-By Brandon Wikman
This fall I sat perched in a Buffalo County cottonwood for nearly thirty days. I tallied hundreds of hours in the tree stand and exerted thousands of hours dedicated to planning, preparing, and pre-visualizing the brief moment I experienced Sunday morning. The moment of successful harvest!
Sunday morning I mailed a carbon shaft arrow ‘express delivery’ into a very respectable whitetail while with my good friends at Bluff Bucks Outfitters. I believe this weekend was by far the best few days in the woods Wisconsin and the Midwest has seen all season. The complex variables of weather, deer activity, rut phase, and luck finally came together. It has surely proven itself through not only my fortune, but also hundreds of happy hunters sporting grins and grabbing antler for picture perfect trophy photos.
The Midwest has just escaped a major rut melt down due to last week’s miserable 70-degree temperatures. Deer activity was sparse and much of the buck activity was during the night when temperatures were cooler. Friday the warm system pushed eastward and we got blasted with a high-pressure system that brought snow with it. Not only did it bring frigid temperatures, but it also brought back the rut.
Sunday morning I woke extra early to get ready. I had to finish washing my clothes and taking a scent-free shower. I definitely needed one after somehow managing to burn an egg omelet. As soon as I walked out the door, I felt a positive vibe in the air. A special feeling hunter’s happen to get every now and then.
In the cloak of darkness, I crept my way through the woods. Watching each and every step, I managed to dodge every crunchy twig en route to my tree stand. I decided to use a young buck decoy anticipating I’d stir a mature buck’s feelings. After placing the decoy, I scaled my tree and prepared for first light.
I sat cold and shivering the entire morning without much deer activity. I spotted my first deer at 9 o’clock in the morning. It was a buck busting through brush chasing a doe. All I could see were antlers and a blob of brown. He never came within a hundred yards of the tree stand.
An hour had passed since I had seen the buck, so I decided to fumble around in my bag for my grunt tube. I barked out a cadence of tending grunts and combined a few estrous bleats to compliment the scenario.
I swiveled my head for a glance behind me and caught movement. As I turned around, there he stood! The buck had my decoy pinned and wouldn’t keep his eyes off. I instinctively reached for my bow and waited for a broadside shot. At only 20-yards away, my arrow found its mark.
This fall has been one of my most memorable hunting experiences yet. I have had an unbelievable encounter with a 160 class 10-point at thirty yards and a handful of 140’s out of distance and camera light. So many obstacles must be overcome when trying to kill a nice buck. This fall in Wisconsin was no different than any other season for me in that it took time, patience, and a little luck.