10/7/16 Klymit Static V
As luck would have it my elk season lasted all of two days with another two days spent packing. This left me no choice but to hit the whitetail woods about a month earlier than I usually would. With a pocket full of doe tags and two buck tags this year I was content to spend some time in the stand.
The Bitterroot valley is a gorgeous place in the fall and September 15th was no exception. The cottonwood leaves were beginning to take on a slight tint of yellow and a cool breeze made me glad to have brought my wool hat. Kim and I were in a pair of tree stands placed about 150 yards apart. We were hoping to intercept some deer leaving an alfalfa field and heading back to bedding cover along the river. We decided to wait till about 9 to shoot any does in case a mature buck wandered by. A steady stream of deer filtered into our woods at first light. Several small bucks passed by and several does offered tempting targets as we patiently waited. Suddenly I saw a mature buck closing in from my right. The increase in heart rate instantly told me this buck was a shooter. As luck would have it he turned and fed by at 15 yards. One shot through the chest and he tipped over a mere 45 yards from my stand. While I was thanking the Lord and letting my heartbeat return to normal a small group of deer moved through from Kim's direction. One deer stood out among the rest. He had a tall rack full of tines and even though I only saw him for a few seconds I knew I would love to punch my second tag with him. As Kim met me by my buck we talked about "the big one that got away". She said we will call him "Big Boss". "I don't care who gets him" she said, " as long as he ends up on our wall".
The fall flew by as we spent time training a new puppy and punching a few doe tags. Though we were always hoping to see "Big Boss" again he spent his time in hiding preparing for the rut. The days flew by and encounters with mature bucks were few and far between. After a dark to dark sit the 3rd Saturday in November I started to question myself. I knew "Big Boss" should be chasing the ladies but I was only seeing small bucks. The next day while sitting in the stand I noticed a tree I have passed by many times begging for my stand. I climbed down at midday and moved to this new tree for the remainder of the day. Right before dark I had a 4x and a 5x chase a doe right under my tree. Although they were too young I felt this was a good omen. Black Friday was my next chance to sit this stand. This is one of my favorite days to be in the stand as last year I watched Kim drop two bucks with two perfect shots on this day. The morning started in the pitch black heading to my stand. A shooting star flashed out of the western sky and I smiled and silently made a wish. The morning was silent so I was extra careful to be quiet as I climbed into my stand. Right away I noticed a young buck pestering a doe out on the gravel bar. I grunted to him just to see if I could get a response. As I was watching him I heard something in the grass and turned my head and there he was! "Big Boss" was about 60 yards out snooping around. I grunted to him and he slowly headed in my direction. He came to about 40 yards and froze, surveying the area for the buck he heard. After what seemed like a eternity he let out a huge grunt and started my way at a steady walk. I drew back and he obliged by stopping broadside in my opening. I hastily aimed and let the arrow fly. I didn't see the hit but instantly knew he was hit hard by the way he was running. Just as doubt started to enter my mind I watched him crash to the ground only 75 yards out. I've never really believed in shooting stars but that may have changed...