Buck down! The ultimate finish to a sweet November

The ultimate goal has been a long time coming.

The last time I killed a buck was in 2010, and the last time I harvested anything was a horse of a doe back in 2012. So, burning up a doe and a buck tag within a two-week time span has truly got me feeling like the most fortunate hunter there ever was.

I’m currently working the night shift as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, so my days and nights are completely flip-flopped. So, when my husband came home from work early on Nov. 10, I was sawing logs in a serious state of REM. His insisting that I wasn’t going to kill a deer sleeping in my warm and cozy bed, while annoying as heck, finally prompted me to get my rear in gear.

Brian and I sat in separate stands, about 100 yards or so apart. My stand, and the location Brian hung it in two weeks prior, were both new, so once my brain jostled out of its sleepy fog, I was pretty excited to hunt from it.

The temps were chilly to begin with, and as it got closer to evening, I was downright cold. It probably hadn’t helped that, admittedly, I’d been answering overdue emails on my phone to pass the time and hadn’t been wearing gloves. Around 4:30 p.m., I put my phone away and shoved my hands into my pockets and pulled up the giant hood on my coat to block the wind as much as possible. Obviously, this prevented me from getting the text from Brian at 4:38 letting me know that there was a shooter-sized deer just out of his shooting distance heading my way.

Hunkered down and trying to keep the sting of cold from creeping into my fingertips, I looked up and saw a large doe and a yearling emerging from a main path in the timber and into the food plot I was hunting over. Only a few yards behind them, I saw antlers. Instantaneously, a knot tied itself in my stomach and I willed myself to make every attempt to keep my wits about me in hopes that I didn’t trip over myself when I stood up. The quickly approaching antlers might as well have belonged to a world-record buck. Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less about whether or not someone else would deem him as a shooter or tell me that I should have passed, letting him grow another year.

The does clearly were not appreciating the buck’s badgering behavior. Within moments, the big doe ran past, less than 10 yards from my stand, leaving the yearling standing out in the middle of the plot. The younger doe quickly decided she wasn’t having anything to do with the buck’s advances, either, and followed the older doe’s suit. I knew I’d better be ready, because the chain of events was clearly not going to wait on me.

Not being able to help his raging hormones, the buck started to trail after the does. I drew my bow. He wasn’t stopping. It was the first time I’ve ever had to stop a deer in its tracks by using the ol’ “maaahh” tactic. This time, however, I did. And it worked – perfectly. As he ran off, I could see my arrow with the bright blue-lighted nock sticking out from the buck. It looked a little more forward than I’d intended, but I was pretty confident I’d made a good shot.

I could barely dial Brian’s number with my cold and adrenaline-fused fingers, and when he answered, my mouth emitted sounds that I don’t think I could attempt to replicate. It was 4:42. By 4:46, I was standing over the beginning of a bright red and bubbly blood trail.

By nature, I’m not a “whoo-hoo, hip-hip-hooray,” kind of gal, and I sure as heck don’t dance. But after far too many seasons that have ended with unfilled tags, you better believe I whooped, hollered and danced until I was breathless all over again.

Ahhhh, sweet November sure was good to me this year!

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Illinois – Keri Butt, Whitetail Deer

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