John’s Note: A certain confidence comes with knowing you have done everything right to give yourself an opportunity to take a shot at a buck. One day I had that feeling. I knew the deer were feeding on a white oak tree, which traditionally had been a hot spot for deer where I was hunting, since the nuts just had started falling 2 days before from this tree.
I still could feel my morning coffee warming my stomach as I looked at the thicket and watched the small, narrow trail that led to the white oak tree 20 yards in front of me.
The night had been dark with only a rim of the moon visible. The woods with their Spanish moss dangling from the trees had a macabre look that reminded me of the movie from my boyhood, “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.” I had to come to my stand under the cover of darkness, and I needed more time than usual to put the bolts in the holes I had pre-drilled in the tree the week before. Carefully and quietly I climbed the tree, got into my stand and waited on daylight. I had remained well away from the tree when I scouted it. When I hung my tree stand, I saw where deer had been using their noses to funnel under the leaves to search for acorns. There was a well-worn path from the thick cover coming to the tree on the edge of the clear-cut. Everything I knew about deer hunting told me this spot should produce a buck.
With the first warm glow of sunlight, I saw a dark nose, a black eye and an ivory prong protruding from the thicket. Although the deer only was a 4 point, I would take him if he presented a shot. Once the deer looked away from me, I stood in my stand and made ready to shoot. While the deer inched his way out of the ticket, I studied the distance. The buck was at about 25 yards. Although he was walking toward me, quartering slightly, I made the decision that as soon as he stopped, I would release my arrow. Often I had missed deer that were too close to me rather than deer that were too far away.
Finally the buck halted, bent his nose forward and sniffed for acorns. I drew my bow and put the second pin on my sights immediately behind the deer’s front shoulder. When the pin stopped and rested on the very small spot I had chosen as my target, I released the arrow and heard that whopping sound with which all bowhunters immediately identify as a solid hit. The buck wheeled and headed back into thick cover. I heard him scrambling through the bushes, a thud and then silence. I waited patiently for 20-minutes by my watch before I went to claim my trophy. Identifying the first oak tree in an area that was dropping its nuts had paid off for me.
To learn more about deer hunting, you can get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks,
“How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” Click here to get these books.
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About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.