SADDLE: Tethrd Mantis
Freshly motivated by Ted on the Hunting Public web-show, I also visualized myself in hero-shots sporting an 80s style, bushy mustache.
The first week of November came and passed at a snails pace but finally it was time to make the four-hour trek to a week dedicated to nothing but bow hunting.
After three days hunting, I had several encounters with good deer, but couldnt connect. With the temperatures expected to plummet I decided to hunt a narrow ridge top funnel connecting a super-thick creek bottom to other intersecting ridge lines on morning #4.
With temperatures below 30 Degrees for the first time there was a chill in the air and I felt a tinge of excitement as I lashed my climbing sticks onto the tree and got my platform situated about an hour before first lite. Realizing I couldnt get very high and still have much shooting opportunity I only ended up about 12ft. high in the scraggly ridgetop oak.
Shortly after sunrise, I caught movement coming down the trail on top of the ridge JUST as Id planned. About fifty yards out I could tell it was a doe and willed there to be a buck behind her. Quickly she was at 8 yards, just below my eye level and perfectly broadsideno clue I was hanging just feet away. At that moment, with the big doe so close I could see her breath, I knew this saddle thing was the real deal (if I didnt already). Unfortunately, no buck was behind her.
Forty-five minutes later I caught movement on the ridge behind me and pulled up my glass, a decent buck was paralleling my ridge with nose to ground! I hit my grunt tube HARD, and grabbed his attention. In less than 30 seconds he closed the 200 yard distance and grew in size with every step he took. His approach path was highly unexpected and I was prepared to have to shoot him at the 6 Oclock position. As the scene unfolded, I made my mind up he was a caliber of deer that I would be tickled to shoot and went into kill-mode. At 20 yards he crossed the trail the doe had taken an hour earlier and began walking straight towards me.
I ever so slowly pivoted in the tree and came to full-draw as he passed behind a small cedar at 12 yards, at 8 yards he stopped and just as soon as my arrow took flight it disappeared into the crease behind his shoulder and he mule-kicked and bounded down the ridge out of sight.
Whirlwind. That happened QUICK! No way, no how, I was pulling all of that off out of a traditional stand!
Knowing that I had 12-ringed the buck, I eased out of the tree after thirty minutes and found lots of blood (no easy task considering Im color blind!). I peeked over the hill and saw him laying not 60 yards away and the celebratory texts and phone calls began!