Once In A Lifetime Meriwether Bow-Buck
Hunter's Journal: GON readers share their favorite hunt stories.
By Jason Rieder
I worked all night Saturday night, got off around 7 a.m. and began my drive to Georgia. I knew I wanted to hunt that evening, so I only stopped for breakfast and gas.
I arrived at the ranch around 1 p.m. I got showered and headed to the stand closest to the house. The stand overlooks a large food plot surrounded by woods on three sides.
Around 3:30, three does came out and were feeding off the plot. They all looked toward the tree line to my back and got spooked and ran the other way.
About 40 minutes later, I saw a doe come back out. Then a small 4-point came out and started eating. The 4-point then chased the doe.
At sunset, I began to see more deer coming out to feed. My focus was to my right where I had seen most of the action. I then heard something behind me, so I looked back and saw a larger deer coming in. He came in farther behind and began walking toward my right. I didn’t see him anymore, so I just kept watching. Eventually I heard movement coming toward me. I thought it was the 4-point, so I just waited.
Eventually I saw movement just behind me to my right, and it was a much larger deer. It was at that point I realized I had a shooter with large mass right behind me. I slowly stood up and began to get ready. He was moving behind me roughly 10 yards and was coming to my left. He turned to the right and began to follow the track of the larger doe I had seen earlier. I began to draw on him but tried to do it so slow that I couldn’t get drawn. He was basically right under my stand at that point. I had to let my partial draw down and watch him walk away. I was thinking to myself I just let the buck of a lifetime walk away. I knew that it was pretty much my last chance at shooting light.
About 10 minutes later, I heard something walking back in from his direction. I knew he was close, so I drew my bow. He then walked back the same direction he’d come from, but it had gotten too dark for me to shoot. I held my draw until he walked away and then let my draw go as slowly as possible. He was gone.
A few minutes later, I heard a deer come back my direction grunting, and I had just enough light to see it was him. I watched him walk across the field about 150 yards. I didn’t have my grunt call out, so I was frantically looking for it in my backpack. I eventually got it out and grunted once. I could only see a silhouette at this point, but I saw it stop and look back. He then began to walk back in my direction. About 100 yards away, he stopped. I grunted one more time, and he came in looking for a fight. He came under my stand and searched the area for a long time. I waited and waited, and he would not leave.
I’m texting Eric Poveda the entire time telling him what’s going on. Eric is the ranch owner and the guy responsible for teaching me everything I know about hunting.
By this time, it was dark, and I had lost all visibility.
About 30 minutes go by and I want to get down since I hadn’t eaten since 7 a.m. I shook a branch trying to get him to run off. He ran off but immediately came back. Of course I can’t verify it was him due to the darkness but was fairly confident it was. So I shook a branch again with the same results of him returning. So I shined my light and still heard him circle back around. I eventually made the decision to just get down. I heard movement and heard something go away.
I went back to the house and saw around 10 more deer in the process. Of course it was dark, so I only saw green glowing eyes.
On Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, I got up early, still excited about the night before and went back to the stand I was in the day prior. The woods were completely dead. No movement. Very disheartening. I waited until 11 and gave up. Later that evening I went back to the same stand hoping I would have the same experience as the night prior. The woods were dead again. I got out at dark very disappointed. I knew rain was coming and my window of opportunity was closing. I didn’t think I’d even get the opportunity to hunt the next day due to the forecasted rain. It rained very hard several times throughout the night. I got up later than I should have and saw it was only sprinkling. I rushed to get showered and prepared. I had made the decision the night before that I would go deep in the woods to a stand that I liked because the wind favored it, and I had pulled two smaller bucks off it in prior years.
I got in the stand late, around 6:15. I drove the golf cart as far as I could and then trekked the rest of the way in. I got to the stand and was set up around 6:20.
It was different from the day prior. I saw squirrels moving, and the woods seemed more awake. I was looking in front of me and then heard something behind me. I slowly turned around to my back left and saw the buck I had seen two days prior. He had his head down and was feeding. I slowly stood up and got turned toward him. He then looked up and stared straight at me. I didn’t know what to do, so I just closed my eyes and held by breath. I thought for sure I was busted, and he would run. I eventually squinted one eye open and realized his head was back to the ground. I slowly got my bow, but by this time he had come behind me to my right and was walking under my stand. He was moving downwind, and I knew I had to act fast.
As I turned toward him, my boot made a slight noise on the stand and again he looked straight at me. I froze and just waited. He eventually went back to feeding and walking. I drew on him and just waited. His body was walking away, so I had no shot. He then stopped and turned to his left. This was my opportunity. I put my site on him just behind the shoulder and let loose. My one mistake was not compensating for the distance. I was set at 20 yards, but he was only at 10. My shot was high and I spined him. He fell immediately and was immobilized. He tried getting away with his front legs but fell down a small embankment. This allowed me to get a shot at the heart. I then put a second arrow through his heart, and he fell limp. I got down moments later to realize I had shot the buck of my life. The moment is surreal. I thanked God for a moment I may never experience again.
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