And to think he had no intention of hunting that day!
After spending most of Oct. 7, 2012, cutting up fallen trees, dragging the debris to the woods and decommissioning a storm-damaged stand, most hunters would’ve been happy to spend the remains of the day in a recliner.
Jim Twiggs might’ve done just that, too, if his buddy hadn’t announced that he was going to see the sunset from a deer stand. Once that notion was planted, it germinated in all of three seconds.
Jim’s friend, Ted Galbreath, had brought his hunting gear to the farm, so staying to hunt was an easy choice. Jim, however, had to go home to collect his stuff, and then drive back in order to sit in a tree for a couple of hours.
“Since we had been working on one side of the farm, making lots of noise, we decided to hunt the other side,” Jim said. “The stand I chose was in a wooded strip beside a stream. I’d re-hung it that morning.”
The trees flanking the waterway are just about the only cover on the 300-plus-acre farm, which is next to a very large tract that’s off-limits to hunters. Jim’s stand was closest to a hay field, though there was corn stubble to the north and cut soybeans to the south.
He’d shot a nice 9-pointer from there the previous season.
“I was in it by 5:00,” he said. “Ten minutes later, a small doe came to drink from the stream. She then ventured out into the alfalfa and began feeding. About 30 minutes after she appeared, three more does came in from my left and joined her. They were followed by a little 4-pointer.
“The weather was changing, and the deer were really moving,” he added.
Jim was surprised at all the activity. Although he’d hunted the farm for many years, he’d never been afield during the season’s first two weeks. Soon, four more small bucks — a 10-pointer, a 6 and a couple more forkhorns — entered the field from the strip of trees behind him. They all walked right past him.
“I was grateful that I was wearing my scent-free clothing,” he said.
Most of the deer in the alfalfa had wandered off by 6:30, when another small doe came within 25 yards of Jim’s hiding place. After about 15 minutes of quietly feeding, she suddenly jerked up her head and stared at something to Jim’s right.
“She immediately bolted and flew past me,” he said. “I thought a coyote might be entering the field, but then I spotted a really nice 9-pointer that, judging from its course, would walk past me at 20 yards or so. I was debating whether to take a shot.
“As I toyed with the idea, I spotted more movement out of the corner of my right eye. I slowly turned to see another deer coming through the corner of the field,” he continued. “I could make out only four uprights on the left side as it was coming to me, but I could tell the rack also carried very good mass.”
He guessed the newcomer was a 10-pointer, and he forgot about the 5x4 he’d been tracking.
“It looked as if it was going to parallel the path the 9-pointer had taken, about 15 to 20 yards farther out in the field,” Jim said. “That meant I’d have a 40-yard shot.”
Maybe 20 seconds after Jim resolved to take the shot, the buck obliged and crossed in front of him at a brisk pace. After slowing it by whistling, Jim squeezed his crossbow’s trigger.
It looked like the arrow struck the quartering deer’s last rib, angled forward, and then passed completely through the animal. Jim could only hope the bolt had pierced the bellows before exiting.
“Both bucks took off running along the field’s edge, and then cut through a gap in the trees. I couldn’t tell whether one or both went out the other side,” Jim said.
“I sat in the stand for another 30 minutes before I got down to look for my arrow, which was black. I wished it had been any other color, because I never found it.
“With no arrow and no trail to follow, I walked toward the cut. It was about 7:30 and starting to get dark,” he said. “I dug through my pack and found a pen light, which seemed totally inadequate.
“When I reached the gap, there was blood on both sides of the trail,” Jim continued. “That really brightened my outlook.”
Hope renewed, he hung his hat on a limb and walked back to his truck to call Ted.
“After Ted arrived, we walked back to the stand so I could show him where the deer had been when I took the shot and where it headed afterward. We then the crossed creek and entered the corn stubble,” Jim said. “Soon, my (better) flashlight’s beam illuminated the deer’s belly.
“The left side of the antlers was sticking up, but the right side was partially buried in the soft earth. I had to pull really hard to free it from the corn stalks and dirt,” he said. “Only then did I realize the buck was far more than a decent 10-pointer!
“It had to weigh more than 300 pounds as well,” Jim added. “We’d never seen such a buck on that farm.”
After exchanging high-fives and hugging, the men realized that four arms and legs might not be enough to load the antlered boxcar, so they called Ted’s son, who lived nearby. He brought three other guys as reinforcements.
James also called the landowner to explain the soon-to-arrive traffic, and the man came out to see the buck as well.
“The next morning, I took the deer to Bob Anderson’s taxidermy shop and hung it in his cooler,” he said.
Hunter: Jim Twiggs
BTR Score 222 5/8
– Photos Courtesy of Jim Twiggs
This article was published in the October 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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