Dougherty County Bow-Buck From Marine Corps Base

Michael Layfield's 1997 bow-buck.

Reader Contributed | November 15, 1997

By Michael Layfield

On Oct. 27, 1997 I hunted a pine grove on Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia. The wind was out of the northwest at 15 mph and the temperature was dropping into the low 40s. Earlier in the day while working I saw a buck bedding with a doe in this same area. The buck looked like a nice trophy for a bow-kill, and I decided to try my luck.

At 3 p.m. I took off work and was in the stand by 3:45. I decided to go upwind and work toward the area where I had seen the deer earlier that day. Yes I know upwind was probably not the best tactic, but I had a plan to do some rattling and try to draw old buck toward me. Any good hunter knows that if you rattle a buck he always works downwind of the smell and come in. Well, I had Tink’s #69 out and was wanting the wind to help me. After getting situated in my Summit climber, I started doing short soft burst of rattling that would sound like two buck sparing.

It was now around 5:15, and three round of rattling and grunt calling was gone. Something told me in my mind to be still for the next few minutes. After about five minutes a large-racked buck appeared. I put the binoculars on him and saw he had good mass and nice long times. His neck was swollen and was in full rut. (neck measurement 29 inches). The deer appeared about 50 yards out but pointed in my direction. After a couple minutes the buck started toward me. When the buck got within 25 yards and walking broadside I shot my Browning Mirage bow. The shot was low and too far back. The arrow went clean through but had a lot of gut.

I shot the buck at 5:45 and watched him go toward a thicket and bed. I really felt the deer would die but it would take some time. I decided not to track the deer that evening because of fear he would bolt and be gone. I marked the spot where the deer was hit and marked in my mind the thicket he was in. The next morning I got two Marine Game Wardens and at 7 we started tracking the deer. We found the deer bedding in a thicket of short oaks and pines. When we approached the deer he bolted and ran 100 yards across a pecan grove stumbling and almost falling in the grove. I marked the spot he where he entered another section of woods and decided to take my bow and go in the thick area and finish the kill. I made the second chance shot count. He ran another 50 yards and died in that same pecan grove. (October 28,1997 at 9:45 a.m.)

I truly believe that had we tried to track this buck the evening of October 27, I may not have ever seen the deer again.


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