One November day bowhunter Don Kisky, Iowa expert and host of Whitetail Freaks on Outdoor Channel, left his Iowa farmhouse with 5 steps in his pocket and a small lock-on stand on his back. He’d been seeing little deer movement from his best stands the last few days, and it was time to change it up.
“When bucks are locked down with does and breeding them or getting ready to, many of them aren’t in their usual core areas anymore,” he says. “That’s why the woods seem to go dead in mid-November and your stands go cold. Many bucks and does are away from the main timber, out in a grassy ditch, brush pile, cedar clump or other out-of-the-way spot. They won’t move for several days, so find them and go to them. The bucks are so focused on their doe that their guard is down, and sometimes you can stalk super close and get a shot.”
Kisky climbed an oak tree that day, glassed the CRP ground for an hour and spotted a big 11-point curled beneath a cedar tree across a pasture. The buck, tongue lolling, looked exhausted from chasing and breeding his doe.
Kisky wasted no time bailing out of his makeshift observation post. He got the wind, stalked for nearly an hour, closed to within 20 yards, drew his bow, rose up over a grass patch and nailed the 162-incher.
Even when Kisky is sitting in one of his best tree stands and spots a buck tending or bedded with a doe, he doesn’t think twice about climbing down if the situation is conducive to a stalk.
“Most bowhunters that spot a buck with a doe like that are reluctant to move,” he says. “They sit there second-guessing and miss out on a golden opportunity. Look things over and make a plan. If the wind, terrain and cover are right for a stalk, don’t be scared to get out of your tree and go make it happen.”
Have you ever had the nerve to get down and stalk a buck?