Two Good Deer Seasons
February 5, 2019
Editorial Staff (296 articles)
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Two Good Deer Seasons

Bowhunting Success, Back to Back Seasons

By Eric Boley

There’s something magical about being in a deer blind and waiting for daylight to arrive. The mind wanders through all the possibilities of what might be seen. It’s incredible how still the world is as it waits for the new day to arrive. I’ve been blessed to hunt in the Texas Hill Country for many years. I still get just as excited for each hunt as I did the first time I traveled to Texas to try my luck at bowhunting whitetails.

I try to get in the blind at least an hour before daylight, allowing the area to settle down and get back to normal before shooting light. I love the eerie calmness that pervades the predawn. There’s very little sound, except the occasional rodent rustling in the leaves, or a raccoon trying to find a morsel of corn or some other treat. Gradually, night gives up its grip on the darkness and the light of the new day arrives.

Shadows materialize and take shape. Even with a good set of binoculars, it’s tough discerning shapes in the predawn obscurity. The world awakens from its slumber. More small animals scurry around as songbirds chirp and hop from limb to limb, and welcome the morning with their beautiful voices.

Two such mornings stand out in my hunting memories. These two days took place almost exactly one year apart. Here are those stories.

A date with “Double D”

The trail cameras showed a big 10-point visiting one of my favorite stands that we called “South Ridge.” My good friends, Ronnie Parsons and Justin Duyck, spend every weekend of the Texas deer season on the ranch. With me living in Wyoming, I rely heavily on them to monitor the deer activity and to keep me informed. We nicknamed the big 10-point “Double D” because of the matching devil points he had coming off the front of both eye guards.

As the season progressed, he became a regular at South Ridge, with Ronnie and Justin monitoring his activity. We watched the weather and predicted wind direction, and when all the stars seemed to align, I arranged a trip to San Angelo and then to the ranch. Lady Luck held and the wind was supposed to be out of the north, which would be perfect for the blind. After arriving late in the evening, I planned to be in the blind well before daylight the next morning.

The trail camera photos showed Double D showed up very regularly, and normally right at first light. As I watched the shadows dance and move outside the blind, I did all I could to see antlers on those shadowy figures. I strained my eyes, and used good optics, but there still wasn’t enough light. I could see several forms I knew were deer, but that’s all I could determine for sure.

Eventually it became light enough to see. The songbirds awoke and welcomed the day with their cheerful melodies. I took time and examined each deer I could see, expecting Double D, but finding only does, yearlings and couple of small bucks. Sunrise came and went and I still didn’t see Double D.

Painfully patient

I was crushed and began to doubt he’d ever show. Had I spooked the big buck as I entered the blind hours before? Had he circled down wind of the blind and smelled me? All my planning and the quick trip to Texas—the ol’ buck was a no-show.

I decided to stay in the blind, read a book, and wait. I heard movement off to the left side of the blind. I quietly closed my book and slowly and carefully looked out the small side window. I saw nothing there. Dejected, I sat back and glanced out the front window and was shocked to see Double D standing there broadside.

I hurriedly, but quietly, picked up my bow and attached my release to the string. I already had an arrow nocked. I slowly drew my bow, fighting the adrenaline and trying to control my breathing. I settled my 20-yard pin tight to the front shoulder and right in the pocket and punched the release.

I watched my perfectly placed arrow and broadhead hit the mark and zip through Double D. At the shot, he quickly turned and bolted out of view, heading to the left of the blind. Just that quick, it was over. I immediately began shaking from the adrenaline and took some time to calm down and gave the buck time to expire.

I gave the buck a good 15 minutes before exiting the blind. I found my arrow and I could tell from the sign the shot was true. After a short 50-yard tracking job, I found Double D piled up and I finally got the chance to wrap my hands around those magnificent antlers and admire Double D up close.

Typical “Trip”

The following year I made another trip to San Angelo and met up again with Ronnie and Justin. One particular stand was very active. A deer we named “Trip,” because of his three non-typical points on top of his 10-point typical frame, was the new regular. Unfortunately on this visit to the ranch, the weatherman was wrong and the wind was terrible for hunting in the blind for the first few days of my hunt. However, I kept busy and helped with the deer management program by taking a couple of does, while waiting for the wind to get right.

Trip

Eric with his friend, Ronnie Parsons (left), and Eric’s second buck, “Trip.”

On the fourth morning in camp, the wind was supposed to blow from the east, shifting midday, and would be my only chance to hunt from the blind we called “Horse Trap.” I was once again in the blind way before daylight, waiting and watching as the world awoke. Darkness gave way to daylight, and deer activity took place in front of the blind. Does and yearlings fed and frolicked.

A couple of small bucks cruised through, looking for receptive does, but Trip was a no show. With this being my only chance to hunt from the stand, I decided to stay until the wind switched.

Late in the morning, the does in front of the stand all went on full alert, staring off towards the south. I was convinced they were watching a ranch hand or one of the oil field workers driving through an adjacent pasture. The does began to stomp their front feet and blow, alerting every deer in the vicinity something was amiss. Their tails all came up and they all turned and bolted out of sight to the north.

Another no-show?

With my head in my hands, I sat in the blind, perplexed as to why Trip hadn’t shown. The rut had begun, and maybe he was tending a doe. I also wondered what had caused the does to blow and run. I decided to gather my stuff and head back to the ranch house.

But at that moment, I heard the unmistakable sound of hooves striking stone and looked through the front window. I saw Trip strolling into my shooting lane. He was staring off to the north, the direction all the does had gone.

I quickly grabbed my bow, hooked my release to the string, and quickly came to full draw. Trip stood broadside and took a step forward, moving his left front leg forward and exposing his vitals. That’s all I remember. The next thing I knew, the arrow went through the buck.

At impact, Trip turned and ran straight away from the stand, heading east. I watched him until he vanished in the mesquite and cedar thickets. After composing myself and giving Trip plenty of time to expire, I followed the ample blood trail and found my buck 150 yards from the blind.

I had been blessed two years in a row with two incredible Hill Country bucks and memories that will last forever.

Read this story and others in the latest issue of The Journal, on newsstands now.

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