Last night was the coldest night I've hunted this November, and it wasn't even very cold.
I got in my stand early since I wanted to put a few tree steps in and put up my camera arm, since I'd taken that all down when I left for my trip to Illinois. Unfortunately, there was a doe under my stand when I got there. The night wasn't off to a good start. Once I was in my stand, my bow ready, camera arm up, video camera set, I decided to put my treesteps in.
20 minutes later I was still trying to put the same treestep in. Frustrated, I finally gave up and decided it wasn't important. There were already about a dozen does in the far field, and a few of them were acting kind of crazy. I expected that there would be a buck along shortly.
I was sitting in my stand playing with my cell phone, not really paying any attention to my surroundings, when I heard some leaves rustling behind me.
Probably just a stupid squirrel, I thought. I wish they would all die.
The rustling continued, and in a few seconds I quickly realized that it wasn't sounding like a squirrel. I twisted around in my tree stand to look behind me across the field, and saw nothing. But, by now, whatever it was was almost directly beneath me, and my view was blocked by the tree.
Leaning forward, I looked around the tree and saw a big 8 point walking along the deer trail towards the brook. He had come from across the field, directly behind me, so I had never heard him until he entered the stand of trees where all the dry leaves fell.
I had seen him several times out in the far field feeding with the does, but he'd never come directly under my stand.
Should I shoot, should I shoot, should I shoot?? That's all I could think as he rapidly got farther and farther out of bow range, until it was too late. Not sure if I had done the right thing, but still very much wanting to hold out for Mr. Big, I trained the camera on the rapidly disappearing buck.
He was gone in a matter of seconds, and I sat back in my stand unsure of whether or not I'd made the right decision. A few minutes later, a button buck came through following the same trail. It clicked in my mind that the doe that had been under my stand when I walked in, had probably been in heat since they were following the trail she had gone.
Later, reviewing the footage of the buck, I was a little sorry I hadn't shot. He wasn't as big as Mr. Big, but he was a really nice buck, and if I didn't see him again, I most probably wouldn't see another buck as nice as him unless Mr. Big showed up. But I figure, why settle for less than what I want? The season isn't over!