I’ve seen photos of whitetails with double drop-tines, but now one is speed walking right for my shooting lane. His nose is inches off the ground, and I can read his intentions: Find a hot doe.
Keep it together; you can do this. I’ll draw my bow when he pauses at the fresh scrape just 15 yards from my stand. No! He’s ignored the scrape. Quick, invent Plan B. You can’t shoot if you don’t draw … time’s running out … draw!
I’ve found my anchor point and my 15 yard pin is swinging left to right, tracking the buck’s chest. But he’s moving too fast … gotta stop him. GRUNT. Without breaking stride, he quickly glances toward the thick brush beside the trail and then kicks it into second gear away from the heavy cover. Game over.
I can’t believe I tried a grunt sound. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It’s November 9, and instincts told the whitetail that a more dominant buck was nearby. Instead, I should’ve made a less threatening doe bleat. Think positive: It’s only 8:40 a.m., and he might return later.
I’m not going to lie to you and say the only deer I’ll shoot during this 9-day bowhunt is this double drop-tine buck. My wife, Jodi, and I have heard rumors of this particular deer from neighboring land owners, but this is the first time either of us has seen him. Our four scouting cameras should be shooting images today, and with any luck we’ll have some great shots of this distinctive deer, as well as several other big bucks.
You can’t kill ’em from the couch, so I’m sitting in this tree stand until the law says I have to quit. It’ll be a long sit—8 1⁄2 more hours—but I packed a lunch and feel good about my chances. And who knows, this buck might make a mistake and walk by Jodi’s treestand, too. The way I figure it, we’re double trouble for Mr. Double Drop.
Round Two … And Three
The day is flying by due to consistent deer movement. I’ve already passed on a couple young 4x4s because I know bigger bucks will eventually roll through this river bottom. Patience pays.
There he is again! Double Drop is chasing a doe and her fawn across the creek. From 150 yards, he looks awesome, almost as awesome as he did at 15 yards early this morning. Unfortunately, he’s not heading in my direction, and now he’s out of sight. At least he’s still in the area. Watch check: 2:30 p.m.
Small bucks, does and fawns continue to keep me company as the sun works its way to the west. Will Double Drop show himself a third time today? Hard to say. One thing I do know for sure is my backside is killing me. The measly 1⁄2-inch-thick foam “pad” on this tree stand’s seat wasn’t designed for all-day vigils.
Well, well, well … my buck has returned a third time. He’s 200 yards away and harassing a doe feeding in a meadow. That’s it … keep coming this way, mister. Nope, he’s turning south toward the thickest patch of bedding cover on our 160-acre property. He’s still searching for a hot doe. Watch check: 4:40 p.m.
Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be a repeat of today. Will the hunting be as good?
I’ve seen a few small bucks and some does and fawns this morning, but nothing compared to yesterday from this same stand. Time to throw the deer a curve ball; I’ll move to a spot a 1⁄4-mile to the east.
I’m in my east treestand and wondering how hunting can go from being so hot one day to so cold the next. Finally there’s a buck far to the north of me. He’s only a 3×4, but it sure beats staring at squirrels. He’s heading east, maybe toward …
Double Drop! He’s slipped in from the south and is only 25 yards away, heading right down the pipe. Grab your bow off its hanger and draw; move fast; don’t let him see you; move fast!
He’s walking at a good clip, but there’s no way I’m grunting at him this time. Should I bleat? No. You can do this … swing the pin with him and shoot. Swing. Swing. Release!
I hit him too far back; I blew it. He’s bolted across the creek and stopped in a thicket. Wait a second, now I can’t see him. God, it’s thick over there. Concentrate. You need to see which way he goes.
Watch check: I have 30 minutes of hunting time left. I can’t see Double Drop. Did he slip out of the thicket while I was checking my watch?
I’ve waited 20 minutes since the shot and am now holding the arrow. The blood looks good; maybe I hit him better than I first thought. Think positive. Trust your instincts. There’s good blood on the ground, and good blood on the brush, too. There’s where he crossed the small creek. Walk slowly now, maybe he’s hurt bad enough you’ll get a follow-up shot.
This has to be the thicket where he first stopped. I should’ve jumped him by now.
Double Drop! He’s lying out of sight from my treestand, but had never left the thicket. And even though the excitement in my brain and in my heart makes me want to scream to the heavens, I hold his distinctive rack, close my eyes and listen to the nearby creek. There will be plenty of time later to celebrate with family and friends.
This is a time to pay respect.