photo of a deer killed by Dan Woodallphoto of a deer killed by Dan Woodallphoto of a deer killed by Dan Woodall

Hunter: Dan Woodall

Points: 11 (6L, 5R)

County: Jones

Season: 2016-2017 (Week 9)

Hunt Story

It was the third and last day of the Piedmont NWR firearm hunt. I had passed on a spike and two doe on the first day, saw nothing on the second day, and was now concerned that I would be going home with no meat for the freezer. The weather was far from ideal, winds were a steady 10 mph and gusting to 15, and temperatures were in the low 60s. It was about 0930 and I had been in my Summit tree stand in a tall red oak since 0630 and had seen nothing; even the squirrels and chipmunks were hunkered down in the wind. I had only heard half a dozen shots that morning and had resigned to the fact that this was not going to be my day. As soon as I told myself I would give it 10 more minutes, I saw what looked like a small horse with antlers running full speed up a hill about 200 yards across from me. About a minute later, a doe jumped out of the sweetgum saplings and took off in the opposite direction. I knew that buck was chasing, so anticipating his return, I stood up to give myself a better shot and sure enough a minute later he came barreling back down the hill following the direct path the doe had taken. He was moving so fast I couldn’t stabilize my Leupold scope on him, and he disappeared over the hill where the doe had gone. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment because I knew I had just missed an opportunity I would probably never have again. But moments later, a smaller buck came full trot down the hill opposite me and followed the path of the larger buck and doe. Again, I could not steady my scope on him and again I watched another buck disappear over the hill. My roller coaster of emotions was back down and I stared in amazement until out of the corner of my eye a third buck (about the same size as the smaller buck) came full trot along the same popular path and over that same hill. There was a serious party going on over that hill. Four or five long minutes passed as I stood in my tree stand, facing the tree, my leg was shaking from the adrenalin and excitement. Then God smiled down on me and one of the smaller bucks appeared at the top of the hill and was heading back down toward me. I had hung a couple of estrus wicks 20 yards away prior to climbing the tree, and he had obviously picked up the scent, even in the strong winds. He was walking at a pretty good pace and when he got about 60 yards away, I gave a feeble attempt at a doe grunt, but it was enough to get him to stop and look. I put my crosshairs just behind his left shoulder and squeezed the trigger. He dropped instantly and after another 10 minutes in the stand, the other smaller buck came back down the hill. He was about 200 yards away and kept moving away. I climbed down from the oak and walked over to this big, beautiful animal. Although there was another buck even bigger than this one, I feel very grateful for the sacrifice this animal made. The Piedmont Rangers at the check station weighed him at 123 lbs, 4 1/2 years old, and 11 points.
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