Saturday, October 5th, I was working and Matt was in the deer stand. We were texting back and forth as he passed the time and I was wishing I was there. At 9:30, I receive a message stating he just had a huge buck walk out at 40 yards and angle away from him, never presenting a shot. Matt said he could've been a 12 point and it appeared like he had some non-typical points off his antler bases. We immediately put a plan together to ambush him the next day with our stand selection.
Sunday morning was cold for the beginning of October at 45 degrees with a windchill flirting with the high 30's. I convinced myself to get out of bed. When cold fronts push through, you have to get in the stand. I meet Matt at our typical prep spot. He brought Mike, his soon to be brother-in-law, to hunt as well this morning. Mike was going to sit where Matt had been the morning before. I had trouble making up my mind as to which stand I was going to sit in. We have 2 trees 70 yards apart in a bottom. I made up my mind to hunt the one that I shot my 7 point out of last November. I get setup in the tree 20 minutes before shooting light. I have my camera with me, but this tree just doesn't allow for self filming due to the paths the deer use and the camera arm preventing certain shots with a bow.
As the sun came up, it was cold. Fog rolled in and the wind picked up out of the Northwest as planned. Matt was about 400 yards to my Northeast and Mike was 200 yards to my East. The wind began to swirl where I was and I started to question sitting there. Knowing the wind was going to be about 15mph eventually, I stuck it out. The morning was uneventful for all 3 of us until 9:15 when Matt had a 4 point walk almost directly under him. We were all surprised with the weather being what it was, that we weren't covered up with deer. At 9:50, Matt and I decided to give it another 20 minutes, then call it a morning.
At 10:00am, I put my bow on a gear hanger and grabbed my drink. As I had the drink to my mouth, I hear a stick snap. I look to my right, mid-drink pose, and see a 2.5 year old 6 point. I quickly made the decision to pass, but also to put my drink back in my backpack. As I released my grip from the drink, the 6 point gets spooked and takes a few bounds to my East. Movement in the direction the 6 point had come from catches my attention and all I can see is antler, 15 yards away, following the 6 point to the East. I grab my bow and pull it next to my chest. The two bucks stop behind a group of trees and thick brush. My safety harness is wrapped around my right-side, forcing me to turn 270 degrees instead of 90. I slowly turn to my left, having to turn my back on the deer for a second. I quietly cursed my decision to wear the harness.As I spun, the 6 point abruptly turned South and bounded through the last shooting lane the deer would intersect on their path. I knew I had no time to lose. The 6 point stopped at the far edge of the shooting lane. I smoothly drew my bow as the large buck began to enter the shooting lane, broadside. I put my 20 yard pin on his chest, just above his elbow. Knowing the small buck was spooked, I was not going to attempt to stop the large buck. As I squeezed my release, he stopped, at 25 yards, broadside. I hesitated for a second, verifying my pin placement. My index finger curled, releasing the arrow. I watch the arrow head for it's mark through the sight. I hear a solid "thwack" as the arrow passes through the buck's chest.
The bucks tear out of there, running through waist-high grass, and disappearing to the south. I tried to listen for their movement, straining to hear anything to give me confirmation as to my shot placement. The woods are quiet as I begin to fall apart. I hadn't had time to process what was happening prior to the shot, instincts had taken over. My safety harness assisted in keeping me stable as my knees became weak. My eyes watered as I whispered a "thank you" to the Lord. I try to call Matt, but cell phone reception prevented the conversation from happening, so I shoot him a text. "Uh, I'm going to need help". He asks if I got one, to which I reply, "Yeah, he's big". I let my bow down from the tree and begin to get situated for my decent when I spot movement to my West. A 4 point is quartering toward me at 20 yards. I pull out my phone to snap a few pictures as he makes his way under my stand. He almost steps on my bow. He jumps up and back at the same time, not knowing what it was. Another 4 point appears 30 yards behind him. For the next 5 minutes, the 2 small bucks work their way around me, following the same path as the deer I just shot. Then angling toward Mike. I text him to let him know then I began to climb down from the tree.
I find my arrow, and confirm it is covered in dark blood. I set my bow down and head to meet Mike and Matt. I relay the story to Mike and Matt as I set my gear down and we head back to the arrow. The blood trail is slow to start with a few drops here and there. I grow concerned as the next 50 yards pass and we are still only finding small areas of blood spray. As we enter a more wooded area, we find where the wound has opened up, leaving much more blood behind. We hit a dead end at the edge of a thicket. I backtrack a few yards, and see where the buck made an abrupt left turn. We've already trailed 150 yards. Pools of blood cover the leaves. I look up to verify my path and spot the white of the inside of his legs. As I make my way to him, I am in awe of the rack. The shot had happened so fast, I hadn't been able to count the points, but I knew he was bigger than any other buck I've killed.
After I caped him out and the meat was safely in the cooler, I went to the store and purchased a flexible measuring tape. I looked up the measurements to take on a rack and started putting the tape to him. The gross green score totaled 151 inches. I was shocked when I saw the total. What a trophy. I couldn't be more proud. The taxidermist began to skin him out while I was there and gave me a look at the teeth. The Taxidermist aged him at 6 1/2 years old. I'm sure I'll still be smiling 6 months from now when I pick him up from the Taxidermist.