Monday, December 20, 2010

"A Good Morning in the Woods" by Gary Smith Jr.

On November 6th my alarm sounded at 4:30 a.m. and I awoke ready and eager to get into the woods.  This crisp morning started out much like many others during the season, but it would prove to be a truly memorable morning.  My dad had shot a buck the prior weekend, which I personally taped out (green scored) at 158 inches.  If this didn’t stoke my desire to get into a treestand, then nothing would!  Not only that, but I had only been able to hunt on the weekends because of my schedule.  Needless to say, this was a highly anticipated day!
Gary Smith Sr. with his 158''

As I threw on my ScentLok suit, I began feeling like it would be a good morning.  To my surprise, I opened the door to a crisp, snow-covered lawn that added to my excitement.  I jumped in my Dodge and drove to the spot I had dreamed of being at all week.  The spot is a little sapling thicket that I had overlooked the first year I had hunted this particular farm.  Following a gut feeling, I scouted it the weekend before and was amazed at all the buck sign for such a small area of woods.  It appeared that every buck in the county had been through it.  It was a no brainier where I would be hanging my new Lone Wolf climber on this day.

As I slipped through the woods and inched closer to the tree that I had picked out the weekend before, my adrenaline began to rise.  I felt like a child the night before Christmas because I was worried that I wouldn’t make it to the tree before daylight.  Even though I arrived an hour-and-a-half early, I was stressed because I felt like I was an hour late.  Finally, I strapped the belts of my Lone Wolf around the tree, ascended to my usual 30-foot mark, strapped my Hunter Safety System harness to the tree, and patiently waited for daylight to appear.

Soon enough daylight was upon me and it was like a switch had been flipped inside of me.  I was now in predator mode, awaiting my prey.  After being fooled numerous times by the elusive squirrel, making sounds of what I thought to be hoofs headed towards me, I saw distinctive movement through the brush up ahead.  It was deer and they were headed my way! After watching them come out of the thick brushy bottom, I saw that it was a mature doe and a button buck.  They fed on the opposite side of the tree at about 30-yards. I had numerous shot opportunities at the two of them, but they weren’t going to fill my hunger on this day.  I had planned on sitting all day, anticipating a buck, so I let them pass. Little to my surprise, they got about 40-yards directly behind me and bedded down.

As I waited on other deer to funnel through the woods, I decided to pull out my Primos “Can” bleat call to see how it would affect the deer bedded 40-yards behind me.  As I watched them through my binoculars, I turned the call making two to three long bleats and nothing appeared to happen…or did it?

Gary Smith Jr. with his nine-point buck
As I was watched through my binoculars, I heard some corn stalks snap from the standing cornfield that was 50-yards in front of me, but I had my back turned to it as I was watching the bedded deer behind me.  Ever so slightly, I lowered my binoculars and slowly peered my head around to see a nice buck exiting the cornfield in front of me.  He was oblivious to me being there, so I grabbed my Hoyt Maxxis 35 off the hook.  After that, my instincts took over. I predicted which trail the buck would take past me and ranged a tree in an opening with my Nikon rangefinder at 33-yards.  I lowered my rangefinder and looked back at the buck that had never stopped coming down the trail.  He was approaching my opening in a hurry! With little time to gamble, I took one last look at the buck and decided he was mine.  I quickly drew back my bow to my anchor and the adrenaline started pumping as the buck steady walked into my opening.  As his vitals cleared the last tree I put my G-5 site pin directly behind his front shoulder and grunted with my mouth.  The buck stopped dead and looked up at me.  I focused on a spot and pulled through my Carter release, executing a perfect shot.  As the bow broke over, I knew the arrow was in route to my focus point.  I saw my green Nockturnal nock illuminate and my two-blade Rage broadhead bury behind the buck’s front shoulder with a loud wallop. The buck dropped to the ground and jumped back up, only to make it ten yards to its demise.

Gary Smith Jr. with his late-season doe
taken with a TenPoint
The minute after the buck dropped I got the feeling that every hunter can relate to.  I was on cloud nine! My wishful plan had connected with a big ten point that was lying 40-yards from me.  As every other hunter would do, I started making phone calls and shared my blessed day with everyone, including my father who rushed down to the farm to help me drag him out of the woods. It truly was a morning to remember!

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