Story of My Best Archery Buck

crucible02

Senior Member
A little backstory: An older couple in our church had a 60+ acre farm in our county. Last year, toward the end of the season, the husband called me and asked if I’d like to hunt their land. Of course, I said “Yes!” Sadly, as a pastor, December is quite a busy month and I was only able to hunt twice, killing a nice doe on Christmas Eve.

Fast forward to this year… I have cameras out and some nice bucks… but then I get the dreaded call - they sold the land. Needless to say I was heartbroken. I started hunting at age 26 in 2009 and have been blessed to take some nice bucks but none that I would consider mature. Well, I knew this property gave me my best chance at a mature buck.

So, I set about to take down my stands and cameras when I had a chance run-in with the new owner. We talked a while and seemed to connect well. Little did I know, the former owner and member of my church told the new owner I was his pastor and had been hunting the land. Next thing I know, the new owner calls me and offered to let me continue to hunt with a few stipulations: Archery only and to let him know when I’m coming. I agreed, signed a liability waiver and got to work!

I hunted a few times and had a nice 8 skunk me opening weekend of archery. On Saturday, October 14, I was supposed to be watching my 3 year old while the wife went to an event… but the event got cancelled and she suggested I go hunting. Don’t have to tell me twice… I grabbed my gear and jetted off to the woods. I have a climber on this bottom that is a honey hole but the wind was off. So I went to my second best spot on a hardwood ridge along a creek running down to a lake. I had a climber there but when I arrived, I decided on a whim to move the stand a little closer to a place where the deer cross the creek quite frequently.

I find a nice tree and set to climbing. I get to 20 or so feet and settle in. Hours go by with no activity. I spent most of the time studying my sermon for the next morning. I was really starting to second guess my decision to hunt that spot when I noticed a doe cross the creek further up the way. Had I not seen her, I wouldn’t have been ready for what happened next. Suddenly, I see a much larger body step out of the woods behind her but turn to walk the creek edge toward me… I knew he was a good buck simply by his body mass but couldn’t make out his rack very well. I decided no matter what, I would shoot him if he gave me the chance.

He continued down the creek bank and came to the crossing. But instead of coming across, he turned like he would go the other way and around the lake. He paused… but then turned facing me as if he was considering which way to go.

After what felt like an eternity, he made his way to the creek, took a quick sip of water, and came across and up the bank, turning right to ease up the hill into the hardwoods. I was standing at this point with bow in hand. When his head went behind some leafy branches in my way, I drew back and waited. As soon as he cleared the limbs, I sent an arrow 18 yards down through his torso and buried the arrow in the ground beneath him. He kicked and ran and I knew I had him.

I waited until dark and climbed down with adrenaline still coursing through my body. I still don’t know how I got down that tree.

I eased over and checked the arrow. Blood from nock to broadhead. Blood on the ground.

I made the decision to work my way up the ridge a bit since the blood trail was quite clear. But when I crested the hill and did not see him lying there, I really got concerned.

I began a track again and the more I walked… the more nervous I got. He should have been dead already… I should’ve found him by now… but I continued on a circuitous journey from ridge to bottom to field to logging road… Id lose blood and then find it again… specks and buckets… no in between it seemed.

As I eased my way up the logging road, I caught white in the light of my high beam… there he was… 20 yards away… in a stand of loblobby pines.

I was filled with mixed emotions… but I was excited that I had a buck on the ground for the first time 4 years… that I just shot my best archery buck… that he was my first truly mature buck…

I’ll save the rest of the story except to say… I preached with a next level of confidence and excitement the next morning haha!

My taxidermist aged him at 4.5-5.5 and over 200 lbs on the hoof.

If you’re still reading… I’m thankful to the Good Lord for the privilege of chasing these fine creatures and I pray I never take lightly what a gift it truly is. God bless you all and happy hunting!
 

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basshappy

BANNED
@crucible02 thank you for taking your time to share this part of the adventure. What a story! I hope you continue with the story in same detail - first thoughts beside him, the recovery did you process in place or move him and how, etc.
 

Worley

Senior Member
Great buck, enjoyed the read as well —-congratulations sir!
 

Jim Boyd

Senior Member
Good stuff right there!
 

crucible02

Senior Member
@crucible02 thank you for taking your time to share this part of the adventure. What a story! I hope you continue with the story in same detail - first thoughts beside him, the recovery did you process in place or move him and how, etc.
First thoughts when I found him… THANK GOD!!! I just kept saying over and over… “Thank you, Jesus!” I had been praying the whole track job that God would help me find him and He did. I believe it whether anyone else does or not.

Seeing how big he was, I knew I would need some help getting him out. I called my hunting buddy who quickly jumped in the truck and came right over. When he got out of the truck, I could make out the cheesy grin on his face. He was just as excited as me! Can’t beat a friend like that!

We high-fived, hugged and got the buck set to take some pics. His wife is a photographer and I think he’s learned well. Got some great pics for me.

Then the work began… He held the front legs while I gutted him. Thankfully, because he was on the logging road, I was able to drive the truck all the way to him! Literally dragged him 20 yards out of the pines.

We lifted him into the truck, I shared the rest of the story, hugged again and headed home with my trophy! That drive was pure joy. I didn’t care that it was crazy late at this point or that I had to get up early for church. God had blessed me and I was going to take it all in.

When I got him home, I pulled the truck into the back yard, pulled him up on my makeshift skinning rack, skinned him, boned him out and got him on ice.

By the time I finished everything, got a shower and crawled in bed, it was after 1 AM. Took an eternity to fall asleep as I laid in bed scrolling through the pictures.

Had a taxidermist friend of mine do a euro Mount for me which he had back in a couple weeks… now he proudly hangs in my office with my first archery buck on a 100-year-old piece of wood from an old corn crib.

Haven’t had a shot at another good one yet but if I never get it this season, that one Buck will still have made this year a success in my book!

Also… shoutout to my buddy Alex Farmer and Dry Bones Skull Mounts in Newnan, GA. If you need a euro done for any animal, he will take care of you!
 
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Timberbeast

Senior Member
What a cool buck and an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. Looks like you made a great shot. He’s just a tough ole warrior! Can’t wait to hear about the next one.
 
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