Guest Post by John Eggenberger
- Land Type – Public
- Bow – Browning
- Time in Stand – 60 Minutes
November 11, 2005
After getting my kids got on the school bus it was 8:11am before I got into my tree stand, well after shooting light. With a 10:30 meeting at work I knew I’d only have an hour and a half to hunt – but it was the rut and anything can happen. Fortunately, there was a small chunk of public land not too far from work that made it nice to slip in for such short hunts.
My stand was in an old, dead tree that didn’t offer much cover. It was, however, in a position to take advantage of a small finger of cover that deer used as a travel corridor. It was also fairly close to the parking area. After I’d been in my stand 10 or 15 minutes I did a little calling but nothing showed up. A bit later I decided to do a little rattling. After rattling I grabbed my bow, stood up and glanced at my watch, it was just after 9. A few minutes later I heard something that didn’t sound like one of the million squirrels that were around me.
As it got closer, moving quickly, I was certain that it wasn’t a squirrel. Over my right shoulder I finally saw movement; a deer. Then I could see it was a buck, moving right toward my tree. When it was 6 yards away it stopped. Since I was obscured only by some light brush, I couldn’t move, nor did I have a clear shot. It looked around, even looking right up at me, but didn’t even seem to notice me. I could only see one antler and although the beam looked decent I didn’t notice many points. Then it moved to its right, away from me, and after several steps took a sharp left turn.
As it passed behind a tree I drew. After a few steps it was in a shooting lane 14 yards away. As if on cue, it stopped, quartering away. The bow was already drawn so I settled the pin on the vitals and released the arrow. The deer jumped a little, took one leap and then walked slowly away. The shot looked a tiny bit back and the deer’s reaction caused me some concern for a brief moment. Then, as it walked I began seeing a LOT of blood pumping out and felt better.
When it was 30 yards out it stopped and I could hear air coming in/out of the entry/exit wounds. It continued bleeding very badly. The buck walked about 15 more yards, stopped and fell down. Then it got up, which scared me. However, it took only one or two steps and fell down again. It simply laid there, no thrashing, and its head slowly lowered. Wow. I looked at my watch, 9:11 – exactly one hour from when I got settled into my stand.
After waiting a few minutes I got down, took down my stand and climbing sticks, hid them and then picked up a couple scent canisters I had put out. When I picked up the arrow, which I could see from my stand, only the front 2/3 was there. Even though I could see the deer, I followed the blood trail. At one point I couldn’t believe how wide the swath of blood was so I paced it off – 5 steps. That thing was spurting blood 2-3 yards on both sides – no wonder he didn’t go far. When I got to the deer I was delighted to see a beautiful 8 point rack. The other end of the arrow was on the ground right next to the deer and it must have been hanging on by a thread.
After a quick gutting job I lugged it out of the woods – thank the Lord is was a short, mostly downhill drag. My hunting vehicle was a Ford Taurus so I struggled to get the big-bodied buck into the trunk and made it to work at 10:35. Not a bad way to start the day. Too bad about the arrow, though. This buck was the third deer this arrow has killed, all bucks. The other two were perfect pass through shots. I saw all of these deer go down.
After processing the deer I cleaned off one of the jaw bones and asked some reputable and experienced hunters to estimate the deer’s age based on tooth wear. One said 3 ½, one said 5 ½ and most said 4 ½. Its body size, grey muzzle and Roman nose all point to a mature animal. While I didn’t weigh the buck it was certainly one of the two heaviest I’ve ever gotten. So, even when you only have a short time to hunt, get out there! Anything can happen, especially during the rut.
- Years Hunting – 25+
- Fun Fact – Owns his own business