Hi Mike: My husband, Joe, and I had been planning the October 15th weekend as “our hunting weekend.” We lease some land with 2 other families about 1 1/2 hours from our hometown in Iowa, so we decided to rent a cabin down there and hunt Saturday night and Sunday morning.
We headed down about 2 p.m and were in our stands by 4:00. Joe’s stand is about 600 yards from mine, so he drops me off on the 4-wheeler first and up I go.
It was a very warm evening and I guess I really didn’t expect to see much, which I didn’t, not even a squirrel. I had prayed several times that evening, “God, please send me something to look at and maybe something to shoot. A doe, a buck, doesn’t matter, just something.”
I’m pretty sure I said one more prayer, and at 6:25 p.m. this buck walks into my area and stands in front of me about 8 feet. I had not seen anything all evening so I was not prepared for this! I didn’t even see him come in until he was right in front of me.
Luckily, he had no idea I was even there. While his head was down I took the opportunity to stand up. I wasn’t positive I was going to shoot him as I could only see the side of his rack, which didn’t look like much.
As I positioned myself better on my feet, the zipper on the bottom of my pants clanked against the metal on my stand. He looked right up at me! I had my bow positioned in front of my face and I froze. I thought, great, he’s gone, but at the same time I was awestruck by what I couldn’t see before– the size of that rack!
Well, he decided I wasn’t much to look at so he put his head back down and continued eating. He was quartered to me so I knew this would be a tough shot but I had to try. I drew back and waited for him to take 2 more steps out from behind the few tall weeds and then I let it fly.
The arrow hit him hard and he let out a hard grunt, then turned and ran the way he came in. I watched him as far as I could, which wasn’t far, as the woods are thick. After I lost sight of him I sent my husband the “buck down” text. He still had daylight and hadn’t seen a thing so he waited until dark to come help me.
I waited for about 5 minutes and got down to look for my arrow and blood. Much to my disappointment I didn’t find either. I searched and searched, nothing. My husband finally came; we searched and searched, still nothing. I was so disappointed. We decided we’d go to the cabin, come back in the morning, hunt until 9:00 and then look for him again.
We left our hunting ground and about 1/4 mile up the gravel road, boom, we hit a cow! Smashed the whole side of our truck. Great, this night was only getting worse. After dealing with the sheriff and the cow’s owner for about 2 hours we finally headed to the cabin. Sleeping was not high on my list as I couldn’t stop thinking about what went wrong with that shot. I knew I hit him hard–why wasn’t there anything to follow?
The next morning we get to our stands about 6:30 a.m. My trail camera always has does on it around 8:30 a.m. so I was hopeful. I said my prayers and waited. 8:30 came around, no does, no nothing. We hunted until 9:00 a.m. and neither of us saw a thing. We met back at my stand and prepared for the search of my buck from the night before.
About 250 yards from my stand is a pond. We decided to follow the “rule of the search” and head that direction. Now that direction means it is straight downhill with very deep ravines. I found the trail that I was pretty sure he came up on so I decided to follow that.
I veered from the trail when I realized it was not going down to the pond. As I got deeper down the ravine I noticed what I thought was a big rock down at the pond. Could that be him? No surely not, it’s probably a big rock. I got within 20 yards of that “rock” and couldn’t believe there was this huge buck lying there! I seriously thought he was asleep and really didn’t think it was the one I shot.
I yelled at Joe, who was up on top of a hill from me. He said, “Don’t move, that’s your buck!” I looked through my binoculars and sure enough there was the hole from my arrow!
For the next 2 hours we proceeded to get him out of there. That was not an easy task. We had to drag him with the winch from the 4-wheeler backwards back up to the top with one of us holding his head and neck off the ground to protect his awesomeness. Once at the top we were able to load him on the 4 wheeler (catching a tine in the brand new seat and ripping a hole, what else could go wrong) and proceed slowly for the next 600 yards through the thick woods to the truck. Finally loaded, we headed home!
Thinking back, there was a reason we never saw any other deer on the hunt. God knew this buck would be all we could handle for the weekend and He was right.
This buck cost us a lot, but we will definitely never forget our “October 15th Weekend Hunt.” And he was worth it all. Thanks for sharing, Marianne.
Great buck and great hunting story…the trials and tribulations that we go through sometimes to get a buck are amazing, but after all these years nothing that happens in the woods surprises me anymore. Way to go Marianne and Joe!