Who would have thought Whitetail hunting would have such a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The latest buck that I harvested, was also my largest to date, but that’s not all that’s special with this hunt. Living in Eastern North Carolina for many years I was never able to hunt mature Whitetail’s. “If it was brown it was down” they would say. Which made it almost impossible for the herd to establish a mature population. Fast forward to me now living in Northern Virginia and my hunting experience has changed; along with my lifestyle (Northern Virginia was overwhelming at first). I have been able to harvest a few bucks the last couple of years, but these mature Whitetails have taken me to school. I have been in some awesome situations that I would never have been in before; seeing bucks chasing does, have bucks somehow now where my stand was and never give me a shot.
These experiences still never prepared me for the experience I would have so far this season. I was actually able to apply some of my new knowledge and attempt to rattle and grunt during the pre-rut this year. Attempting rattling in the past and never getting results never taught me what this experience would be like. I had done a lot of YouTube watching on how to do it. It was a new technique for me and I wanted to get it right (as I could). Well, last week I got the rattle bag and grunt tube out and gave it a try. It was about 8 o’clock in the morning and I lightly touched the bag and rattled for about 30 seconds. After the rattle I gave a few grunts and what happened next has never happened to me before. On top of the hill from my treestand I heard a deer grunt back and he started coming down the hill and was not trying to be quiet about it. Now at this point I still don’t know what was happening since this had never worked before. That buck was on a mission and it did not dawn on me til he cleared the last level of brush off of the food plot. When I saw that it was a deer I got excited but when I saw that it was a buck my heart started pounding.
Well, wouldn’t you know that this was only the first drop on the roller-coaster ride. He stopped short of coming in the clear and never stepped out. My heart was sinking and he was leaving. As he was walking away the disappointment of what was happening was starting to hit me. I hit the grunt call a couple of times and he wanted nothing to do with that. So I hit the snort wheeze and he stopped dead in his tracks and proceeded to circle the food plot through the woods and come through on the opposite side. He came out broadside at 50 yards, this is a distance that I’m comfortable with so I came to full draw. Wouldn’t you know it at that very moment a truck comes driving down the road, the buck gets spooked, and is getting ready to take off. At the moment he turned his head to leave I let the arrow fly.
What happened next put my emotions in a death spiral crashing down. He took two leaps into the edge of the woods and stood looking back at me trying to figure out what that noise was. Then he slowly walked into the woods as if nothing happened. That right there is urban archery hunting at its finest. The biggest buck of my life and a car drives by at the wrong time and now I must face the fact that I had missed. Now my emotions have gone from on top of the world to now being at the bottom of the ocean. I text my fellow staff members and tell them that I had just missed a nice 8 pointer (that what I thought he was). Of course I get the ribbing that I deserve for missing the shot. With my emotions wrecked I decided to sit the rest of the morning and see what would happen. After 2 1/2 hours of sitting and not seeing any more deer and of course beating myself up about the “One That Got Away”. I decided to get out the stand and call it a day. I still had to do the walk of shame and go get my arrow. As I get closer to the spot, I see a big pile of fur on the ground and then realize that my arrow went clean through at 50 yards and is completely covered in blood (and guts, I hit him a little back). The emotions where now back on cloud nine, I did not miss and the excitement hit me. I made a quick phone call to ChasinWhitetails staffer Steve Sheetz and let him know that I did get him. The entire time I was on the blood trail my emotions never came back down and to this day I am still flying high. So through this roller-coaster ride I had some amazing highs and lows and looking back I would not have chosen a different ride.