Wayne Waldo’s nephew, Robert Bowman, thought he was crazy for trying to squeeze in a deer hunt with only a couple of hours of daylight remaining on Nov. 12, 2012.
“By the time you get out there, you’re just going to spook everything,” Robert warned his uncle, not even mentioning the 16-mph wind, 30-mph gusts and mid-30s temperatures that would seem a whole lot colder.
Wayne had hurried straight home after leaving work at 3:30 that day, which is where he ran into his doubting Thomas of a nephew.
“I’m going hunting,” he told him, and he didn’t slow down until he realized that his Scent-Lok coveralls, which he’d planned to slip over his clothes, were hanging outside, frozen stiff. He crunched himself into them anyway, conscious of the ebbing minutes.
“I chose the stand that was closest and was settled in by 4:10,” he said. “The stand is near a big draw and an overgrown pasture surrounded by thickets.”
Wayne had been there for about 20 minutes when he spotted a buck at 500 yards. Even at that distance, he knew it was big. It was trying to corral four or five does.
“When I used my rattling horns, the buck looked my way, but it stayed with those does,” Wayne said. “Then I tried a snort-wheeze call. Again, it looked.”
Wayne knew the buck heard him, but he didn’t know how muffled the sounds were because of the wind. So, with nothing to lose, he hit the call again, only with more gusto.
“I did that snort-wheeze just as loud as I could,” he said. “After that, the buck jumped the fence and began coming my way.
“Once it jumped the fence, I lost sight of it for about 10 minutes, which seemed like an eternity,” he added.
Whitetails don’t get big without developing some smarts. The buck was responding to the call, but swinging around to approach the overgrown pasture from downwind and from a higher elevation.
Wayne, meanwhile, was standing with his bow in hand, his arrow ticking slightly in time with his heartbeat.
Surely, he thought, if the buck was coming, it would already be there. So he decided to offer up another snort-wheeze.
“I hung the bow back up, sat down and did the snort-wheeze again,” he said. “I had barely taken the call from my lips when the deer suddenly appeared 20 yards away and at eye level.”
Fortunately for Wayne, the buck didn’t spot him. When it lowered its head, Wayne stood slowly. The next time it turned its head, he grabbed his bow.
The buck was standing at the pasture’s edge, on the other side of an old fence, and Wayne was waiting for it to jump onto his side.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I should have been, at that point,” he said. “I remember looking at the drop tine and telling myself to make the shot, but it seemed like he just stood at that fence forever.”
When the buck jumped the fence, finally, Waldo had the target he wanted.
“Right after I shot, I started trembling from holding the bow so long and, I guess, from adrenalin,” he said. “I just stood there shaking and watched him collapse.
“I didn’t know exactly how big the deer was because I’d been so intent on making the shot,” he added. “I called my wife, Christina, and she didn’t believe me. My nephew didn’t believe me either.”
Soon enough, however, everyone was a believer.
After posing for several photographs, Wayne took his deer to a local meat locker and made arrangements for it to be mounted by Dan McKee of Critter Crazy Taxidermy in Ellsville, Ill.
“When the news spread, I heard from a New York hunter who filmed my buck earlier in November. He got 20 minutes of footage, and he gave me a copy of the video,” Wayne said. “I also got a call from a local hunter who’d found the previous year’s shed.”
Wayne wound up trading the guy a pair of sheds that might’ve tallied 170 inches for the one side his buck had worn in 2011.
“I was so lucky to be able to get that video and the shed,” he said. “Having them has added to the whole experience.”
Hunter: Wayne Waldo
BTR Score: 214 3/8
– Photos Courtesy Wayne Waldo
This article was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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