By Jeff Kilgo, McLouth, Kan.
During the weekend of Nov. 14, 2015, I figured things were prime here at our place in northeast Kansas, so I focused on putting as much time in the stand as I could afford. On Sunday I climbed into my stand about 45 minutes before sunrise and settled in to experience the joy of God’s creation waking up around me. I wasn’t disappointed as several dozen turkeys flew down from their roost right above me and created a ruckus in the cut cornfield across the creek about 100 yards west of my stand.
At around 7:10 I started rattling and grunting, hoping that something cruising the area might home in on my location. After hanging up my rattling antlers, I saw a doe walking along the edge of the cornfield where I was watching the turkeys. I kept watching this area and then spotted a buck following the doe. The buck was about 150 yards to my west, and I decided to rattle and call to him to see if I could draw him off the doe. After a long rattling sequence and some aggressive grunts I pulled up my binocular, but I couldn’t find the buck or the doe.
A couple of minutes later I looked in the woods to my front and spotted a shooter buck standing 40 yards away looking in my direction. I didn’t have a shot at this point because he was looking straight at me, so I just sat still and waited to see what he was going to do. As I sat there watching him I could see his distinctive curved right brow tine and knew he was the heavy-horned 8-point I’d been watching on my trail cameras since early November. My heart really started racing.
After a few seconds of looking around, the buck eased his way out of the cover and starting working his way directly to my left. He was going to pass really close to my stand, and I was worried that he would see me when I drew my bow. Fortunately there was a huge locust tree about 5 yards to the left of my stand, so I decided that when he got behind this tree I would draw my bow. I was able to get my bow drawn without getting busted, but he hung up briefly behind the locust, which gave me a little concern. After a few seconds, though, he continued to work his way past the tree into an opening to my left.
I had to wait briefly while he cleared some brush, but when he did I lined up my closest pin, aiming to account for the extreme angle, and let the arrow fly. I was a little shocked at first because I had forgotten that I had a lighted nock on my arrow. I normally don’t see the flight of my arrow when I shoot at a deer, but oddly this time I could see the arrow fly all the way and impact the buck’s chest. The deer jumped when the arrow impacted, and it took a second to register that the impact was a few inches higher than where I was aiming. My arrow didn’t penetrate all the way through, and the buck ran past me heading south behind my stand. I knew it was a good hit, though, and I could see blood gushing from the wound. He ran about 20 yards past me and stopped; then he started wobbling and fell over, of course down the side of the hill into the creek bottom.
I was so pumped at this point, and I raised my hands and praised God for blessing me with such an awesome buck. I was really happy and knew that I had just killed my best whitetail ever with my bow. I usually wait for at least an hour after I shoot something to get down from the stand just to be sure, but this buck fell within eyesight. After I calmed down a bit I stood up in my stand and scanned the area with my binocular to see if I could spot my buck ... sure enough there was a big, white belly patch exactly where I had seen him roll down the side of the hill. Again I praised God and climbed down from my stand to claim my trophy.
What an awesome day on the stand—and all over by 7:21 in the morning. I texted a picture of the buck to my wife and asked her to bring the tractor to help me haul him up out of the creek bottom. She is really a trooper, and I was proud to share this moment with her.
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