After preparing all summer to get everything right for opening day, it came and went in a flash. The 2010 Ohio deer season opened up September 25th and we had just had a small front come in, which dropped the temperature and brought in some cloud cover. During the summer months, it is time to try and pattern the deer. This is the time when it is most easy to try and make an educated guess about where the mature bucks are going to and from. It is easy when you are able to put trail cameras out or sit over an area and glass for an extended period of time. I was not this lucky. I was able to put the trail camera out a few weeks when I was home on the weekends, but came up with only yearlings, does, and a few basket racks here and there. I knew that there were still a few really nice bucks in the area, from last year footage and sheds found during the winter.
After help my father work during the day, we arrived home around 3:00. He was debating on going out this evening but I had no doubt, the wind was right for the stand I was hunting and the weather was as good as it gets for opening day. I got right in the shower and got scent free. I knew tonight would be good, so I talked him into going out with me. We got the gear out and headed to the woods. We left the house about 3:30 and reached my fathers stand about 4:00. He was sitting about 100 yards from where I was going and would soon get to see the buck I harvested coming right at him. I had made it to the stand, but not before jumping two yearling does that were bed down around the creek running through the woods. Once in the stand, it was time to wait and see if anything would present itself throughout the evening. As the temperature began to fall, the deer seemed to read the script and began coming out of the pines and towards my stand.
Doe after doe coming right under my tree stand had begun to take its toll on me. I knew that once all the does had made their way out of the thicket towards the food, the bucks would be not too far behind. I waited and waited, but nothing else came out the direction the does came. It was not around 6:00 and I hadn’t seen anything for about a half hour. I knew from years of early season hunts, that the older bucks will usually move later in the day, so I just had to wait it out. 6:30 rolled around and I thought I heard something down in the creek to my left about 80 yards off. This was the opposite direction I was expecting the deer to come from, but out stepped a beautiful 4.5 year old 9 pointer. As soon as I seen how wide the deer was I knew what buck this was. We had footage of this buck last year making a rub and browsing around the stand just out of range.
The buck was now about 70 yards directly in front of me, still in the dry creek feeding on acorns. I watched him for about 15 minutes and knew that I had to do something to get his mind off of eating and to start heading my way. I used my truth talker 2 grunt call, given to me by Phillip Vanderpool of Hunters Specialties, and grunted twice very softly. This was enough to get his attention off of the acorns and to try and figure out who was in his territory. He slowly began to make his way towards my stand and I knew I had to get ready, so I grabbed my Z7 and slowly stood up in the stand. He had closed the distance and came into just over 20 yards, where he stopped and made a small scrape along with a licking branch above him. The buck was in range but I did not have a shot yet due to the small tree he was scraping under and another larger tree he was going to walk past after he got done. He began to walk broadside in front of me, then slightly quartered away, that’s when I came to full draw. He stepped into a clearing and I had to stop him with a soft grunt. I settled my 20 yard pin right behind his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. I saw the arrow hit its spot and the buck kicked and took off towards my father.
This is when the adrenaline kicks in, I tried to control myself for a few minutes then I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. My dad called and told me that there was a big buck that just came barreling past him and went down right past his stand. I was so excited that I had harvested a mature buck, but at the same time, a little bummed that my Ohio season was now over. I gave the buck a half hour and got down to go take a look. My father and I walked up to the buck and couldn’t believe how big his body was. His neck was huge for being the 25th of September, and was every bit of 240lbs. After field dressing him, and getting it out of the woods, we took him to the place where every harvest buck on our property has had its picture taken and gawked at. A couple of friends came down and we took more pictures then took the buck to get tagged.
This opening day bow kill is one that I will never forget. When you take the time to make sure everything is ready to go for deer season, including your equipment, and taking scent control serious, you are more likely to be successful in the field. I want to thank Phillip Vanderpool and the people of Hunters Specialties for products that I know for a fact, work in the field and are worth every penny.