Hunter: John Swain
Points: 11 (6L, 5R)
Buck management. Two years prior to this eventful morning, I had a picture of this same deer on the trail camera. I had given him the name “Old Spice” due to his grayish features and the fact that if he were a man and had lived this long he would smell of Old Spice cologne. I remember discussing with my brother what a good buck he would be in another two to three years. It was a quiet morning entering the woods. All I could think about was the possibility of seeing this buck and hoping it would happen. I laid a drag rag down as I entered the woodline and slowly crept towards my stand. Given the wind direction and where I was hunting, I decided to hang my drag rag about eighty yards diagonal to my climber. After hanging it, I sprayed estrus here and there all the way back to my climber and then began the ascent. Given the cover of darkness and not having sat this location but once prior, I climbed a little too high, which limited my viewing and shooting opportunities. As the sun arose and the wood ducks began buzzing the tree line I felt privileged and excited to be sitting in such a beautiful place. Morning progressed and the rustling of leaves behind me transformed into a spike traveling with his nose down in search for a wiley-eyed temptress. His movements were brisk and his mission was clear. He hung close to the trail in which he came in on and made his exit. A short time later the rustling returned. I could hear what sounded like movement here and then movement there, but given my location I couldn’t make out anything except the rustling of leaves. Eventually, a doe popped out and was moving quite slow. Her body language and action alluded me to believe that she was not alone. A minute or two passed and the rustling of leaves behind her continued. My heart rate increased as my anticipation built. A buck stepped out. I lost sight of the doe. He took a step here and broke a branch there. He slowly and carefully nudged her a long. Due to stand positioning, I could see his rack and I knew he appeared to be a good buck but I was having trouble aging him. His slow pursuit continued and as he moved he made his way into and out of the crosshairs a couple of times. Not feeling confident in his age or my shot I passed on him. Although I passed, he continued his pursuit being none the wiser. In a matter of seconds, his movements carried him out of my sights and doubt began to enter my head of whether or not I should have let him pass. As his pursuit continued, her course of direction changed as she hit my scent trail and began bringing him back to me. As I watched him approach, I was able to get a better age on him and come to the decision that he was a mature buck. Her movements brought him right along my scent trail but limbs and brush prolonged the wait. I could see my window of opportunity drawing to a near close but fortunately patience paid off. She then moved about twenty five yards in front of him and he began to cut the distance. As his pace increased to her, she stopped. He took a couple more strides and stopped, leaving me with a narrow opening for a shot. I took it. She bolted and he made it about thirty yards before piling up. After a prolonged wait I descend the tree and made my way to him. As I approached, I could clearly see the mass of his antlers and that he still had some remaining velvet on him. I returned home with my buck and upon further inspection my buddies and I were able to confirm that it was in fact, the elusive Old Spice.