Bowhunting's Favorite Fall Moment

Bowhunting's Favorite Fall Moment

In life, there are just some "firsts" you never forget — your first kiss, your first job, your first car. For those of us who hunt, I think it's pretty safe to assume your first really big buck is somewhere on that life list of unforgettable moments.


My big-buck moment came in September 2009 during an early-season bowhunt outside Kirksville, Mo. At the time, it had been less than a year since I assumed the editor's role at Petersen's BOWHUNTING, so the 2009 season marked the first time I was able to take advantage of newfound opportunities to chase big, Midwestern whitetails. Prior to that, the vast majority of my deer hunting had occurred in my home state of Pennsylvania, and while I had put plenty of whitetails on the ground, there wasn't a whopper in the bunch.



Needless to say, I carried sky-high expectations for what the Show-Me State would show me. During the first two days of the hunt, however, every archer in camp saw a shooter except me! And after a slow morning on day three, I was getting antsy.


That's when I caught my big break. One of the other hunters in camp — someone who had several close encounters with shooter bucks but was unable to get a shot — had to head home early to deal with some work commitments. Call me an opportunist, but I graciously "volunteered" to occupy that hunter's stand that afternoon!


Around 3:00 p.m., I climbed into a ladder stand set along the edge of a large clover plot where some big bucks had been making regular evening appearances. In addition to the clover, the large white oak where the stand was set was dropping bushels of acorns, making the setup absolutely ideal. I wasn't surprised when I saw a steady stream of deer and turkeys visit the plot that afternoon. It was clearly a great spot, and with any luck, one of the big boys would show up before nightfall.

A little after 7:00 p.m., I was watching a medium-sized 8-pointer to my left when the buck suddenly stopped feeding, raised his head high and stared past me at something coming from the bottom end of the plot. I slowly turning my head and was awed by the sight of the largest buck I had ever seen from a stand to that point in my life. My body was instantly supercharged by a rush of adrenaline, and I reached for my rangefinder as the big buck made his way steadily toward the smaller 8-pointer; a path that would take him directly past my stand.

With the buck now standing at 25 yards, I drew my bow, gapped the 20- and 30-yard pins and released a perfect shot that sucked right into the crease behind his front shoulder. The buck sprinted across the food plot, crashed into the woods on the opposite side and then'¦silence.

I radioed back to camp for some tracking assistance, and as I sat there waiting for the others to arrive, I realized my perspective on deer hunting had changed forever. If there was a big-buck club, I had just joined it; the bar had been forever raised.

We found my heart-shot prize 120 yards from the stand. The majestic buck sported 14 points, tipped the scales at 210 pounds (live weight) and scored 157 2/8 gross — easily my best ever.

In the three-plus years since that hunt, I've had many more opportunities to chase big bucks and even killed a few. But there's just something special about the first time you can never duplicate.

Recommended for You

Podcasts

Still Going Strong

October 28, 2010

Related Stories> Ted Nugent Talks About His New Book> Mule Deep In The Backcountry>

Recipes

Venison Bao Buns Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Create your own fluffy, Chinese-style bao buns at home with this recipe! Fill them with...

Whitetail

Hidey-Hole Whitetail Food Plots

Brad M. Mormann & Dr. Grant R. Woods

Light up a buck's taste buds while drawing him in for a close shot.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

How-To

Summer Scouting Spectacular

Bill Winke - July 17, 2019

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!

ATA Show

Top New Arrows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show!

How-To

4 Steps to Perfect Broadhead Flight

Bowhunting Online Staff

Going from field tips to broadheads requires arrow tuning on a higher plane. Good...

See More Stories

More Stories

Stories

Brett Keisel: From the Gridiron to the Treestand

Emily Kantner - July 27, 2017

Former Steelers DE Brett Keisel shares why bowhunting has become his passion.

Stories

Bowhunting's Favorite Fall Moment

Christian Berg - August 16, 2013

In life, there are just some "firsts" you never forget—your first kiss, your first job,...

Stories

What Game Animal Gets You Fired Up?

Bill Winke - July 16, 2013

Question: As a guide, I am in the woods either hunting or guiding about 100 plus days a year....

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×