Submitted By: Pete Gamet ©2005 on 8/25/2005
We all have had an experience with what is called Buck Fever. I still get Buck
Fever every once in awhile and to tell the truth am glad I do. If I didn't, I
know it is time for me to hang up the bow and stay home. This about one of my
first experiences with a big older buck that I can still picture as it was
I woke up an hour before dawn with anticipation of the morning's hunt. I got
dressed, smoked a cigarette and had my morning coffee. I then checked my hunting
gear and loaded it in the truck. After I double-checked everything, I started the
truck and headed for my hunting spot.
While driving, I couldn't stop thinking about the buck I seen the night
before. Before long I was at my hunting location. I parked the truck on the side
of the road and unloaded my gear. Since it was still dark, I needed my flashlight
to find my way through the woods to my stand. When I got to the stand, I clipped
my bow to the lanyard and climbed up to my stand. I hauled up the bow and settled
in to watch the first rays of sunlight come through the trees. Before long I
could make out the different landmarks around my stand.
I didn't have to wait long and I could hear the turkeys coming off of their
roost in the distance. They would eventually make their way to a clearing just to
the north of my stand. Sure enough, there they were, out in the middle of the
little clearing of clover and rye grass. I have gotten to know my surroundings
enough to know that deer would be moving shortly there after.
Sure enough the deer did start moving. The first deer I seen that morning was
a doe and her two fawns grazing through the clearing. A half an hour later
another doe with fawns moved through the area. The deer traffic kept up for about
an hour and slowing died down. The only deer I seen were does with fawns.
Then a nice size spike came walking up the trail my stand was by, heading for
the clearing followed by a four-point and a six-point buck. Still no sign of the
buck I seen the night before. More waiting.
About a half hour after the three bucks departed the area, I could hear
movement off in the distance. The sound was like someone or something was walking
through the brush and was not quiet about it. The sound kept getting louder and
louder as the sound was coming closer and closer. By now I am not sure what is
making the noise and am getting a little frustrated. I did not know if it was a
neighbor out rabbit hunting or something else, I just didn't know.
Finally I could see movement through the brush and out comes a frantic looking
doe. Hot on her heels is a big nine-point buck with a drop tine over his left
eye. This was the buck I was waiting for. All the commotion I was hearing was
this buck chasing this doe through the under growth. The doe stopped about ten
yards from my stand and I could see her panting. The buck was pushing her hard.
First the doe would circle my stand and stop, and then the buck would follow her.
All this time they either didn't know I was watching or they were more occupied
with other things. So during this time I am reaching for my bow and waiting for
my opportunity to get a shot at this monster of a buck. The whole time my heart
is just pounding and I am shaking. Finally, he stops ten yards from the tree I am
in and presents a quartering away shot. I draw back, shaking the whole time, aim
and notice a small branch in the way. So I stand on my tiptoes to shoot over this
branch, aim again and release. I watched the arrow skim right over his shoulders
and he didn't even flinch.
The doe had caught her breath and was moving again. I nocked another arrow and
was praying for another shot. That wasn't going to happen. The doe had spotted me
by now and moving away from me taking the buck with her. They went by once more
about thirty yards out with the buck grunting behind the doe. After a few
seconds, they were out of sight but I could still hear the commotion they were
making as they moved off. The commotion was becoming less noisy as they moved
farther away, till all was quiet once again.
I looked at my watch and only fifteen minutes went by from the time the deer
came into view. What a rush it was. Those fifteen minutes felt like an hour had
passed by and I was still trying to gain my composure. After smoking a few
cigarettes and sitting down thinking about what just happened, I was able to
settle back down enough to climb down out of my treestand and make the trek back
to my truck. Thinking no one is going to believe what I had just witnessed. For
that morning I experienced buck fever first hand and even though I missed the
shot of a lifetime. That morning's hunt is one memory I won't forget.
I did some follow up with some of the neighbors over the next couple of years.
They would see the buck out in the fields or from a distance but no one was able
to get close enough to put him down. Eventually, there was no more talk about the
buck with a drop tine over the left eye. I imagine he died of old age, for if
someone had taken him, it would have been talked about at the local hangouts. In
away I am happy I botched the shot and missed. For the next few years I saw his
offspring, all with the same drop tine over the left eye.