By Kate Stankiewicz
This deer and I have a lot of history. I’d been watching him since April of this year. Back when he was still in velvet in September I got video of him and decided this was the buck I wanted to shoot and I named him "Wide Load".
I hunted almost every day during bow season and checked my trail cams religiously. I hunted all of bow season and only saw a couple small bucks and a fawn. I was getting agitated and knew I needed to move my tree stand location. So on November 6, 2020 at three in the afternoon I decided to move my main tree stand to a location I'd walked through only twice this year... both times bumping deer out of that area.
On November 7th I climbed my tree stand with my crossbow and before the sun came completely up I had multiple coyotes come through and I was able to harvest a small female. The next morning I climbed my tree stand hoping I’d get a chance at a nice deer, but instead I had a 2 1/2-year-old buck come in. My patients was wearing thin so I let the arrow fly. I harvested a six pointer and for the rest of the bow season I was kicking myself in the butt because the day after when I climbed my stand not 40 minutes later did the buck that I'd set my sights on walk right by me.
On November 9th I watched the buck I had been seeing all year sneak by and all I could do was watch him walk away. So I continued to hunt hoping to connect with this deer.
Morning came quickly, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, but somehow I crawled myself out of bed... got dressed and went to the property. I had decided I was going to hunt lower on the property in the thicket in hopes of seeing a buck following a doe. I pulled off the road and began to pack up my stuff when I decided not to sit there because the stand did not have a hot seat. I put everything back in the truck and drove up the hill, parked and continued to the stand I'd sat in the day before without of deer.
The day was like any other day in the stand. The sun came up, the birds started singing and the squirrels were rustling, but something seemed different. I had my nose in my phone talking about deer with other hunters when I heard strange noises behind me coming in close and quickly. It was a buck tending a doe. They weren’t more than 40 yards from me, but I couldn’t see them through the trees. From on the kind of noises I was hearing coming from the buck I knew he was breeding that doe, but I didn’t know what buckit was or if I’d even get a shot.
I pulled up my gun and had it facing in the direction of the deer when the doe finally took off running. I wasn’t sure where the buck went. So, I pulled out my Extinguisher grunt call and let out a couple grunts followed by a doe bleat, then waited. It was pretty quiet and I wasn’t sure where that buck went. I grunted another couple of times and heard a snort wheeze. I then saw a white tail, pulled my gun up and looked through my scope.. and there he was. Within about 15 seconds I saw half of his rack and knew who it was. He was walking away through the ticket. I had a clear shot at the shoulder and I took it. Everything happened so quickly, but I knew I shot my buck and couldn’t have been any happier.
As soon as I took the shot I saw the deer kick and knew I got him... he didn’t go very far. I watched him take a couple leaps and then disappear and didn’t hear anything more. When I finally got out of my tree stand to look for the blood trail I found the he wasn’t more than 25 yards from the spot I'd shot him.
Deer season 2020 was not easy, but it was a blessing as I was able to hunt way more days than normal. I learned a very valuable lesson about being patient while hunting bigger deer and I hope that anybody that read the story could have gained some insight on the how important it is to let the little ones walk if you want a big buck. Fortunately for me I got lucky and had a second chance at the deer I was after.
Kate's 9-point was taken in the Town of Windsor, NY in Broome County on November 28, 2020 with her 30-30
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