A guest post from Special Projects Editor (and Field Notes News Blogger) Dave Hurteau.
I know. It’s not the greatest photo. But it was the best I could do from a treestand, in low light, as the buck cruised by on the heels of a doe.
Last night I returned from an 8-day bowhunt in southern Iowa with F&S Whitetail columnist Scott Bestul. We had a mission: Kill a 150-inch buck. On November 6th, the third day of the trip, with the rut kicking in, we hung a stand in a pinch point between thick doe bedding cover along the edge of a standing corn field. That afternoon, I … … staked a subdominant buck decoy about 15 yards off the stand in a small opening in the otherwise thick hedge pasture, then climbed up to my perch.
Before long, a yearling 8-pointer cruised in from my left, spotted the fake and moved closer, slowly circling the decoy as a snapped a few pictures.
All was quite after that until about a half hour before dark when I heard hurried steps to my left and saw a mature doe running toward the pinch point, looking harried. She spotted the decoy, balked for a moment, then blew through at 10 yards. I thought, “Here we go.” And there he was–a big-bodied buck dogging in the doe’s footsteps, showing lots of bone between the brush and branches. As I drew my bow, he spotted the decoy and stopped dead. Every hair on his body stood up and he started slowly circling the deke in a wide arc, first along the far side, then round to the near, and eventually straight downwind of the imposter, not 5 yards from the base of my tree.
That’s when I decided.
I let down, and quietly reached into my backpack for my camera. So my question to you is–considering that the goal was 150 inches and this was the third day of the hunt–did I make the right decision? Am I nuts? Go ahead, I can take it (I think). But here’s one thing to consider. The blur of the camera makes the buck look like he could be a 10-pointer. He’s isn’t. I had plenty of time to count tines. He’s a straight 8.
Anyway, that said, what do you think he scores? If you were shooting for a 150, would you be shooting?