Finding the Backyard Buck
It’s September 6th 2019, opening day of Maryland bow season, the weather was cooler than average. I woke up extra early that morning and had plans to hunt a stand close to home, where I had been seeing lots of activity on my Spartan camera. This was the first year I had used a game camera that instantly sent pictures to my phone.
As I was getting ready to head into the woods, I started getting some pictures of does that were moving past the camera and into the near by bedding area. At that point, I decided to head down the road to a different location.
I loaded up all the gear into the Jeep and got on the road. This proved to be a good idea…. as I was driving down the road, my phone started going off with pictures of this really nice 10 point that I was watching for weeks AKA, “The Backyard Buck”. I do not remember much about the morning hunt, all I could think about was the 10 point that had moved back into the bedding area that morning.
After leaving the woods in the AM, I started focusing all of my attention on the evening hunt. I checked the wind and it was perfect for the stand that was just outside the “Backyard Buck’s” bedding area. I packed minimal gear, my camera and my bow. Then proceeded into the woods for the afternoon hunt. I used extreme caution as I got into the stand and set up my gear to self film for the evening. I knew one small sound could send the buck that I was after in the opposite direction.
As the hours passed, I saw several does and a few small bucks, that were local to the area. They were all the same deer I got pictures of that morning. It was getting later, but I still had a good felling the “Backyard Buck” would be moving through with some shooting light left. Around 7pm, a 7 point stepped out of the thicket and was hanging around the area. As I watched and filmed him, I noticed he was looking back towards where he came from, like he was watching and waiting for something.
Could it be him…. the big 10…. “The Backyard Buck”? Was this all about to go down as planned?
All of the factors and pieces of the puzzle making this hunt perfect were falling into place. It was happening, on opening day and on film! All I needed to do was, make zero mistakes and glory would be mine!
As the buck stepped out, I started filming him and to my surprise, he was still in full velvet! I couldn’t believe it! I sat there waiting for him to give me a shot. All I needed was a few more steps forward and I would have a perfect clean shot at his vitals.
I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest and my breathing was getting heavier. Focus Wayne…. focus, I told myself and in that moment the buck made a 180 degree turn and headed back the way he came. My heart sunk… was I going to miss this opportunity of getting a velvet buck of a lifetime?
I knew I had to stay still and keep my composure. Relax Wayne…. relax, it’s not over yet!
I couldn’t see him anymore, so I pushed the camera out slowly to get a better look at were he was. He was still standing there! He hadn’t left! Just standing there deciding on his next move.
I waited what seemed like an eternity. All of the sudden he started walking in the direction that was going to give me a perfect quartering away shot…
I went to full draw…. placed the pin on his heart and released the arrow. I made a perfect shot! I watched him run off, then heard him crash. Could it be? Did that just happen? Was the “Backyard Buck” down?
I turned the camera back on myself and filmed the post shot segment. Then I just sat there for a while, took everything in and reliving the moment.
I waited about 30 minutes, climbed down, retrieved the arrow and proceeded to follow the blood trail. I only had to go a few yards, looked up and saw him laying not 15 yards away with his rack caught up in some vines. I couldn’t resist but to run up to him and finally put my hands on the beautiful velvet 10 point rack of “The Backyard Buck”!!!
Special thanks to Mathews Archery for making equipment that preforms flawlessly in the heat of the moment.