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Patience Pays off for Will

October 4, 2012 by  
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I find early October a pretty tough time to kill a good whitetail especially on years like this when oaks are dropping everywhere. I generally concentrate the first two weeks of the month taking my boys, letting them shoot does for management, etc. They are 11 now, and neither wants to shoot little bucks, so they hammer does and pass the little guys. A few years ago, Drew lucked into a nice 19″ wide 9-point and killed it with a crossbow. Over the past 2 seasons, Will has passed on over 30 bucks waiting on a decent one. His patience has been ridiculous for a 9-11 year old.

This year, Steve Hartley, of Steve Hartley Outdoors, and I have been watching his trail cams religiously. A couple weeks ago, Dave Poteat from Inside Outdoor TV killed a 7.5 year old buck out of one of Steve’s ground blinds, and there was also a nice 10-pointer in the area. He was regularly coming in 15-35 minutes before dark, and Steve and I marked him for Will to hunt.

October 1 was the KY crossbow opener, but the wind was completely wrong for our setup. On October 2, we had the wind right, so I picked Will up at school, he changed into camo in the truck, and we were off to hunt. Within 30 minutes, 2 does came in. Will practiced looking through the scope, and we talked about shot placement. 45 minutes before dark, a small 8 point came in. We watched him, but he never considered shooting.

I had pretty well lost hope, but with 7 minutes of legal shooting time left, I saw a flash of white, and when I raised my Nikon EDG binos, I saw the 10-pointer standing about 45 yards back in the weed field. I told Will to get ready, and the buck slowly came into our opening. He was at only 18 yards, but he faced us straight on and began eating. This went on for about 5 minutes, and we were losing time. I made a few noises trying to get him uncomfortable enough to move, but no luck. Then he took 2 steps and was broadside.

I told Will to shoot, and he quickly did. There were literally 2 minutes of legal time left. I heard the bolt smack, the buck jumped and ran off. Then I heard nothing. We waited about 20 minutes, and Steve, Will and I took up the good blood trail. Within 50 yards, the buck got up, but he was wobbly as he departed. We backed out and decided to come back in morning. We figured that at the last second, he turned a step toward Will and was slightly quartering to. Steve and I agreed that it was probably one lung and liver.

On the way home, it was drizzling, and I was really worried that the blood trail would wash away, so I called Steve, and we decided the deer was likely dead and because of rain and a large coyote population on the property, we would go back and look. Friends Mike Hockensmith and Jason Tuttle graciously went with us, but a lot of help was not needed. We found tons of blood, and Steve found the buck within minutes, stone dead.

The shot would have been a perfect heart shot had the buck been broadside, but as we thought, he must have turned a step or two toward us. The Rage broadhead took out a lung and liver, and I am sure he was dead on his feet after we jumped him. I called home, and Will was ecstatic.

The 10-pointer was one we had tons of trail cam photos of, but oddly, both his G-4’s were sheered off at the same spot. In velvet he was in tact, but lately we have seen these sheered tines. I think maybe he ran into a wire or something while they were in velvet and clipped them off as it is a straight line across and both are even. Anyway, he is a great buck for an 11-year old. I just wish KY would open crossbow, at least for youth, when regular archery starts. It would be great for getting kids into bowhunting and give them a real chance at a decent time in the season.

Special thanks to Steve Hartley Outdoors. Steve came through for the Herald’s again!

Hunt hard…Tim H.

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