Editor’s note: Don’t miss your chance to watch Pat Reeve on Deer Talk Now at noon Central tomorrow!
In November 2005, Pat Reeve was already well known in whitetail industry but had just started filming Driven 24/7, which morphed into today’s Driven TV. In one of his first hunts for the new show, Pat scored on the deer of a lifetime. Here’s the story, in an excerpt from the book Legendary Whitetails III.
It was 9:30 a.m., Nov. 14, 2005, and Pat was hunting west-central Illinois with Sugar Creek Outfitters. Cameraman Jim Musil was filming.
It was the second morning of their hunt, and the rut was in full swing. Pat had set up numerous stands on several farms, but he was determined to hunt a promising stand that he’d set in a wooded draw where he’d found some impressive sign. The wind had not cooperated on the first day, so Pat and Jim were forced to hunt another spot. The second day, the wind shifted, and Pat knew he would be able to hunt the stand.
He and Jim were in their double stands well before daylight, getting the camera gear set up. Just before good filming light, a small buck appeared in a nearby CRP field chasing a doe. Things were looking good. About an hour later, Pat saw some does across the ridge. They were acting strangely. Figuring that a big buck might be the reason for their strange actions, Pat made several tending grunts with his Hunter’s Specialties can call. Nothing happened for another hour.
Like many hunters in similar situations, Pat started second-guessing his stand location. Should he have been on top of the ridge instead of near the bottom? That question was answered moments later when he heard the unmistakable grunt of a mature buck and some rustling in the brush about 80 yards away.
“A doe suddenly came running out of the thicket and stopped,” Pat said. “After telling Jim that a buck was following her, I heard another grunt. While Jim was getting the camera into position, I was trying to see around a big tree that blocked my view.”
Jim saw the buck before Pat and whispered, “Shooter.” Then his eyes got big, and he whispered, “Monster.”
When the buck appeared from behind the tree, Pat was not prepared for what he saw. The next few seconds would change his life forever. Out stepped a massive 5-by-5 — the largest typical whitetail he had ever seen. As mentioned, he knew immediately the buck was a record-book contender.
“He was still about 60 yards away, walking toward us,” Pat said. “But then he started walking toward the doe. She was off to our left in a place where I couldn’t get a shot, and it looked like things might go bad on us.
“He was walking in a stiff-legged fashion like big bucks often do. He looked like he was actually trying to corral her into that thick area. He was now between us and the doe, and he started stamping his feet. I was getting nervous because I knew that if he pushed her into that thicket, they would almost certainly wind us.”
Pat said a prayer and tried to think about various scenarios that might occur.
“I had my bow up and ready for a possible shot,” he said. “All of a sudden, the doe looped around the buck and came running toward us. My prayer was answered. As she approached the tree we were in, she made a distinct coughing sound. He started trotting toward her. She came to a stop right under our stand. I focused on a shooting lane directly in front of the buck, moving my body slightly so I would be in position for the shot. But he went through the opening too quickly and I knew I couldn’t get a shot. I shifted my attention to the next shooting lane.”
When the buck stepped into a wider shooting lane 20 yards from the tree, Pat voice-grunted to stop him.
“After making sure Jim had the camera rolling, and after making sure my 20-yard pin was settled on the right spot behind his shoulder, I released my arrow,” he said. “I knew it was a good shot. He ran about 10 yards and stopped. The doe went tearing off. He stood there stamping his feet as if nothing had happened. Then he simply started walking away at a very slow pace. I grabbed my binoculars. I was relieved to see blood trickling down behind his shoulder. A second or two later, he went over. Jim captured the entire drama on video.”
Pat knew he had shot an enormous buck that would make B&C, but he had no idea the buck would gross more than 200 typical inches.
“When I reached the deer, I knew he was much larger than I originally had thought,” he said. “I had been around a lot of world-class deer, and I realized that my chance to take one had finally come. I can’t begin to describe the feeling. I was in a state of shock for a long time. God was really looking out for me on that one.”