ROSS LEXVOLD, 42 – MINNESOTA
SADDLE GEAR: Phantom Saddle, Predator Platform, Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks
It was nearing 8am on Monday, Nov. 2nd in southeast MN and I was just about to get down and begin my normal workday. I had been sitting near the top of a ridge in my brand new Phantom Saddle, Predator Platform, recliner strap, and ES SYS Hauler 2.0 since about 6am that morning. I previously hunted out of a Trophyline Tree Saddle for about 15 years. The Phantom was WAY more comfortable than my old setup. In the past I used tree steps screwed into the tree to stand on. I also couldn’t believe how much the Predator Platform improved the comfort for my feet.
The weather that morning was roughly 32 degrees, a slight SW wind, and clear skies. The rut was just getting started and I hadn’t seen much chasing action until this morning. I passed (thank goodness!) on a decent 8-pointer twice that morning as he was chasing a doe and her two fawns. There was also a smaller buck pestering a doe earlier that morning. With movement slowing down around 7:45am, I told myself to stay put until 8am and then get down to begin my workday from home (due to COVID). Just prior to 8am, I heard a noise behind my left shoulder. I slowly turned my head and saw a doe already in my shooting lane 9 yards away and looking behind her. I turned my head further and saw massive white antlers with crazy kicker points/tines with the sun shining on them–a beauty of a buck, roughly 35 yards away through some branches and brush. I had never seen the buck before and could hardly believe how large he was on the hoof and this close to me. I instantly had an adrenaline rush and began preparing for a shot as he was a no-doubt shooter!
The buck was distracted by a smaller buck that he was pushing off for about a minute, keeping the small buck away from the doe. She continued to stand in my shooting lane looking back at the two bucks. This gave me some time to calm my breathing and ensure I was ready and focused on making a good shot once he gave me an opportunity. After about a minute, the doe continued through my shooting lane and I knew the big buck would follow. As soon as the big buck turned to follow her through my shooting lane, I drew back and put my pin on him. As he came into my shooting lane, he was going slightly faster than a walk, so I gave him a quick mouth “meh” to try to stop him. He didn’t stop, so I gave it one more loud “meh” before I realized he wasn’t going to stop. I aimed just behind his right front shoulder and let the arrow fly. The arrow hit just slightly back from where I wanted, buried itself all the way into his body, with the broadhead sticking out near the bottom of the other side of his body.
I knew the shot was deadly. Instantly there was bright red blood coming out the bottom where my broadhead was hanging. As he bounded off about 30 yards, I could see the blood coming out leaving a bright red blood trail. As he stood there wondering what happened, looking at the doe and small buck, he took a few more steps, stopped, and looked around again. He eventually began to wobble and start to tip over backwards, stumbling in a 5-yard circle all the while not falling over! I gave him a few snort wheezes to see if he’d come back up the hill toward me since he was still acting aggressively toward the smaller buck. He then turned around to go back to following the doe, but he wasn’t moving fast and couldn’t keep up with her. I could tell he was nearing the end. He slowly took a few steps down the hill and I lost sight of him. I hung there, using my binoculars to search for any movement or sign of him, and listened, waiting for the sound of a crash of him going down. I never heard him crash.
After about 30 minutes hanging in my saddle, I told myself he was NOT going to make it and that he should just be laying on the hillside. I snuck out of the woods to give him some time to expire and came back about two hours later. He was laying right where I thought he’d be. He went about 125 yards from where I first shot him, and most likely expired before I left the woods. He had crashed into some downed timber and laid there almost belly up with his horns high in the air, resting on a big downed limb.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! His antlers were so heavy! He also didn’t have hardly any blood left in him when I field dressed him. He was so focused on breeding, and keeping the smaller buck away, I don’t think he ever knew what hit him. It was a hunt I’ll never forget. Thank you Tethrd for the great hunting gear and making my hunt one that I will talk about forever![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]