Hunter: Jason McFarland
Points: 9 (4L, 5R)
When I saw a NW wind behind a small cold front on my weather app, I knew I better take advantage of a free Monday afternoon and get to my dad and I’s Hancock County lease. As soon as I picked my son up from school, we headed straight to the woods to meet my dad. I went to the stand expecting to be able to show my son some deer, but not expecting to witness red hot rut action on October 16th. My son had just finished his homework in the stand when we had a spike come out grunting and chasing two does. He had only ever seen one button head while actually hunting with me before so watching chasing and grunting was a real treat for him. I was explaining to him that it’s not unusual to see young bucks chasing early in the season. Two more does came out in the cut and fed toward our food plot. Just a few minutes later we heard a low deep grunt, and I told him to sit back in his seat as that wasn’t another young buck. I thought the buck was going to come out in the plot as the grunting and crashing got closer, but then I saw a doe 125 yards out in the clearcut and he was right on her tail! I could tell immediately he was a pretty good buck, but I wasn’t sure he was old enough. We have a lot of really nice 3 1/2s on camera this year and really didn’t want to mess up and shoot one. After about 5 minutes of watching him grunt and chase multiple does, I decided he was at least 4 1/2 and told my son I would shoot him if I could get him to stop. That’s when my son started saying, “You got this dad, you can do it, concentrate dad, you gotta focus dad!” I’ve been deer hunting for almost 40 years and I was being coached by a 10 year old, what a priceless moment! Over the next 20 minutes or so I tried numerous times to get the buck to stop, but every time I got the crosshairs on him he would take off after another doe. He left several times and I finally told my son he was gone and we were running out of light, but when two does came running into the food plot he must have seen them as he committed, grunting the entire way. After trying multiple times to shoot him at 140 yards I ended up dropping him in his tracks at 60. I didn’t recognize the buck until I lifted his head and saw the G4 on his right side and realized he was a 4 1/2 year old buck we called Bullwinkle. Not my biggest or oldest buck, but by far the most special as I got to share the hunt with my son and the recovery with my dad! Not sure it can get much better!