After using a week of paid time off early in November with no success (trying to time the rut), I felt the pressure to bag a nice buck with my bow before shotgun season big time. I had Friday morning off and after checking the solunar calendar, I had high expectations for Friday, given that it was a full moon and had an excellent rating. Well, I saw 3 giants but of course none in range. I reluctantly climbed out of my stand as I had to be at work at 11am. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had a serious case of buck fever, and got hardly any sleep that night.
Saturday morning I got in my stand and almost got blown away but saw some does being chased, and again had to get out and be at work at 9am. I was off at 12pm so I went right back out there but decided to hunt the bottoms because i would be out of the wind and there were a bunch of scrapes down there, including one right behind the stand I was going to. My buddy had hunted that stand the night before and saw a nice buck check that scrape but said he couldn’t get a shot at it.
First thing I did was use my range finder to see how far the scrape was from me and then i knocked a couple branches out of the way so I had a faint shooting lane in case that buck decided to show up again that night. Well I sat for about 3 hours without seeing a thing, then out of nowhere, a buck came crashing down the hill over my right shoulder. He went directly to that scrape and began abusing it. I couldn’t believe it. It was just as i had planned, which anyone who deer hunts knows that things rarely go as planned.
I had to turn around completely and, in the process, got in a tussle with my safety harness. By all means, I should have spooked him with the noise I made getting turned around; he checked me out briefly and went back to his scrape. Knowing that he was 34 yards from me from ranging that distance earlier in the hunt, I drew my PSE back and lined up the shot and put my arrow through both of his lungs! Of course he ran back up the hill and down in to a ravine. They never make it easy! But regardless, I had put a big buck down! Gotta love the Illinois rut!