During my first stop at the Milk River in MT, the bucks were pushing/chasing does a week earlier than usual. On my last morning in a stand this great 11-pointer (no drop, but a split G-2 on the left side :) nudged a doe to 8 yards beneath and behind my tree and stood there guarding her for 10 minutes, panting and grunting and wheezing, causing my heart to hammer and my knees to wobble with wonderful excitement.
I dared not turn and peek back and try to shoot him--I've spooked way too many bucks by moving too early and foolishly trying to force the shot. When a buck is tight behind you, you're better off chilling and waiting for him to make the first move, then you react to him--do it fast but smooth and shoot when you can.
I stood frozen, trembling, holding my bow up and out, until the doe cut around in front of my stand. I heard the buck coming hard on her heels and drew. This was the 8th big deer I'd drawn on this week; I needed to finally close the deal.
He cut by 7 yards straight down; I voice-grunted, he jumped straight up in the air (they don't usually do that, but he did it, I think, because the grunt was so loud and so close) and when his hooves hit the ground I fired an arrow and killed him dead.
Luke Strommen came to see my deer. We bear-hugged, shook hands, smiled, chattered and admired the awesome animal for a long time in the sunny, chilly river bottom. In the minutes after you shoot a buck, you still shake with excitement; you're happy, giddy...and a bit sad. To share all that with a good friend and a good hunter who knows all the emotions you are going through makes your buck kill all the sweeter.
If you are a serious bowhunter you ought to think about hunting with Luke. He guides a select few hunters each fall on 6 miles of Milk River ground that has been archery-only for decades. You can go out there and hunt for a week and see 20 to 50 rack bucks in bow range, maybe more, no lie. It's my top place to bowhunt for whitetails in N.A. Call Luke at 406-364-2188 if you're interested.
With a bow buck down, it was off to Nebraska for a rifle hunt, will tell you how that went soon...hope your hunting has been great or at least good...to everybody who sent emails while I was gone, thanks, will be posting some great bucks/stories asap...to everyone who emailed hunting questions, I'll write you back when (if) I get my head above water...thanks for your patience and shoot a big one.