Hunter: Cody Stanaland
Points: 10 (5L, 5R)
I walked to the stand on November 14th with a purpose. We had seen this buck on our cameras several times and knew he had been frequenting several scrapes underneath a white oak tree. The hunt itself was as exciting as you could ever hope. I had young bucks and does underneath me the entire time, with their early rut activity keeping me captivated. I spent most of my afternoon unable to move, with my chest pressed up against the tree. I knew that the buck I wanted would not come out until just before dark, and I was terrified to have my cover blown by one of the four small bucks that seemed to find a home within 30 yards of my stand. It was at 5:20 p.m. that I saw the does and young bucks begin looking towards the wood line off to my right. I couldn’t see anything, but in my gut I knew that it had to be him. Their suspicious behavior persisted for another agonizing five minutes before I finally heard the sort of deep low grunt that makes even the most experienced hunters start to shake with adrenaline and anticipation. I had a total of eight other deer around me when I finally saw him emerge from the tree line. He made a beeline right towards a doe, walking right to left in front of me presenting the perfect broadside shot. I felt a calm come over me, and somehow managed to draw my bow without being spotted. I lined it up in my sight and watched it arc through the air as though in slow motion. I knew before it struck that it was a perfect shot. I could never accurately describe the feeling of elation I felt when I walked up on him, only to see the size of rack. I let out a celebratory whoop in the middle of the woods, calling my grandfather over to show off my new trophy.