I hunted a lot during the 2012 season near our home in Lincoln County, Okla., and saw some good bucks early, and then movement dropped to dang near nothing. I hunted all week and with the bright moon the deer were moving at night. There is a creek about 40 yards to the left of my stand and I kept hearing something but assumed it was the cows, which happen to love screwing up my hunts.
By Linet Navarro
I kept watch out of the corner of my eye but for the most part dismissed it as a cow. I kept watching where I thought the deer would come from in front of me and to my right, but when I glanced back to where the noise was coming from I saw movement in the middle of a dry creek bed. It was the backside of a deer. He lifted his head and I didn’t dare stare at the rack for fear I was dreaming. All I knew is that it was one I wanted to shoot.
I had a grunt call in my zipped-up pocket and I didn’t dare go for it. I had been playing around at home in the evenings buck grunting at the kids at random times, so I used my mouth to buck grunt. It turned him around! Oh, wow! I could not believe that worked! He came up the bank of the creek and was behind a couple of small trees. My stand was in the middle of three trees with a common base. The tree to the left concealed me from his view … but also caused a moment of panic because I couldn’t see him either. I leaned back to see around the tree but he was nowhere to be found. My heart sank. I kept telling myself to be patient.
I leaned forward and there he was at 25 yards! I had the bow aimed down from peeking and knew that I could hold it back for a while if I had to so I tried to draw. Well, that’s not how I practice and I couldn’t draw! In my mind I was thinking “Are you kidding me?!” I leaned back as he came toward me and across me to a spot I had measured as 18 yards.
He slipped behind another small tree, I jerked that bow back and settled the pin in front of him. He stepped right into it and again I did a mouth grunt to stop him. It could not have even been scripted any better! He was slightly angled away and I hit him double lung! Complete pass through on the arrow and a beautiful blood trail. That’s when the nerves hit!
I was shaking like crazy when I called my husband, Jonathan. He and a buddy were almost an hour away but headed back to help. He could hear the excitement in my voice as the phone rattled against my head from shaking so bad. I sat in the stand after retrieving my arrow and waited, thanking God for such an amazing animal and for just an all-around beautiful morning. I sat with my eyes skyward watching the breeze blow through the leaves reliving everything that had just happened and how many hours I had been in the woods the last few years.
It was a looooooooong wait! I texted Jon and told him I hoped that it was as big as I thought it was.
I was starting to wonder if it would have the infamous ground shrinkage all hunters fear. After all, I had never seen this buck on our trail cameras and it was already feeling like a dream.
When they arrived we blood trailed him about 80 yards, and a deer blew at us and took off running. There’s nothing like that feeling of, “Oh, noooooo, we jumped him!” to make my heart feel like it dropped out of my chest. But when we peeked over the hill and there he was in all his glory!
I didn’t know that he had a drop tine until we walked up on him. He didn’t have ground shrinkage at all … he had the opposite! He seemed to be growing right in front of me!
A neighbor had seen the deer on his cameras for a couple of seasons. I was covered head to toe in Scent-Lok Full Season, using a Hoyt CRX bow with NAP Apache stabilizer, Spot Hogg sight, Tru-Fire release and Victory arrows with NAP 100-grain Thunderheads. The buck grossed 183 7/8 and was 175 net on the green score, with no sign of being in the peak of the rut.
What an amazing feeling! What an amazing hunt!