If the weather’s too bad to go to work, go hunting instead!
It was the second day of the second shotgun season in Rock Island County, Ill., and we were getting our first big snow of the year. I wasn’t happy about heading to work on such a perfect hunting day — any day in the woods is better than a day at work. Then my boss called and said that all of the jobs were canceled and I didn’t have to go in.
I couldn’t get home fast enough to get out to one of my ground blinds. My best friend had shot a nice 8-pointer two weeks earlier from one of my blinds, and I was anxious to spend as much time hunting as possible.
Just a little before 7 a.m., I was walking toward a blind in a stretch of woods between two agriculture fields.
One of the fields had not been planted that year and had grass as high as my pickup in some places. My friends and I had seen many deer bedding in the grass, a convenient resting place with great access to the cornfield on the other side of the timber.
Since it was so late in the morning, I didn’t have much hope, but I was happy to be in the woods. I had harvested a few nice bucks in that area, so I knew the potential was there. When you have that kind of confidence, it makes anything seem possible.
As I approached the timber, I decided to stop in the grass about 100 yards from the blind, thinking I might spook anything that was in the woods if I kept moving in. The wind was in my face, blowing snow pretty hard. I stood as still as I could for about a half hour, keeping an eye on the timber.
Shortly after the snow stopped, I looked to my right and saw a buck stand up about 70 yards away in the grass. I could tell it had decent rack with a drop tine, so I immediately decided to take a shot. As I pulled up on the buck, he looked me dead in the eye and started to move toward the timber. Lucky for me, he tried to sneak away instead of making a dash for it.
At the report of the shotgun, the buck ran into the timber, and I waited about 15 minutes before I tried to pick up a blood trail. When I reached the spot where the buck had been when I shot, I saw where it had bedded all night. If I had continued in to my blind, there’s no doubt I would have spooked the buck and might not have even seen him. In addition to the bed, I found a good blood trail that I followed about 50 yards to my deer.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw the drop tines and how symmetrical they were. I have hunted deer for 20 years, and this is, by far, the nicest buck I have harvested.
I called my dad to tell him that I had shot a monster, and he could tell from my voice that I wasn’t fooling around. He and my grandfather came to help me get the buck out of the timber. It was an awesome hunt, and I’m glad that my father was there. He spent a lot of quality time with me, teaching me about the outdoors and making me the hunter I am today. Dad always said that any time in the woods was time well spent, and this hunt is a perfect example. Now, at age 31, I just hope I haven’t taken the biggest buck I’ll ever see.
This article was published in the December 2007 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.