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The Haystack Buck

Jon BryanBy Jon Bryan

-- At 5 p.m., I had defied logic, was sitting behind a tree and scouting for deer. What’s illogical about that? The tree that I was hiding behind was in the feed lot, not 200 feet from the east side of my house.

By dark, I had seen 11 does and two young bucks within 50 yards of my hiding place, where cover was so sparse I couldn’t lift my camera to photograph them.

In the thick fog the next morning, sitting in a treestand by a food plot, I had seen only four yearling does. Then it dawned on me: The bucks will be close to where the does are! So, then and there, I decided that I would convert one of the partial round bales of hay in the feed lot into a blind and see if that would provide me sufficient cover to get a shot.

Moving the hay around for a makeshift blind proved to be easy. The hard part was angling into the chair so only the top of my camouflaged head would show. 

That afternoon found me scrunched into a bale of hay, watching a spike about 100 yards away down a lane in the trees stop and rub its head against an overhanging limb. It then squeezed its back legs together and urinated over the glands and onto the obvious scrape. The youngster was the first of five bucks (three of them shooters) to sweeten that spot.

That was a first for me. I’d seen one buck work a scrape, but never two and certainly not five. Don’t ask me why I watched and didn’t shoot!

Awhile later, a doe walked across the clearing not 40 yards in front of me, followed by the spike. Shortly afterward, the spike beat a hasty retreat, and I got ready.

As I'd hoped, out walked what looked to me like a bonafide 4 1/2-year-old. It looked at the doe as I centered my crosshairs over its vitals. It collapsed at the shot, but it bounced back up and ran another 20 or so feet before giving up the ghost.

Whew, that was some deal!

But then I noticed the smoke. Where was smoke coming from?

The muzzle flash had ignited some of the hay, but it soon smoldered out.

I hadn’t taken two steps out of my blind when I saw movement ahead in the brush. Three bucks exploded out out of there.
This guy is a 7-pointer. Its left main beam was broken from fighting.

I’d passed on a big buck with only one antler earlier that week. The whitetails in these parts are aggressive!

--Jon Bryan

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