The morning temperature was a brisk 2 degrees F, but, by afternoon we were treated to a HEATWAVE. Temps had steadily risen throughout the day and had now reached a sweltering 23 degrees F. The plan was to place a decoy, (w/o antlers), near a small cornfield that intersected two clover fields. My bowhunting partner, Robert, would observe the scenario about to unfold from a ground blind, while my task would be to keep shivering to a minimum in another blind approximately 100 yards apart. (A difficult chore even with five layers of clothes on. Drawing a bow with cold fingers and reaching full draw is a challenge in those conditions.)
Divine Intervention was in full display this evening as a six pointer approached my position in the lightly snow covered clover field. He was apparently cruising for receptive does when his eyes caught sight of the decoy. His body language changed and he immediately turned and trotted up to the potential mother of his future bloodline. He mounted the decoy, but his attempt to breed her failed as he slid off her backside. The buck tried a second time to mate with this “hard to please doe,” but was unsuccessful, once more sliding off her. A third attempt to perpetuate his species proved just as futile, resulting in further frustration for the six-pointer. He knocked over the decoy and stomped off; he was visibly upset!
As the day’s bowhunt neared its final minutes, a fawn entered the clover field from the south, and a moment later a mature doe approached the field from the east. Another good-sized doe strolled in from the south using a different trail than did the fawn. All three deer pawed the frozen ground and fed on the greens. Daylight and legal shooting time had reached its last nine minutes when, in unison, all three deer in front of me snapped their heads up, peering to the west. God had chosen this moment in time to bless me once again, as a 4 1/2 year old, forked brow tine, 11 point buck slowly made his way toward the deer in the clover field. He would take two or three steps, pause, lift his head and scent check for any dangers and for the breeding status of the does. Trying to keep emotions in check while creating as little movement as possible, my bow reached full draw. This brute of a buck was now at sixteen yards as the Silvertip recurve seemingly released the arrow on its own, striking very close to the intended mark, but slightly forward. All the deer exploded from the field with the large buck departing south into some goldenrods. Robert joined me and we tracked the buck into a grove of pines, then into more goldenrods. Not wanting to push the buck onto the neighboring properties, we marked the last sign we had before the buck headed into more “set aside,” where snow was much less visible and continued tracking would certainly alert the buck to our approach. As is customary in situations like this, we backed out until morning. After a restless night, we were joined by fellow bowhunter, Jay, and took up the tracking job. We located the buck not too terribly far from where we stopped the previous evening. The following day was the opening of gun season, so we felt elated at recovering this stud when we did.
Grateful to God! Grateful for awesome bowhunting partners! Grateful for the opportunity! Grateful for my wife, Malia, who shares my passion for the outdoors.
- SE Minnesota
- November 7, 2019
- 17:05 hrs
- NW wind @ 5 mph
- Overcast skies
- Schafer Silvertip bow
- 11 point, forked brow tine buck
- 215 lbs. field dressed
- 35 1/4″ neck circumference
- 19 1/4″ inside spread
- 132″ green score
- 52 years of passionate pursuit
- Again, extremely grateful