After a good night’s sleep I awoke at 4 a.m. feeling rested and recuperated. Since none of the big bucks showed their antlers at the first farm, I decided that a change of scenery was in order. With a gut feeling and quite a bit of deliberation on my part, I opted to hunt another piece of property 15 miles to the east. Why I chose that farm instead of the other three areas is still a mystery, but I’m glad that I did. Sometimes gut feelings do pay off.
Arriving a full hour and a half before first light, I started to make my way to my tree in the dark. I inched my way along the edge of the field until I reached the point where I had to enter the woods. I had a 90-yard trek through broken timber to reach my stand, which made things a little tricky. I didn’t want to spook any deer on my walk in so I was being extra careful not to snap twigs or create any alarming noises along the way.
Mission accomplished! It was 6:15 a.m. when I reached my stand. I would perform this cat-like, tiptoe act two more times before it was all said and done.
The stand sat on the southeastern, outside edge of a strip of timber that ran down the center of a horseshoe-shaped hayfield. The clearing that my stand overlooked was long and narrow, measuring approximately 40 yards wide by 400 yards long. As mentioned previously, numerous scrapes littered the field from one end to the other. It was classic rut sign; the type of sign that every bowhunter dreams of discovering. Little did I know then just how large a role those scrapes would play in the outcome of my success.
The weather was going to be perfect. The forecast called for daytime highs to reach the upper 50s with a cloudless sky and steady winds blowing in from the north. As the morning light slowly began to filter through the woods, I noticed that several of the scrapes had been worked over. Hopefully one of the big bucks that were frequenting the area would come back for more. It wasn’t long before an answer to my silent wish suddenly materialized.
At 8:00 a.m. a flash of light some 400 yards away caught my eye. As I brought my Pentax binoculars up, I pointed them northward and dialed in on the object. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There, standing in the wide open during broad daylight, was one of the biggest whitetail bucks I have ever seen in the wild. What a sight! What a monster! He was another basic frame 10-pointer with tall tines and extremely long main beams. His rack was bone-white with heavy, eye-popping mass. I conservatively estimated that he would score somewhere in the high 160s.
I watched in awe as he calmly raked his antlers through the limbs of an overhanging branch and worked a scrape. The only problem with the situation was the 400 yards that separated my broadhead from reaching his boiler room. I tried to draw him closer by reproducing the sounds of a rutting buck with my grunt tube. At one point I did get his attention, but he generally ignored my pleas. He then disappeared into the woods to the north just as quickly as he appeared.
I sat for the rest of the day in the same spot in hopes of him returning, but the big boy remained elusive. However, I did enjoy a steady flow of deer activity throughout the day, which made for a pleasant sit. I was even fortunate enough to observe a skulking bobcat dangling a freshly killed squirrel from its mouth during midday. So all things considered, it was a good day to be a bowhunter. I lowered my bow and climbed down from my stand at 7:15 p.m. Time on stand: 13 hours.
Stay Tuned For Day 4