Birthday Buck: From my Wife’s Stand
By: Donnie
Nov. 20, 2005

I really enjoy going to the lease with my wife and kids, but it has almost been a tradition in our family for Dad to go to the lease, camp-out and hunt without the family…my birthday hunt.

The weekend of November 18th was no exception, so I loaded up and headed to the lease.

Friday evening I loaded up my gear and headed south to the “ranch.” After unloading all my gear and getting my sleeping quarters in order I cooking up a warm meal and later turned in for the night.

Saturday morning the alarm clocked sounded like a firehouse alarm at 4:30AM. I have to admit 4:30AM is to early for anyone having to get up, but when it comes to being heading for the woods I always seem to find the energy to rise out of the bed without hitting our snooze button.

As I rose from the warm sleeping bag I could feel the morning air was as cool as a meat market cooler. I figured the weather would be perfect for the deer to be out in full force this morning and I couldn’t wait to hit the trail and perch myself in one of the tree stands.

As I was getting dressed I was pondering which stand to hunt out of this morning. I was going to head up to the top of the ranch about 2 miles from camp, so I added a couple of extra layers of cloths under my camo I eased out and gathered my gear, loaded the 4-wheeler and headed out into the darkness.

The cold air was brutal on my lungs with every breath I took on the way down the winding trails on my 4-wheeler. As I cruised on the dark trails I decided to hunt one of my wife’s stands that we just set up a week earlier. I reached the big oak tree that we planned on parking our 4-wheeler at and quickly dismounted, packed up my gear grabbed my red LED light (Bowlight by Tactical Device Corp.) and I walked towards the stand.

I cut my trip about 1-1/2 miles shorter so when I arrived at the stand I was in for a longer wait on the sun to peek over the horizon. No worries! I enjoy sitting quietly in the dark and listing to the pre-dawn sounds, trying to make out the dark silhouettes around and wondering if that was something that moved or my eyes playing games with me.

Not long after getting settled in to the stand I herd sounds below of deer crunching on some corn that I had scattered about. I still couldn’t see anything moving about since the canopy of trees blocked all faint lighting from the moon and the sun that began to peer over the horizon.

The moon slowly fell and the sun began to rise. The pink and blue rays of light began to blossom bring the black of dark to a drab color. As this happened the birds began their morning chatter as if their alarm clock had sounded. Darkness was fading fast and the canvas of the wild began to display a perfect picture. The deer milling around on the dark floor began to take a more defined shape the birds few from their perch and I wasn’t so sleepy anymore.

 As I began focusing on the three deer that were feeding I head the barbwire fence creak. The sound of a deer crossing under the fence and rubbing the bottom strand across it’s back. I focus on a big oak tree, that shield the fence line, to try and get a glimpse of what was coming. More deer come to the area…does, and a couple of yearlings.

Hunting in the Hill County in late November is always a good time because this is when rutting activity is at its highest…just before and through Thanksgiving. I welcome the doe to come into my area during this time. Were there are does there will be bucks! This morning was like a textbook morning. After about 10 deer were congregated in the area a couple of bucks decided they needed to check out the ladies.

The first buck was a nice 8 pointer, mature and defiantly a shooter. The rack was respectable that looked like it would go 18” wide and the back tines were 10” long and some decedent mass for a hill country deer. I wanted to shoot him when he stood only 20 yards from me but I opted to pass. Geez, this was Tammy’s stand and I really couldn’t, didn’t want to, shoot this buck from her stand.

I enjoyed the outdoors show. The buck was checking (to see if the does were ready to be breed) the older does and running some of the younger ones. He was defiantly on a mission and he wasn’t bothered by anything! I have always heard the bucks get dumb during the rut…Well, YES they do!

This buck ran off chasing a young doe. As quick as he left another buck came in. This buck was a nice 7 pointer, mature and again a buck I would shoot. A little smaller than the first when it comes to antler size but defiantly a bigger bodied deer. I watched him doing a doe check as well. I decided I would shoot this buck if he stopped by the cactus that was 15 yards from the base of the stand.

The buck ran a big circle chasing a young doe and out about 50 yards. She stopped and he lip curled. It was really neat to see this action in the wild. The doe took off with the buck in tow. She turned and headed back to the main group of deer below me. She ran past the cactus and the buck stopped at the cactus. It was as if the Mother Nature herself told that but it was to stop there giving me a opportunity to shoot this buck.

I wasted no time…I drew my bow and after coming to full draw I anchored, settled the pin on his chest and released. The heavy aluminum arrow, tipped with a 100 gr. 4 bladed Magus Stinger broadhead, hit hard and blew right through him.

Animals scattered in all directions! I kept a visual on the buck until he got into a thicket to the south of the stand. I could see the arrow sticking up and it was covered with the dark red liquid fluid that we love to see coating our arrows. I knew this buck didn’t go far.

I was pumped up!!! I put my things together and lowered all my gear to the ground. I climbed from my perch still a little shaky and breathing heavy now. I picked up the arrow and it was drenched with blood.

I slowly followed the trial that the buck ran and there was the first sign of blood, only about 10 feet from where he was shot. I packed up my things and slowly tracked my prey.

I passed through the maze of branches and briar following the drops of blood. When the blood trail vanished I’d pick up the hoof prints and became trailing his steps. It was obvious by the way this buck’s hooves were dragging that he was dead; he just didn’t know it. I saw a bit of dirt that was turned over where the buck had stumbled and blood was smeared on the small saplings.

I continued on the trail of hoof prints and tiny spots of blood. I finally looked up, since he started on a straight line, and I could see the white underside of the deer and his antlers. I watched him for about 5 minutes and he lay motionless the entire time. When I got to him I knelt down to admire his beauty and said a prayer thanking the Lord for giving me the chance to shoot this magnificent animal. Once I was finished with my ritual, I loaded up my birthday buck and headed to the skinning tree.

Another fine weekend in the woods has ended but the memory will last forever.

My Gear:
Renegade NugeBow
Easton XX78 2315
Magnus Stinger Broadheads 100 gr. 4 blade
Kwikee Kwiver
Sidewinder Hip Quiver Adapter
Tactical Device BowLight