I hunted ducks on the Illinois River the morning of 11-8-11 in a pouring rain, getting soaked. I considered ditching my plans to bow hunt that afternoon, but the rain stopped and the radar looked clear so I decided to give it a go.
As I carefully proceeded to my ladder stand down to the bottom of a ridge, I saw a big buck in a field about 400 yards away. I scrambled to my stand and furiously rattled, but the deer didn’t give a look. At 4:00 with the sky darkening and it starting to mist, I wondered if the rain was returning. I furiously rattled for about a minute with my rattle bag. A couple of minutes later a doe came out from a thicket behind my stand. She nosed the ground where scent from my drag rag soaked in. I watched her for several minutes as she locked in on the scent and meandered around the path I had walked coming into my stand.
I was watching the thicket behind me hoping to see a following buck. As I looked to the left, at the top of the path to my stand stood a huge buck. He picked up my scent trail, took a couple steps forward and saw the doe beneath me. When the doe looked up, she fled upon seeing the buck walking towards her. He watched the doe bound away and locked into the scent trail, slowly moving into the shot zone.
At 12 yards I grunted, he stopped and my 100 grain Rocket passed through him behind his front chest a little further back than I liked. He bounded away, stopped about 200 yards out, laid down and that was it! Then the rain started! The inside spread is 24 inches and the buck’s face is almost white.
My deer of a lifetime!