A 20 Year
by Jim Dean
years ago I'd shot an 8 point buck in the Pocono Mountains of
Pennsylvania. Since that time I'd shot only 1 spike buck, and
The day before the 2005 NY buck/doe season we decided to take
a look at my deer stand to verify it was still in good shape
since the previous season. On our way into the stand we saw
more buck sign than I can remember seeing. This would be our
3rd year hunting my buddies properties near Cortland, NY. The
previous 2 season I'd scored on does and had only seen 1 buck
. Unfortunately it was crossing in the late morning while I
was approaching my stand and didn't offer a shot. My buddy Dave
had scored on a nice 5 point in 2004, but had seen a couple
of nicer 8 pointers off of his property line.
After verifying the stand looked good we went back to the house
and sighted in the shotguns. We decided that since my stand
offered the farthest shooting opportunities, I'd be shooting
the more accurate of the 2 guns. Little did I know how important
that decision would be on the following morning.
It took me a while to find my stand again in the early morning
darkness. Eventually I got my bearings and climbed into my stand
in the cold darkness of early morning. Throughout the morning,
I saw 7 or 8 does, but no bucks. Around 10 am I heard a shot,
and learned Dave's cousin Jimmy had scored on a nice 9 pointer.
Then around 11:30 a doe appeared through some brush below the
hillside that my stand looked over. She walked through an opening
and was quickly into some more brush and disappearing. I realized
that had that deer been a buck I wouldn't have had a shot because
I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I began paying more
attention to this area in the hopes a buck would be following
the doe . The rut seemed to be in full swing.
I saw nothing for the next hour or so but was determined to
wait it out. The buck I'd seen the previous season had been
moving late morning, at a time many hunters go in and grab lunch
or some rest. All of sudden I saw antlers moving in the brush
coming the opposite direction the doe had been traveling earlier.
The deer had his head down and was moving with a purpose. I
got my gun into position and held on the small opening I new
was my only shooting lane. As the buck stepped into the open
I let out a deer bleat. This was something I'd never tried before,
but it worked like a charm. The buck stopped broadside and I
took aim and fired. It dropped in its tracks 85 yards away.
It had been 20 years since my last decent buck and this one
was far nicer. All in all it was well worth the wait.