Northern Indiana

10/18/2008:

My husband and I were out in our ladder stand overlooking a freshly-cut bean field.  We had taken our video camera with us for the first time.  Just a few minutes before dark, two bucks came out to feed;  one small fork horn and a larger tall-racked one.  The bigger buck spent some time working a scrape and licking branch at the field edge.  We captured about 15 minutes of video before the light faded.

One of the deer was just a stone’s throw away as we carefully climbed down in the dark.  Neither deer spooked when we left, but it made for a nervous trip out knowing they were behind us on the same trail.  Returning home, we watched the video footage we just shot, and wondered if we would see the big buck a.k.a. “Tall Boy” ever again.

10/19/2008:

The next day, I decided on the spur of the moment to hunt our stand again.  My husband was staying home to watch the F1 race, and he thought I could go out hunting for a few hours alone.  The weather was fore-casted to be mild;  50 degrees, light wind and no rain.    By the time I did my normal prep, it was around 3 o’clock before I arrived on stand.  I saw an occasional squirrel or flock of songbirds, but no deer showed up for about 3 hours.

A little after 6 pm, a mature doe and yearling stepped out on the other side of the field.  They fed for a few minutes, then the doe suddenly stared right at me, blowing and stomping her foot.   She pranced around the field and carried on for several minutes, but would not leave.  I froze in the stand, afraid to move or even make eye contact.

Another yearling and a fork horn buck came out into the field.  The little buck immediately began dogging the doe.  The entire group started trotting around the field, doing their best to avoid the young buck.  One by one, all the deer disappeared as the buck chased them into the trees.

With the field now empty and believing I was probably done after the alarm the doe had sounded, I hung up my bow and considered leaving soon.  I slowly let out a deep breath and tried to ease the tension between my shoulders.  Moments later, I glanced over my left shoulder and saw another small buck along with two does.  A few minutes passed, then the small buck looked back at the trees as a big buck stepped out.

Not believing my eyes, I blinked several times to clear my vision and used my binoculars to look at the deer more closely.  Tall Boy had returned!  I again grabbed my bow and quietly waited while the deer slowly worked towards me.  Another doe came out to join the group.  Soon, the whole herd was coming near me to feed on some tender new grass under my stand.  The four other deer were within 20 yards and facing me.  I knew I would have to shoot sitting down with so many deer so close.

Tall Boy walked to within 15 yards and stopped perfectly broadside.  I waited for his front leg to go forward to make for a higher-percentage shot.   I leaned forward, canting and drawing the bow at the same time.   My only opening was thru a large fork in the tree.  In the instant I came to full draw, the deer lifted his head and looked right at me.  Afraid he would jump the string, I aimed low on his chest and released the arrow.

All the deer scattered, running in opposite directions across the bean field.   By the time the others had disappeared, my deer was lagging behind.   He slowed to a walk, then stopped next to the scrape he had worked the day before.   He staggered, then tipped over sideways, disappearing into the trees.   I heard a loud crash, then the woods became completely silent.

It was now about 7:15 pm and I knew that darkness was coming within minutes.   I quickly gathered my gear and climbed out of the tree.   I walked softly over to the last place I had seen the deer and peeked into the woods.   Just 10 feet into the tree line, I saw the white belly and horns of my deer.   He had only ran about 75 yards from where I had shot him.   I went to him and saw that he was not getting up.    My single shot had been all that was necessary.   I laid my hands upon his rack and said a prayer of thanks for this precious gift.

I called my husband with the news and asked for his help recovering the deer.  When he arrived, we discovered the joy of field dressing by headlight and flashlight, not the optimal conditions for sure.  We checked him in the next day, and found his weight to be 180# dressed.


After 7 long years of waiting, with many close encounters and missed opportunities, I have finally harvested my first deer.  He was everything I had ever wanted, truly a deer of my dreams.