This is the 3rd mature buck that I have shot from an Ameristep Ground Blind, and to think I use to shun the thought of sitting in a ground blind. I have become a believer!
We had been getting a few trailcam pics of this buck during the beginning of the season but had yet to lay our eyes on him. All the sign was there, the rubs the scrapes and the pictures we just had not got the timing right. I knew that the rut would get him on his feet more and increase our chances.
My Girlfriend, Megan Riff could not go hunting on the morning of Nov. 14th so I elected to head to the ground blind on one of our food plots by myself. It was only 20 degrees out with a wind chill of only 12degrees. Great conditions and the rut was kicking pretty good, I had high hopes. I had been in the Ameristep blind for about an hour and a half it was getting to be around 7:15am and I had not seen a deer yet. Then I heard a grunt come from my right in the fence line. I picked up my Hoyt and got ready. I was hoping it was the Ten that we had been getting pictures of and sure enough it was. I peeked out to my right and saw him feeding only 20yards away. I had to wait for his next move.
The buck started to walk out into our food plot, he stopped at 25yards quartering away I could only see his feet in the camera. I had to move the tripod to get the buck in frame, when I did he heard me and looked at the blind, I froze hoping that he would not spook. He only looked for a few seconds and then went back to feeding in the oats. I made sure that he was framed up in the camera and then just as I was getting to draw my bow he heard something in the fence line to my right again. The buck spun 180 degrees and started stomping his foot. I came to full draw with my Carbon Spyder and hoped that he would stay long enough to get my shot. I had to lean to my left to clear the window partition due to the bucks new position. I sent the Spitfire on its way, it disappeared through the bucks ribs, I thought it was a perfect shot and started to celebrate to the camera. I then looked up to see a rack from behind the trees and I was in shock! I guess my shot was not as good as I thought.
I began to range some trees where I thought the buck might step out, it was 60yards. I dialed my sight to 60 and got ready for another opportunity. The buck finally started to step out, I came to full draw aimed and sent my second arrow his way. It looked as it was a good hit right behind the shoulder even though there was some tall grass in the way.
I began to celebrate again. Then I called Megan, she was excited to hear the news. I also called my good friend Tom Prosser, he showed up with one of his employees, Collin, and we took up the trail with Tom running the camera now. We found both arrows, the second arrow did not have as much sign on it as I expected. We followed the blood for 40yards and it looked great, then it started to get sparse. We followed it for another 60 yards and then I saw the buck jump up and run off! That sinking feeling hit me, most hunters have experienced this feeling at some time in their hunting adventures and what to do next! We decided to go get some lunch and review the footage on the TV and give him more time.
After review we decided that there was no way that the buck should survive, the shot looked fatal, we still did not know where my second shot had hit him. We went back to pick up the trail around 12 noon it had now been almost 5 hours. We came up to where we had jumped the buck and I only went another 15 yards and I could see the white belly.
I glassed him to make sure he was down, then we ran down to get our hands on him and celebrate for real this time. My second shot was right in line but just high. I was blessed with a great buck from the ground blind again with an understanding Girlfriend and some good friends to help me! I could not have asked for anything more this season for myself. I will be spending the rest of the season helping my Girlfriend, Megan to fill her tags with her Carbon Spyder!