Never a Lesser Hunt
Posted on January 15, 2013
When it comes to bowhunting, pursuing bucks around home, regardless of size, is as special as it comes.
I may never shoot another 140-inch whitetail. I took the last one the second year after my wife’s father left us 90 acres nestled in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozark mountains. Though I’d never seen the heavy, long-tined buck, I’d found his large rubs along the top of a hardwood ridge, prompting me to place a stand in a narrow gap on the ridge top. I was fortunate to slip an arrow into his vitals only the third time I sat the stand. He came searching for the two fighting bucks I had imitated with a small Knight and Hale rattle bag. It was a beautiful sight! The Mathews bow performed flawlessly as it had on several occasions. That has been a few year back.
My hopes were running high the next year when my Deloris, my wife of 40 years, told me of a much bigger buck that was chasing does in the food plot below the back yard. Close to the clover plot was a corn feeder that, beginning in July, I had filled with corn for the sole purpose of getting a fawn count of the does around the place. The plot and feeder served as our game camera, but with this setup we could see the deer with our own eyes.
“He’s as big as what you see on the front page of your magazines,” Deloris insisted. Several sightings later—always by Deloris from the comfort of our home—she gave the large buck the name “Bull.” I’m embarrassed to admit that for the next four years I bowhunted Bull without laying eyes on the guy. Deloris tortured me with each sighting, mostly while I was on a stand within shouting distance of the house. But I never saw him.
Though I failed to harvest Bull, a lucky hunter shot him during the rifle season, which falls during the most active rutting time for Arkansas whitetails. I was saddened to learn of his demise, largely because we seldom see high-scoring bucks in the foothills. The reality is that bowhunters around here are fortunate to get to target a Pope-and-Young-quality buck. We simply don’t have many of them.
I will openly tell you that I’d like to get to hunt behemoth bucks like the ones found in the Midwest. Television shows filmed in Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and other well-known big-buck states once struck envy to the core of my being. I so longed to hunt such a quality hit list that is common there. Perhaps someday that will be in the cards, but for now, I’ll wait for one of Bull’s offspring. I’ll not be settling for a lesser hunt just because I choose to hunt at home, though.
By Roger B. Hook