Smalltown Bucks

Study, Hunt, Repeat

Study, Hunt, Repeat

By Ben Englert

College student’s first archery harvest gets a 4.0 in Bowhunting 101.

It was Nov. 15, and the 2018 Indiana shotgun season would begin two days later. I was logging as many hours as I could with my bow, hoping to tag out before the gun-toting army arrived on opening morning. I had put in countless hunts since bow season started on Oct. 1, but I didn’t have luck seeing any of my target bucks in daylight.

My trail cameras were loaded with tons of pictures on our southern Indiana property in Pike County, but I had only one encounter which happened the week before. A shooter came in right at dark but it stayed too far for a shot.

A college student at the time, I would go to class in the morning and hunt as much as I could between homework and projects in the afternoon. I went to class the morning of the 15th, and as soon as it was over, I high-tailed it to our property an hour away. I arrived about 3:00 in the afternoon, thinking I might be too late for a good hunt.

Luckily, one of the first snowfalls of the year had begun that morning, and it was still coming down when I arrived. That allowed for a quiet entrance and climb into my stand overlooking a field loaded with clover and turnips.

An hour or so after settling in, I saw five does enter the field about 400 yards to the left. I gave myself a mental kick for not picking the stand on that side of the field.

Study, Hunt, RepeatAs I watched and grunted a few times, I kept looking over my shoulder to the spot where I saw the big buck the week before. Nothing. I continued watching and thought about climbing down for a stalk.

I was still trying to make up my mind when movement to the right caught my attention. Then, there he was, stepping into the clearing about 80 yards directly in front of me but angling away.

I immediately grunted, and it worked like a charm! He turned and was coming toward me: 75, 50, 40 yards and right into a shooting lane.

I let the arrow go and immediately knew it was true. The buck turned, ran about 80 yards and cut into a fallen treetop, where we would find him a few hours later.

The buck I’d named Juice was down, and I will always remember my first bow kill.

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Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd