My eyes were on the clock and 12:05 could not come fast enough. One class to go and I would be free for the weekend. Plans of getting in the deer stand that evening with a cold front approaching made the time go by even slower as class began to drag on. Finally, 12:05 hit and I hustled back to my apartment and took off for home. It had now been 3 weeks since the elk hunt and I was chomping at the bit to start chasing deer.
With an uncommon early season northeast wind, my plans had changed the day before and I would be sitting in a stand that I had never hunted. I always like hunting new spots, and I was excited to see what this spot had in store. I sat for a while and didn’t see or hear anything. It was a beautiful evening and I knew it was a matter of time before something would start moving. After a while I turned around to check my surroundings and noticed the top of a deer’s back sticking up over a patch of tall grass behind me about 100 yards away. It looked like a big body, but I could not tell for sure what exactly it was. The deer kept its head down and fed for a little longer before eventually picking up its head and revealing its white, massive 10-point rack a few moments later. Immediately my heart began to pound and I knew it was a deer that I wanted to release an arrow at if I was given the chance. I watched the lone buck feed for a few more minutes in the tall grass as he made his way towards the strip of trees that I was in. The buck had two choices once he got to the trees. He could walk east, the opposite direction of me, or he could take the trail west that came out into a clearing less than 20 yards from me. My hopes soon began to sink when I saw the buck angle east out of the grass away from my direction. Needless to say I was still very excited, I had already seen a shooter buck and there was still plenty of time left in the hunt.
I turned back around and sat facing forward with my bow resting on my lap. It was a perfect evening, the crisp air with the slightest breeze present really made it feel like fall was finally here. I sat for a few moments after the buck went out of sight and it wasn’t long before I heard a small twig snap in front of me. I could not see what made the noise since the view to the trail in front of me was blocked by a cluster of trees. I stood up slowly to see if I could get a better view of the trail, and if not see what made the noise, at least be ready if it was a shooter buck. When I stood up I saw one single tine through a small opening between the branches. I could not tell if it was a shooter, but knew it was definitely a buck. The deer took a few more steps and revealed more of its rack through a small opening. I knew exactly then that it was the same deer I had just seen walking away from me just a few minutes before. My heart began to pound and I knew he was going to give me an opportunity as he started to step into the clearing. I drew my bow as he stepped out from behind the tree and held my pin on him at full draw as he walked towards me. I kept my pin on him as he continued into the clearing. At 19 yards, the buck turned and stopped broadside and my pin was already on him. I took a couple of seconds to settle my pin and squeezed the shot off and watched my arrow disappear exactly where I was aiming.
The buck jumped and took a few strides, immediately I knew that he was not going far. The hole that was visible right behind his shoulder assured me that the shot had hit true. The buck ran for a few strides before stopping behind a cedar tree with only part of his hind-quarter visible to me. I noticed that he was starting to sway back and forth. “Go down right there” I whispered to myself. The buck took a few more steps and I saw one last flash of white just behind the tree and heard a loud crash. The buck was down not more than 40 yards from the tree. I couldn’t believe it! It all happened so fast, and everything came together perfectly. I sat my bow down on the seat and let it all soak in. It was a beautiful evening and what had already been an unforgettable season had just got even better. I thanked the good Lord for a quick clean kill and held tight for a few minutes. I climbed down from the tree and I was ready to go get my hands on this buck, I was beyond excited!
As I walked up to him, there was no ground shrinkage at all. He was a beautiful big-bodied, mature 10-point and no doubt one of my better bucks. I called my dad and told him the news and he was on his way to come get pictures and help me get him loaded. While I waited, I sat down by the fence and took it all in. It was a beautiful evening and I couldn’t have asked for more. My dad arrived a little while later and we took some pictures before loading up the buck to take him into town to hang. I told the story when we got back to town as we enjoyed elk burgers to cap off the day.
The next morning we butchered before celebrating the wedding of two good family friends and neighbors. Everything worked out perfectly and just like that the second leg of the super tag was complete! I drove back to school reflecting on the hunt, still in disbelief that the season had started off this way. Now the focus turned to the third leg, which I knew would without a doubt would be the toughest challenge of this tag, but that story is later to come!