was, it just didn't look like a deer! As the animal got closer to the edge of the field, I saw the antlers and realized it was the piebald 8-pointer.
What a sight! Buck fever was setting in. All I could think about was that no one would believe this story. The buck entered into the field and began eating right under the rock pile tree. "Great decision," I thought to myself, sarcastically. Had I chosen the rock pile tree stand, I would have had a 10-yard shot. As it was, from the permanent stand, I was 70 yards from the deer. I noticed that following close behind was a small six-point buck.
Both bucks fed for over an hour out in the field. I even tried taking pictures of the bucks with my cell phone. Finally, the smaller buck made his way over and began eating acorns under my stand at 15 yards. The wind was in my face, and the small buck had no idea I was there. I kept telling myself to shoot the 6-pointer, but with the nice piebald in the field, I just couldn't. I had the 6-pointer under me for about 20 minutes when, all of a sudden, the piebald started walking directly toward the small buck from about 80 yards out in the field.
The buck fever was really flowing now. He came right at me. The piebald made his way over and stopped 10 yards in front of me, but there was a good size tree blocking the vitals. Man, I was shaking, he was right there but I had no shot. I needed to quickly calm down. Then it hit me, and I said to myself, "Scott, the wind is good and these two bucks have no idea you are there. Calm down and wait for the shot."
Well, it was a long wait. The two bucks stood motionless for another 10 minutes. Eventually, the smaller buck started walking to my left. Here was my chance. Sure enough, the piebald started to follow the 6-pointer. Within seconds, I had a clear shooting lane. I drew my Hoyt bow and settled the 20 pin on the vitals.
I grunted and the buck stopped. I hit the release and watched the arrow hit right behind the shoulder. A perfect shot!
The buck took a hard hit that almost knocked it off its feet. The buck quickly bolted across the corner of field with the smaller buck on his tail and crashed into the woods out of sight.
Yes! I had just shot a piebald 8-pointer and knew the shot was perfect. Man, did the buck fever set in after the shot. I sat back down because I was shaking and grabbed my phone to call Tom.
He didn't answer, so I left a message, "I just shot the piebald." I knew I should give the buck some time, so I tried to calm down. Moments later, Tom called back and told me he had just pulled into the driveway and saw that I called. I could hardly talk, but I told him the short story and that the deer was down.
Tom said he was on his way down through the field to meet me to look for the deer. I got my gear together and climbed down the tree. I quickly packed up my treestand and started across the field. By this time, Tom was walking down through the field about 200 yards away. All of a sudden, he stopped and picked up his binoculars. I stop walking and looked in his direction.
Tom signaled with his hands that he saw the buck lying on the edge of the field. I ran over and from about 100 yards all we could see was white. He was down. We both made our way over to the buck. What a sight -- 25 years of hunting with several good bucks on the wall including a Pope and Young buck, but this was a true trophy.
Hugs and high-fives followed, and before I knew it, the buck was in the back of the truck with all of my hunting buddies standing around the truck enjoying a cold beverage. What a great hunt.
I'd like to say thank you to my landowner, Tom and my other hunting buddies. I am looking forward to many more great hunts with you. Remember, boys, the landowner also saw a wide 10-pointer with a drop tine. Stay focused and get out there!
Scott A. DelGrego