By Alex Comstock
It was so close. Right there, just out of reach. And then it happened again, this time just too dark. We almost did it. Me and my hunting buddy Tyler almost were able to put an arrow through a mature buck. Twice. Here's what went down last week..
Friday September 23rd: It was a rainy, drizzly, cold day. The type of day you'd expect a mature buck to be on his feet. I checked a few trail cameras and got pictures of the buck we call "Shaq". If you've been following along, you know all about him. The pictures told me that he was still in the area after shedding his velvet (1st hard horned pictures I had of him) and I thought if there was ever a day he would move it would be Friday. He never showed, but we almost got it done on another buck. With a SE wind, me and Tyler headed into a stand we haven't hunted much in his area. It's on the very corner of a green field, with a bean field adjacent to us. I was behind the camera, with Tyler having the bow in hand.
The night didn't start out the best. Around 5:30pm, we watched a trespasser cross the large field and walk into the woods a couple hundred yards ahead of us. The woods are public, but to access his stand, he walked across the hundreds of yards of private land. We were a little bummed, but figured we'd be alright. At about 6:40pm the parade started. First a few small bucks, then a couple doe's, and another small buck. By this time the rain and wind had really picked up and the weather was miserable.
Sunset was at 7:30pm, and minutes before that a buck popped out of the woods roughly 100 yards away, and headed towards us. I got the camera on him, and knew it was a shooter. The buck leisurely fed in the field for a few seconds, took a couple more steps, and then got downwind of the other hunter who was sitting in the woods. And just like that, he took off towards the beans and out of our lives, never coming any closer than 80 yards. I tossed a few grunts at him in despair, but he wasn't having it. I quickly reviewed the footage, and realized it was a buck we call Kobe. We've got many trail camera pictures of him about a half mile away all summer long, but he hadn't been on the radar as of late. The next day was calling for the same wind, so we were going to go back after him.
Saturday September 24th: Saturday was much warmer, but there were major storms rolling in Saturday night, so we thought there would be a decent chance that buck would be on his feet again. And we were right. Except this time, he popped out of the same exact spot, but just minutes after last shooting light when we were packing up. He knew something was up, and headed to the beans quickly. It felt like we were so close, yet so far away with harvesting this buck. What I do know, is he is still using the area as his fall range, and I will keep hunting him as well.
We did hunt that area Sunday and Monday as well, but in a slightly different spot due to a wind shift, and did not have an encounter with this buck. I am taking the rest of the week off of hunting, and heading to Nebraska tomorrow to hunt the weekend. I think giving the area a break from hunting pressure will be a good thing, and when I'm back, I need to figure out a way to hunt this buck effectively as he seems like a killable deer.
Hopefully by the next journal entry, I will have a better idea how I'll do this, and start making a game plan as we come into October.