January/February 2013 EBJ (Issue 75) - Finally, it happened. We found out who had drawn tags. My dad, brother and I had all drawn out. The search for the perfect buck began.
I was driving only a few miles from home during midsummer when I spotted some bucks in a hayfield off the side of the road. I turned to my girlfriend and said, "Now that’s a big buck!” We raced home and got my dad and my binos to go back for a better look. After glassing for a few minutes, we found one nice three-point and one huge four-point. After that, the real searching began.
We started off by getting permission to hunt the property. I then started setting up my four trail cameras. I set up two to try and get pictures of the bucks we just saw and two out in other spots to make sure I knew where all the deer were going. After months of searching and observing their habits we found that the big bucks only came out right before dark, leaving only a small window to do anything with them. We found some good trails so we started setting up our homemade tree stands a week before the hunt started. Not one deer would go near them for the first few days but they soon got used to the stands being there.
Opening morning finally came. I cannot express the excitement I had, even though I knew I would be sitting for hours. When I got to the stand I started climbing up and the weld on the bottom step broke. A clashing metal-onmetal sound rang out. All I could think was, "Oh man, I hope that didn’t scare everything off!”
I didn’t see anything for the first hour, but soon fawns and does began to emerge. Sadly, there were no bucks with them. After a disappointing morning in the stand I got a text from Dad saying to climb down and walk out. He scooped me in the truck and after driving for a couple minutes we saw some bucks not far off in the corn field. There was a small four-point in the bunch but I passed him up, hoping I would get a chance at the big-four point we had scouted during the summer.
My girlfriend Taylor joined us on the night hunt. We didn’t see much at first, but thirty minutes before dark the deer started coming out everywhere. We spotted the big four-point sneaking out of the cornfield and made a plan. I would go to the other side of the cornfield and Dad would try pushing them through to me.
The plan didn’t work. The big fourpoint came just to the edge of the field but didn’t show himself. I could hear him but couldn’t see him. I did my best to put a sneak on but he busted out of the corn and ran too far to risk a shot. I spent the next week at home working and wondering if someone was going to shoot the big one.
The weekend hunt finally arrived and I was ready. My dad and I spent Friday morning driving around. After not seeing much that morning we were getting ready to leave when a nice fourpoint, a couple little bucks, and some does came out across the road in front of us. I decided to put a quick stalk on the four-point. I crept close and drew back using my 30-yard pin. I took the shot. I knew I had hit a rock by the way it sounded. My dad told me he was a nice buck, probably 28 inches wide. I was bummed out that I missed. I spent the rest of the weekend camping with Taylor’s family and on Monday I was back at work again, anxious to get back in the field.
Work flew by and the Thursday hunt came fast. I was excited to get out that night. I went out for a quick hunt before dark with my dad and we spotted the big four-point out in a hay field with some other bucks. We quickly made a plan. I would sneak through the cornfield where they were bedded and then stay on the edge while Dad would try to push them to me. It was nearly impossible to stay quiet as I moved through the corn but I got to my spot without busting the bucks and waited. I saw Dad walking across the hayfield as he watched the bucks.
For a full account of Charlie's adventure, go to page 44 in the January/February 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.