The weekend before the season opener, I checked the game cameras and to my surprise there were several nice bucks on camera. There was a real wide eight point and a tall racked eleven point that were showing up consistently at two different stands. I knew that I would hunt either one of these two stands in hopes of seeing one of them. Opening weekend was finally here so I loaded up the truck and made the 5,5 hour drive to the lease. Our lease is located twelve miles south-east of San Saba Texas along the Colorado River.
Opening morning I found myself standing on the front porch of the cabin trying to determine which stand I would hunt. The wind was blowing gently from the Northeast and that made my decision easy. I would hunt the stand we call The Point because it is located on the edge of a field where the brush creates a funnel along the edge of the field. The deer like to travel through this area because they can cross the field with minimal exposure. Grabbing my bow and backpack I jumped in the Mule and headed out of camp.
Parking the Mule on the edge of the field, I slipped quietly thru the brush to my tripod that was nestled in some cedars and live oaks. Once I got settled into my stand, I realized just how still and quite it was going to be this morning. Under the cover of darkness, deer began to move in the brush around me. I heard that familiar sound of clinking rocks as deer traversed the rocky ground. As the darkness began to fade, I was able to see there were quite a few deer feeding all around the stand. There were several does with fawns, and a couple of small bucks but neither one of the bucks on the trail camera were among them. At 7:30am, I was looking across the field when I noticed movement on the edge of the brush line. Several does and small bucks were working their way through the brush right down the funnel straight to my stand. At the back of this group I saw a nice buck. I grabbed my binoculars and as I focused in on him, I realized it was the big eleven point. I was sure hoping he would keep working his way toward me like the rest of the deer. I lost sight of him in the brush for a few minutes and was not sure exactly where he had gone. Knowing that he was very close and could appear at any minute I decided to go ahead and get ready in case an opportunity presented it self. After 15 minutes, I caught some movement just to my left. As I turned to investigate I realized he had slipped up the fence line from behind me. He jumped over the pasture fence and was heading straight toward my shooting lane. I quickly checked on the other deer around to ensure I would be able to draw undetected. After determining the coast was clear, I drew my bow and placed my sight pin right behind the bucks shoulder. I squeezed the release trigger and the arrow made a complete pass through. The buck jumped and ran off behind the stand crashing in the dense cedar thicket.
After a short wait I went to retrieve my buck. The broadhead had done a good job and there was no tracking needed for this one. He ran only 40 yards before expiring. I could not believe that after bow hunting for seventeen years, I had finally gotten lucky enough to bag such a nice trophy on opening morning.
Now that I was done trophy hunting it was time to look for a good management buck. I try to find an old buck that is well past his prime and take him as my management buck for the year. I had seen one buck on camera that appeared to be a good buck to go after, but I was going to have to see him in person before I could determine his age. After three more days of hunting, I finally saw him early one morning. He was definitely an older buck with a huge body with a nice but diminishing set of antlers. He did not give me an opportunity to take a shot as he was very cautious and extremely alert. I knew this was going to be a tough buck to get. I decided the best thing to do would be to set up my Double Bull ground blind along the trail that I saw him come in and out of that morning. Thinking maybe I could catch him off guard as he made his way back and forth from his bedding to feeding areas. This plan was going to be my best bet at getting a shot at this old and wise buck. I spent the afternoon trying to find the perfect spot to put up the blind. I found some good cover in a cedar brake and brushed in the blind so all that you could see was my shooting window. I knew if he saw one bit of that blind the hunt would be over. The afternoon hunt was uneventful as I did not see the buck that evening. The next morning I slipped into the blind well before sunrise because I wanted to give the area plenty of time to quite down before the deer started moving. The blackness of night began turning to that early morning gray when I started hearing some deer walking up from behind the stand. Several does and small bucks came out and began feeding. A few minutes later the deer scattered and I thought my hunt was done. Maybe they smelled me or got spooked by the blind?
No, they had not spooked. They were making way for the old buck that had come in and began to feed. It was still too dark to see my sight pins clearly so I just sat there and waited. After a few minutes had passed, I could see my pins well enough to make a shot. I raised my bow and began to draw. The buck looked up at some deer in the brush and just walked off down the trail. Disappointment and doubt about my decision to wait so long for good light filled my mind, but I knew I had made the right decision. I did not want to take a chance at wounding him by rushing my shot. Another few minutes passed and I noticed some deer moving through the cedar brake about fifty yards from my blind. He had made a big circle downwind of the stand and was coming back down the trail in front of my blind. I quickly got ready to take a shot as soon as he was in my shooting lane. I got drawn back and waited for him to close the distance. He stopped at twenty-two yards and I settled the pin right behind his shoulder. I released the arrow and the Grim Reaper broadhead found its mark. He turned and disappeared into the dense cedar brush. Wow, I could not believe my plan had worked. After a short wait, I began to take up the trail. Even with a good double lung shot I had to trail him for some distance before I found him. Once back at camp, I hoisted him up on the scales. He weighed in at 174lbs! He was by far the biggest bodied deer I have ever taken. What a awesome week of hunting! What was shaping up to be a dismal year for hunting turned out to be one of my best ever! This is why it is important to never give up no matter what the circumstances. You never know what might happen when sitting out in the deer stand. It just might be the best hunt of your life!