Editor’s Note: Do you remember when you took a buck with a bow that made that time an exciting hunt? This week some well-known archers are sharing their adventures of bagging some of their most memorable bow bucks.
The Late Dick Kirby’s Missouri Buck
The late Dick Kirby, the founder of Quaker Boy Calls that’s today located in Springville, New York, produced videos each year on hunting both deer and turkeys across the nation, besides creating new calls.
In the 1990s, I hunted with some friends in north-central Missouri, near Unionville. I hadn’t had much time to scout because I only had five days to hunt. But my friends had set up a stand where they thought a buck might appear. I made my way to the stand 20 minutes before daylight the next morning, because I liked to let the woods settle before I expected to see a buck. With no wind that morning, the woods seemed eerily calm. I knew if I used my rattling antlers, a buck could hear the sound from at least 1/2- to 3/4-mile away.
So, as soon as I had enough light to see to shoot, I lightly tickled the antlers I held in my hands together. Once the sky brightened, I increased the force I applied to the antlers and produced loud, crashing noises that sounded like bucks in a full-blown battle. I added grunting sounds to make the buck fight more realistic.
Then 10 minutes after I stopped my loud rattling and grunting, I heard a deer coming toward me. Once I could see the buck, an 8 point, at 60 yards, I next grunted and bleated to him. However, I also spotted a problem. I had no shooting lanes cut through the limbs for me to take a shot. When the buck stood at 20 yards, I knew I probably could take him, but because of the limbs and the brush, I couldn’t get a shot. Then the buck passed by me and walked away before I could find a hole in the limbs. I had to lean out of the stand and depend on my safety harness to keep me from falling out of the tree and to act as a support to stabilize me for the shot.
Once I released the arrow, I felt confident I’d downed the buck. But as I watched the flight of the arrow, I realized either the deer had dropped down when I released, or I’d misjudged the distance. My arrow passed over the buck’s back without the arrow’s ever touching him. The buck didn’t know what had happened. He looked around nervously to determine from where the sound of the bow had come. The buck turned, looked at the arrow, walked back toward my stand, snorted, and blew. I thought I could take another shot if I calmed the buck down with light grunts to make him think another deer was in the area.
Before I grunted, I nocked my arrow. Unfortunately, the string made a slight pop as it slid into the nock. The buck heard the sound and became antsy. Next, I blew my grunt call to make the buck think another deer in the area had stepped on a twig. Finally, he looked up, saw me, stomped his feet, and walked away from me. Realizing I’d blown my opportunity to bag this buck, I hung my bow on a limb beside my tree stand and started to sit down.
Then I spotted a bigger buck behind me that must have watched the first buck. This buck was so close I knew I’d spook him if I stood up. Although I couldn’t see clearly enough to tell how many points the deer had, I knew this buck was way bigger than the first buck. As the animal turned to walk away from me down an old logging road, I made one bleat on my bleat call. The big buck stopped to look, then lowered his head and looked away, giving me the opportunity to bleat again. This time the buck turned around and walked through the brush toward my stand.
I had time to stand, pick up my bow, nock an arrow, and prepare for the shot. The nice buck then stopped 18 yards from my stand, looked away from me, and presented the opportunity for me to draw my bow and release the arrow. I made a perfect hit on the buck. After a 20-minute wait, I found my buck about 150 yards away. His 10-point rack scored 140 points on Boone & Crockett.
Will Primos Takes His Dirt Hill Buck
Editor’s Note: Will Primos, the creator of Primos Hunting in Flora, Mississippi, not only started Primos Game Calls but also has produced award-winning hunting videos through the years.
One of my most memorable bucks was one I hunted in the 1990s on the opening weekend of bow season in Mississippi at Tara/Willow Point Lodge on the Louisiana/Mississippi border. The deer in the area just had come out of the velvet. On the second day of the hunt, I asked my guide if the region had any pecan trees since I knew deer loved to eat pecans. I wanted to find a pecan tree dropping its nuts. While scouting the region, we located one pecan tree already dropping its nuts. We also discovered a bush with fresh velvet from a deer’s antlers where the buck had rubbed. Although I got excited, my guide said he knew of another area that might produce more deer. But after checking several other sites, I returned to the lodge and made the decision to go immediately to the pecan tree, hang a stand, and hunt in the middle of the day.
When a friend and I came within 200 yards of the pecan tree, I spotted a huge buck standing in the middle of the road. I stopped the truck. Surprisingly, the truck didn’t spook the big deer, and he continued to walk across the road. We watched as he fed on the side of the road and moved toward the pecan tree. However, then he vanished. Although we thought we’d lost him, we soon spotted his impressive antlers again when he lifted his head. A large pile of dirt with Johnson grass and other weeds growing out of it mostly hid the buck from our view. Even when the buck lifted his head, we only could see the tips of his antlers, never his eyes.
I quietly asked my buddy to grab the video camera and follow me as I stalked the buck. I told him, “If I move, you move. If I stop, you stop. I know the chance of my stalking to within bow range of this big buck is a long shot. But we’ve got the wind in our favor, and we can move down this road quietly. I think we can get close enough for me to take the shot if we go slow.”
Every time the deer lowered his head, and I couldn’t see him, my friend and I moved down the road. If I spotted the tips of his antlers, I stopped. That buck never smelled or saw us. Finally, once I stood only 30 yards from the deer, he faced me. So, I couldn’t take a shot. He hooked a vine with his antlers and fought it, taking his attention off me. After battling the vine, he took two steps, turned broadside, and fed, presenting me with the perfect shot. As soon as I released the arrow, I knew I had the buck, hitting him just back from the front shoulder. He ran about 80 yards before he piled up. This 8-point buck scored 142 on Boone & Crockett and had a 21-1/2-inch inside spread.
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Tomorrow: Brad Harris & Terry Rohm Bowhunt Deer