Today’s guest blog is from Connor J. Chance-Ossowski, who shot this great buck on October 30 last year in south-central Nebraska:
My stand is located in dense woods on a transition point between a bedding and a feeding area. In 2013, I harvested a mature 4×4 out of the same stand on October 26th. It’s safe to say the last week of October is and will always be my favorite time to hunt.
I believe one weather condition—the first true cold front of the year—helped with my recent success. When a cold front occurs in this area in the fall, we typically get heavy fog and humidity, and cooler temperatures. This is when I’ve observed the first heavy rutting activity; the deer movement seems to pick up with the foggy conditions. This has happened the last two years during the last week of October, and I believe it has been a big part of why I’ve shot the two mature bucks out of this area.
Plus, who doesn’t love being in your tree stand with fog swirling around? I will always love these foggy conditions while I’m in a stand.
The temperature was in the mid-30s, with the fog and a light drizzle. I climbed into my stand around 4 o’ clock…7:29 was sunset on October 30. It wasn’t very long until I started to see rutting deer, the first rutting activity I had seen all year.
Around 5:15, two young bucks chased does around…then another buck came by…and they kept getting bigger…around 6pm, a mature 5×5 came to 30 yards, on a hot trot for a doe. I grunted to try to catch his attention, but nothing was going to get his mind off the hot doe. I couldn’t get a shot as the deer moved away.
I sat there frustrated, and turned my attention to a flock of 15-20 turkeys that were crossing the creek 125 yards to the south of my stand. Then I got an idea. I’d blow a series of challenging grunts on my Extinguisher call. Maybe I’d get the buck’s attention, and he’d turn around and come back my way.
As I grunted for about two minutes, I watched the turkeys. Suddenly they began to spook and fly, and I saw why. A big buck was coming on a dead sprint! He ran down the bank, crossed the creek and was coming up on my side. I had called in a different buck! And likely the largest I’ll ever get a crack at with my bow.
Once he got to my side of the creek, I gave another low grunt, and that is what he wanted to hear. It wasn’t a run and it wasn’t a walk, but the buck came on a confident, cocky trot on a path that led directly to my stand. I shook and tried to maintain focus. When he got to 15 yards, with his head hidden behind a small tree, I decided to pull back on my bow.
Just then the buck dipped his head out from behind the tree and looked directly up at me as I finished my draw. He and I had a stare down for a good 30 seconds. My heart was beating out of my chest, and I knew I had busted him. Whether it was luck or prayers answered, something got his attention, and he forgot about me just long enough to look and turn broadside. I released the arrow, and the rest is history.
It had happened so fast that all I knew about the buck’s rack was that the main beams curled around until they almost touched. I had not noticed the split brow tines on his right side, what would have been a triple left brow tine, or all of the points he ended up having. He had 19 countable points, 10 on his left side and 9 on the right. I could not believe the sight of those antlers when I laid my hands on them for the first time. He rough-scored 175 ¾”.
From the adrenaline that flowed through my veins the moment I saw the buck, to the time he crossed the creek, to staring into his eyes for 30 seconds, to finally getting off the shot… It will be a hunt I will never forget. And to top it off, I was lucky enough to have my father, who introduced me to the outdoors at an early age, there with me to share the moment and to help get the giant out of the woods.—Thanks, Connor
Great buck and awesome story. And there are some solid lessons here to remember for next season, as I have blogged about and said on TV many times:
–October 26-31 is one of the best weeks to bowhunt anywhere in North America, regardless of weather, moon phase, etc. In this “hard pre-rut” the mature bucks start to roam and look for does, and they are ready to fight.
–The first true cold front of October gets the deer moving; when the first front happens to occur the last week of October, bingo, conditions are perfect.
–Most hunters don’t grunt enough, especially in the pre-rut the last week of October and first week of November. During lulls in the action, try blowing a one or two-minute series of long and fairly loud “challenging grunts” from your stand, like Connor did that afternoon. You might pull in a buck looking for trouble.