By Matthew Moroz
-- I have been bowhunting for 17 years, and that trophy buck has eluded me each season -- until last year when a beautiful 11-point non-typical whitetail came strolling in with the help of my buck call.
It was a partly sunny morning on Oct. 21, 2006, while I sat in my stand. It was getting close to the time for me to get out of my stand and head to my daughter's karate competition. It was around 9:15 a.m. when I heard some crashing coming through the woods from the southeast. All morning I had some turkeys and does all around my stand but no bucks. I have spotted some nice bucks from this stand in the past, but they never would come into bow range.
As the crashing noise kept getting closer, I saw a big doe come through the middle of the woods. She stopped in my shooting lane and looked back to the edge of the woods. I was hoping that there was a buck following her, and my wish was granted.
This large buck came running in right behind her, and as he got closer, she ran up the woods ahead of me out of sight. He stayed right with her.
I was thinking that's my luck -- close but no cigar. She then came back but the buck was not behind her this time. Again, I thought that the big one would not close the gap for me to take a decent shot. Then, out of nowhere, I saw a brown coat slowly strolling through the woods from the same direction that the large buck and doe had come from.
I was shocked to see another nice buck coming from the same direction, and the doe was standing about 40 yards away and staring at the buck. As it got closer, I noticed two things. The doe decided to run off in another direction away from me and stop like she was playing games with the buck. So the buck stopped and started rubbing his rack on a tree that was about 3 inches in diameter. He was bending the tree to the ground with his antlers.
This was the first time that I had seen a large buck bend a tree like that while rubbing its antlers. I decided it was time to pull out the call and see if I could get the buck to come in a littler closer. It worked. He immediately stopped rubbing the tree and looked into the cornfield to my right, thinking it was another buck. Then, when he began walking closer to me, I noticed that the buck was limping. I believed the buck had either been hit by a car or suffered a previous injury.
When the buck walked within 8 feet, he stopped directly in front of my treestand. I could not believe that the best opportunity to take a monster whitetail was right in front of me. The buck call had worked, and I drew back my bow and let the arrow fly.
I knew immediately that I had a good shot on the buck as he jogged about 20 yards to the edge of the woods and stopped. He then started walking back from the direction that he came, and I thought that I missed him for sure. I waited for about 35 minutes then climbed down to look for my arrow since I could not see it from my stand.
I really thought at this point that the arrow flew over the buck's back or went right down into the mud. I looked to the left behind a tree the buck had been next to, and there was my arrow - covered in blood. It must have entered in the lungs and ricocheted to the left behind the tree. I had good blood on the arrow and followed the trail out to the edge of the woods, marking the last spot where I had seen the buck standing.
I immediately called two friends who were hunting in another location and asked them for assistance in tracking the deer. I have learned from past experiences to never push a deer to run farther and always make sure you have at least another set of eyes to help you track it.
We started tracking the deer from where I found my arrow and the blood trail. We walked a few steps and then one of my friends said, "There he is." I looked closely and saw that its rack blended in with some cattails in the corner of the woods. The buck had run roughly 20 yards to the edge of the woods and then walked another 20 yards to where it laid down.
It took me 17 years to take a nice buck but patience and persistence finally paid off.
Farmington, New York