It was what is considered amongst hunters as late season, when the cold gets colder, and the bucks are on the move. It was my last day, last chance to take down a Dahl Creek Farms (DCF) monster whitetail. It was the morning of December 23rd, the day before I had to make the long cross-state trek back home for Christmas. I woke up eager to get out into the stand. I quickly scuttled out of bed, scarfed down my breakfast and started gearing up for my venture into the bluff country woods. I had several stands to choose from, but I knew the one I wanted. There was an elevated box blind that belong to the Millers, a family friend of the Dahl’s, and there had been a few 150”+ deer harvested out of it.
I got dropped off near the stand and gave Jorgen the traditional fist bump and “good luck” nod and began silently walking into the darkness. It was about a half hour away from shooting time. I hopped up into the blind and got situated and sent my brother a video of what I had to work with. As I was taking the video, I noticed a large dark body trotting towards me. I pull out my range finder for a better look. SHOOTER BUCK. Big body, big rack that’s outside of the ears. This buck is an absolute freak. I ranged him at 37 yards. I slowly pulled back my bow and made sure the shooting lane was clear. 40 yard pin, 3 inches below his lungs and gradually pinched the release and as some would say, “let er’ fly.” It was all in slow motion, my green arrow nock glided right into the body of this beautiful beast. He ran down the bluff and disappeared.
My adrenaline was pumping through the roof. I can’t move. I can’t think. I had, well… buck fever. Most will never experience what buck fever is, but I’ll compare to winning a state championship game, or maybe even winning the super bowl. I tried to call Jorgen and give him the news but my hands wouldn’t work, I couldn’t unlock my phone. 10 tries later I was able to unlock it and I called Jorgen who was already back at the house sleeping. He answered:
Blake “JORGEN! JORGEN! BBD! BIG BUCK DOWN!”
Jorgen “Are you serious?”
Blake “YES BBD BBD”
Jorgen “No way...”
Blake “I CANT STOP SHAKING”
Jorgen “Congrats man! I’ll be up there within an hour. Do not leave the stand.”
Blake “Okay sounds good!”
Between my shot at the deer and Jorgen getting out to the blind, about an hours time had elapsed. His smirk as he got out of his truck was unforgettable; he was just as excited as I was. I gave him a powerful high five and explained the situation in depth. We began tracking the blood trail, which was not hard to find. Jorgen noticed that the blood was a little darker than it should be, which may mean that it was a liver shot and not a lung shot. We found the arrow glistening in blood and 50 yards later found his old bedding area. We decided to back out and talk about the shot some more and give the deer some time to bed down.
A few hours later we headed back out to where we left off. We found one more bedding area but after that, the trail went cold. No tracks, no blood. Every sportsman’s worst nightmare. My stomach was turned upside down. I started giving up. Then I headed up back towards Jorgen, only to find him waving his arms and signaling for me to walk slowly towards him. I finally get up to him and he says:
Jorgen “He is right up this trail. He's bedded down and swaying his head back and forth. Get as close as you can to get another shot but don’t hit the branch in front of him.”
Blake “Okay I’ll try my best.”
Jorgen “You can do it bud.”
I slowly sneak up on the buck. 30 yards... 20 yards... 15 yards... I pull back my bow. 13 yards... 10 yards... 8 yards... 5 yards... he slowly noticed me. I squeeze my release. I hit the branch Jorgen told me not to hit, and things went from bad to worse.
The deer ran down the ridge 50 yards and jumped in the creek. I thought he got away.
Jorgen said, “Keep your head up. Wounded animals always go to the water!”
We waited 30 minutes before we walked down there. We get up to the creek and there he was, floating in the creek. I had harvested my first archery buck, and it just so happened to be a buck of a lifetime. While still in shock of how all of this went down, we pulled him out of the water. Jorgen and I were ecstatic and began taking pictures with the creek flowing by and the bluff country in the background.
This hunt will never be forgotten. A huge hank you to the Dahl family for allowing me to hunt on their beautiful property and to Jorgen for helping me out.
I am Blake McDonald, and that is why I am addicted to whitetail hunting.