I left work a little early on that Thursday afternoon, because Wisconsins last week of early bow season coincides with peak rut, and I wanted at least an hour in the stand. I had on low leather boots, so I needed to cross the drainage ditch to get to my tree stand on the other side on some logs that spanned the ditch. I got into my stand and got myself ready seated on a small 2x4 bench. The drainage ditch ran aside of me and some marshy woods between my stand and the subdivision I live in. God blessed me with the opportunity to buy this land I grew up hunting and trapping on a few years previous, and its so very convenient to home. I had killed my first buck here, a five pointer, when I was 19, after hunting six years unsuccessfully. I was listening to the kids playing ball in the subdivision when the sound of marsh grass swishing got my attention. A fork horn buck came along the edge of the ditch, and when he came to the scent of me walking to my tree he looked all around, including up! He was safe from me, I had decided that no buck so small was a target this year. A good buck was OK but in 30 years of gun hunting and seven of bow hunting I had never gotten a buck I felt like having mounted. The fork horn crossed the ditch, not too alarmed, and ran across the picked corn field into the setting sun.
I had another half an hour to hunt and was glad to at least have had a buck in range already. About fifteen more minutes passed and I saw a buck I knew right away I would try for, in the corn stubble behind me. He was moving towards the ditch cover about 50 yards away. I got turned around on my knee, I drew as he moved out of some willow brush about 15 yards across the ditch. He humped his back and lifted his tail and I sent an arrow on its way. I thought I hit him through the chest but he limped away favoring a back leg. I knocked another arrow because he turned around and came back my way, and I wanted to get another hit if possible. I put my prayer pin on him, he was outside of my range, and prayer is what is needed at that point... I released. The bottom of my bow banged into the 2x4 bench and the arrow flew 10 yards short. But even though he ran into the corn stubble, he didnt run across the field, he walked. I watched him move into a CRP field and out of sight. I lowered my gear down, climbed to the ground and went to where I could cross over the ditch. Going back to opposite my stand I found my arrow; blood from end to end. I ran into the field, because it was starting to get dark and looked for blood. Not seeing any, I ran crouched over to near the edge of the CRP field and spotted him standing in it. As darkness settled, I watched him limp into some trees and brush in the middle of the field. Not making sense of this episode I went to the fellows house whos dad owned the CRP field, a long time bow hunter with more experience than me. I talked it over with him. Dan showed me the food specks in the blood on my arrow and we both agreed that I needed to wait till morning to look for him. I speculated that this buck might have been one that I hit the year before with my muzzleloader, that got away with a hit in the rear end, and maybe limped from that.
The next morning I was awake two hours before daylight. I decided to look with a flashlight since I was awake so early. It was daybreak when I found him. I had found only a couple drops of blood. After 30 years, I had a buck to have mounted. The left side was a little crooked towards the center, so the width wasnt great, but a heavy antlered ten pointer that weighed 185 pounds. My 2315 arrow with a Thunderhead 125 had gone through a lung, the liver, and out the stomach. He limped from an arrow hit in the ham that was healing but was recent enough to be open yet. I debated having mounted, he wasnt Pope and Young, but after 30 years and a bow kill to boot, he went up on the wall.