In November, most people think of football and Thanksgiving, but not deer hunters. November marks the Whitetail deer rut and the best chance to see a mature buck moving in the daylight. Like most deer hunters, I try and spend as much time as possible during this precious period in a stand.

The date was November 7th and I was headed out to my stand early in the afternoon. I had a good feeling that I was going to have some action. The wind was 5-10 out of the southwest and the temperature was in the 30’s– a perfect day. After 2 hours of being in the stand, I had my first action. A large group of does were heading right for my tree stand. I was excited because I knew a buck could be right behind them but I also knew that a large group of does is very dangerous. With a lot of does come a lot of eyes, noses, and ears. I watched the does for 40 minutes and all of them came within bow range. About this time I realized that my legs were crossed and my right leg was completely asleep. I started focusing on the weird feeling and after a while couldn’t tolerate it any more. I had to change positions. Huge mistake. One of the does saw me or heard me and blew. Any deer hunter knows this terrible sound. Then one by one the does took off and continued to blow 150 yards into the woods. Might as well have sounded a foghorn. Still, I decided to stay the course. After another 30 minutes of no action, however, I was ready to give up. I remember thinking “well this year may just not be the year” and “why can’t I just get lucky just once”. I was overcome with feelings of doubt and pessimism. I just knew I was not going to get lucky this year. We have all experienced these thoughts. Then above all these negative thoughts, I heard a strange noise behind me, a grunt. There is only one animal that makes a grunt like this in my neck of the woods and it is a male whitetail. My heart started thumping as I heard crashing through the woods. I looked over my left shoulder and saw a doe running as fast as she could. Then, like a bat out of hell, I saw a antlers behind her. I didn’t even need to look at him through my binoculars. I knew he was a stud and a shooter. My mind started racing and I thought of every scenario possible. Soon I realized that the doe was going directly down wind from me and she might smell me before the buck was in range. This was when everything started to turn south. In anticipation of the doe smelling me, I decided that I would draw back on the buck and shoot him the first chance I had instead of waiting for him to get in a cleared shooting lane. As I drew back my bow, my hand hit a limb and my cam hit the stand making a loud banging noise. The doe saw me and took off with Mr. Buck still chasing her. I successfully drew back and waited for him to stop. At 35 yards he did. I knew this could be my only chance. I squeezed my finger on my release and let an arrow fly. In my excitement I had not realized that there was a limb 2 feet in front of me directly in my line of fire. I watched helplessly as my arrow hit the limb and shot off to my left and drilled a tree. Amazingly, the shot didn’t spook the buck. He continued to follow the doe and ran out of my range. I felt like a Mack truck had just hit me. I wanted to cry. I had worked so hard to shoot a buck during the season and I had messed up my chance. Because i did not scare him with my miss, I believed that I many get another crack at him later in the year. I never saw that deer again in person but did get a shot of him on a trail camera. He is impressive! This year- advantage Mr. Buck. All I can hope for is that he gives me a retribution shot next year but until then I am just left with a reminding trail camera picture…

-Grimes Clark




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s