The Beeper Buck
By Dan Wachna
It all started back when I found out my wife was pregnant for the first time. I knew right then that this years hunting season was going to be very short, if any at all. The due date was November 13th. Isn't it funny that this is the best time of the year to hunt whitetails? If you're the type of hunter that i am you like to scout year round, not just prior to the season. This has always increased, tremendously, my chances of killing a buck.
Every year I go on early bow season trips to St. Lawrence County for a couple of days with my friends. Not wanting to cause any undue stress on my wife during the pregnancy, there would be no trips and virtually no scouting this year. I did, however, acquire a beeper from a friend just in case I chose to venture out into the woods.
Where I hunt in Onondaga County is about twenty minutes from my home in Clay, NY. Being early November, which is my favorite time to hunt whitetails, I chose to go. Year after year, the week between November 3rd and the 10th has always been the last seven days of bowhunting for me. The bucks are just plain running around crazy this time of the month.
The Day was Friday, November 8, 1996. I took the day off from work to bow hunt and started out early. This time of year I hunt on the side of a hill that benches off and drops down a steep ravine that leads to a swamp. Where the bench is located has always been a prime breeding area for whitetails. The area has an old snowmobile trail that runs parallel through it, surrounded by dense cover. There is a scrape line about 500 yards long with a scrape every 20 yards. I have several stands placed in high percentage areas that are downwind from approaching deer, offering clear kill shots with a bow.
On this particular morning, at 8:00 am I saw a really nice 8-pointer with three does, but he was just out of shooting range. I tried grunting as the buck followed the does away from me. He couldn't have cared less about another buck in the area. One of the does must have been really hot! About an hour passed, at 9:00 am my beeper went off. We had an agreement that my wife would page me only if it was the real thing. I took off out of the treestand and ran down the snowmobile trail as fast as I could, making all kinds of noise and thinking, "What the hell am I doing hunting so close to the due date?".
All of a sudden I was faced to face with a 6-point buck standing in the middle of the trail. I stopped in my tracks! The buck was as stunned as I was because he gave me time to draw an arrow and get an 8 yard shot at him. The arrow found the kill zone. I marked the spot that I last saw him and continued on my way to make a phone call at the corner store that was close by.
It turned out to be a false alarm. My wife was just checking to see if I would acknowledge the pager promptly. Little did she know that this was the reason for me taking the 6-pointer that day. I went back and found the buck only 50 yards from where I had shot him. I still can't believe he just stood there frozen and allowed me to shoot. He wasn't the largest buck I've ever taken with a bow, but certainly the most memorable. He ended up dressing out at 168 lbs and had an inside spred of 15 1/2 inches.
By the way, my wife had a beautiful baby girl on Sunday, November 17th. We named her Lindsay Elizabeth.