This is my first whitetail buck since I was about 10 years old. My first sit in the stand was the last 40 minutes of light on Thursday night, I shot a doe in the heart after being in the stand for five minutes. Friday morning I got in the stand right at first light. A spike wandered around looking for does before sunrise, but the woods were very quiet. 15 minutes after sunrise, the valley between two neighborhoods was still cloaked in shadows. I was set up along the edge of a steep creek with a few fallen trees around me. My chunk of woods was fairly open relative to the thick privet to my right and left.
I saw a nose and an ear poke out of the privet to my right, one footstep and I could tell it was a large bodied buck by the smoothness of his movements. I couldn’t see antlers, and the deer faded back into the brush. I stared at that spot for the next ten minutes without any commotion.
A small doe appeared on the trail to the right, heading towards my stand. She was at 50 yards and on high alert-taking one step at a time, licking her nose, desperately raising her nose towards the sky. She had just walked past the gut pile from my doe the night before. It took 15 minutes for her to get to 20 yards and start feeding on the remnants of an old corn pile and acorns. As I raised my stepdad’s crossbow, the buck silently appeared on the edge of the privet. He was staring at the doe, drooling. He looked back and forth between her and my stand for 5 minutes, never moving his feet. He paced up to a log at 40 yards, perfectly broadside. I hadn’t sighted the crossbow in past 20 to resist the temptation, so he was safe. He let out a long, soft grunt. He stood there for another five minutes, locked onto the doe. He jumped the log and headed right to me. He stopped at 20 yards head on, with branched between us. He let out another long grunt. The doe was 10 yards to the right of him. He turned to face her. I settled the crosshairs behind his shoulder, there was one leaf over his heart and a tiny twig, I squeezed the trigger and heard as loud of a thwack as I can remember. He barreled through fallen trees barely keeping his footing. He managed to sprint 60 yards with his nose dragging in the dirt before coming to a stop back in the privet. I was fairly certain I’d heard him fall, but couldn’t see clearly enough. I stayed calm for 30 seconds, then my hands started trembling and my knees started knocking together.
An hour later I came back out to follow his tracks. His blood crossed back and forth over that of the doe from the night before so I walked ahead to where she had died. He lay dead just a few yards from her gut pile. The bolt had gone in just above his right elbow and shattered is left shoulder, exactly the same as the doe. The broadhead had sliced open the top of the heart on both deer. In two hours of hunting from one stand, I had made two clean kills. The buck stank of piss and rutting pheromones, my first experience with a truly rutting buck. It’s was a great day in the woods, and I’m thankful we’re still able to have these experiences in America.