Every buck is an opportunity to be a better hunter.
I live in Georgia’s Oglethorpe County, but I got permission to hunt a small, approximately 10-acre tract surrounded by a subdivision in Athens-Clarke County.
I scouted the area and found several promising spots. I got my first trail camera picture of a dandy buck I named Subdivision in late August. I tracked his movements and knew where he liked to roam, so I placed a stand in a tall oak.
Opening day came on Sept. 9, and I was ready, but the buck and I played a game of cat-and-mouse for a month. He would step out at lunchtime or wait until I left to make an appearance.
One day in October, I got off work early and went home to get ready. I was dialed in, and I knew the buck’s days were numbered. I was settled in the stand by 5 p.m., and all I needed was for Subdivision to show up.
I sat with my bow ready and waiting, full of confidence. Then, as light started to fade, doubt crept in and I started to think about packing it in. Then I heard something in the creek.
My heart was racing as I looked for the source of the noise. Finally, as I looked farther up the creek, there he was as plain as day, walking toward a scrape.
I raised my bow, and the buck reacted instinctively to the movement. I knew I probably wouldn’t get another chance, so I drew back.
Subdivision walked in a circle, going behind two trees at about 35 yards. I steadied my pin between the trees and waited. It wasn’t long before his shoulder appeared and I released the arrow.
I heard a smack, and he took off only to crash 10 seconds later. I waited and listened for a long while as I tried to calm down.
I found the deer, a 9-pointer, just 40 yards from the spot between the trees, and I couldn’t have been more stoked. It is my largest buck to date and is currently at the taxidermist, where he will become my first shoulder mount.
I know he’s not a record buck, but the chase he gave me helped me learn and become a better hunter.
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