By Alex Comstock
Hunting mature bucks is never easy. Throw in the fact of hunting a highly pressured state such as Pennsylvania, and it's even harder. Nick Kravitz defined the odds a few days ago, and harvested a beautiful mature buck in a highly pressured state during none other than the "October Lull". To read about how Nick was able to succeed on this hunt and what he learned that could help you in the near future, read our Q&A below.
Q: Has this buck been on your radar, or did he show up out of nowhere?
Nick: We had him on trail camera as a 2.5 year old buck 3 years ago which puts him at 5.5 years old this year.
Q: Why were you in the stand the night you shot this buck? Other than just wanting to hunt, was there any type of weather conditions or something along those lines that particularly excited you?
Nick: The night of October 16th was the first night of a cold front (over 20 degree temp drop). The first few weeks of season have been in the 70's and 80's and I knew I had to take advantage of the front that was rolling through.
Q: What was your setup like? What kind of area was it, and what was the reasoning for your stand placement?
Nick: Hunting this property for years, my brother Tyler and I pretty much had this spot figured out. From other sets we could see this particular tree was a hot spot for deer activity which was along the edge of a swamp and the edge of a corn field.
Q: Describe to the reader what went down from the time you laid eyes on the buck until the time you released the arrow.
Nick: As soon as I hopped in the stand, I was greeted with cold chills and the fall feels. I remember thinking to myself "This is the perfect day for hunting", sure enough at around 4:30 I already had eyes on a young buck up on his feet and moving - then at 5:30 two more young bucks walked 20 yards past me that I passed up.
As the sun began to set I was admiring the view with my camera and snapping a few photos. I set my camera back in my Sitka Gear Tool bucket and only a few minutes later I peered over my left shoulder and caught a slight glimpse of antlers through the corn stalks swaying in the wind. All I could see were big G2's and big G3's, so I immediately knew this was a shooter buck, and I reached for my bow slowly. I thought he was going to walk away, so I was going to try and shoot him close to where I first saw him, so I drew back my Mathews Archery, Inc. Halon 32 and watched him walk right out of my shooting lane, but he was headed towards another one. As I held my bow back for what seemed like an eternity (reality about 3 minutes) I questioned letting down twice but I thought he was going to pass right through my shooting lane. Because of this, I knew I needed to be ready when the opportunity presented itself.
As I began to see his rack peer through the corn stalks and out from behind the branch blocking my view of him, I knew this was the moment of truth. Instead of staying on his course, he actually turned towards me slightly. This was it, now or never. It wasn't a shot that I particularly like taking, but I knew where the vitals were and I made a quick judgement as I replayed my chances of hitting him good to make an ethical shot. I knew I still had that window to send an arrow.
So with a slight squeeze of the TRU Ball Archery and Axcel Sights Glory release, the last thing that I witnessed was my Nock Out Lighted Nocks disappearing directly behind his front shoulder.
Q: After releasing the arrow, what were your emotions like? Are you somebody that stays pretty composed, or did you lose it in the stand?
Nick: “It was the fourth of July at that point. Luckily I had a safety harness on or I surely would have fallen out of the tree!!” Needless to say I was pretty shook!! And at the time I didn’t even know he was as big as he actually was.
Q: Overall, did you learn anything in particular on this hunt that maybe would translate to somebody who is hoping to put down a mature buck in the next week or so?
Nick: The most important knowledge I picked up during this hunt was to hunt cold fronts, hunting a cross wind, keeping your composure and staying confident during the moment of truth, and just because a buck isn't on trail camera doesn't mean they aren't there.
*Here's an excerpt from Nick as well on what went down after the hunt concluded.
With plenty of daylight left, I went to the truck and called Tyler & Darton to tell them the news! We met up and watched the footage and decided it was best to just let him lay for a few hours since the temperatures would keep this buck good through the evening hours. After we got done tracking and finding bucks shot that night by Brooke Williams and Tyler Kravitz, it was about midnight and we decided to go in and look for blood and see if we could find my buck. It only took 75 yards. We were looking at blood and Tyler looked up and said there he is! As we ran up to him, we couldn't believe what I did. The emotion and feeling that I felt right then is something I will never be able to put in to words, but it was an amazing moment in my life that I will carry with me forever!
If you want to see more from Nick, you can head to Flatlinewhitetails.com.