2020 #9 – William Harvey

by | Oct 12, 2021 | 2020 Tethrd Ten


SADDLE GEAR: Eberhart Signature Saddle, Hawk Helium sticks

The 2020 deer season is one that will be tough to beat. I was fortunate enough to tag out for the first time ever with two bucks that were both bigger than anything I had ever killed before. The best part about that being they were both killed with a bow and both out of my brand new saddle! Here’s another thing, these two bucks were my first two deer with a bow.

I gained permission to some new ground close to home around the first week of August, so I started scrambling to learn as much as I could about the place. To learn this property as best as I could, I knew I wanted to be mobile. So after some research I decided to purchase the ESS saddle a couple of weeks before our October 1st opener.

My goal for the first week of the season was to try and get a doe, because up to that point I hadn’t gotten any pictures of bucks that I was wanting to go after. A card pull in a new spot on October 7th changed that though. I had gotten daylight pictures of a very good buck, and he had showed up two evenings in a row!

The first evening after this particular deer, he didn’t show up. It was an eventful evening though with the group of 8 does and fawns milling around eating acorns all around me. The wind was looking good for the next evening, so I left my sticks on the tree and snuck out after dark. On the evening of the 9th, I got out of work a little early and headed straight for that tree. After three hours in a tree fighting mosquitoes and 90 degree temps, I was enjoying the cool air as the sun started to set.

I heard a deer moving through the timber, so I went ahead and reached for my bow. As soon as I caught a glimpse I knew it was the buck I was in there for. He was feeding along a trail that would put him around 15 yards from the base of my tree. Once I finally had a good angle for a shot I drew back, settled the pin and watched my arrow zip through him. The shot appeared to be a little low, which had me worried. The arrow had plenty of blood on it, but the landowner and I were unable to get on his trail that night. The next day we came in, found his trail almost instantly and 75 yards later, my first bow buck was in my hands! Unfortunately, coyotes had gotten to his hind end pretty bad during the night. An absolute shame, but we salvaged what we could of him.

My second buck would also come from this same farm, a little over a month later. It was November 15th, so our rut was in full swing by now. I had been hunting for two particular deer, both of which I’d be extremely grateful to put my last tag around! Both of these deer had avoided me during our nine day muzzleloader season, so I was ready to get back after them with my bow.

I decided to go for an all day sit on the 15th, and it certainly was a good decision on my part. The weather was going to be about 50 degrees and I had a great wind to hunt it. This was my first actual sit in this area, as some scouting a few days beforehand said this was the spot I needed to be in.

With work and weather I was unable to hunt the two days prior. This area was torn up with scrapes and had trails intersecting all through it. By 10:30am that morning, I had already seen 5 different bucks and plenty of does. At 11:15am, one of the bucks I was after came through but never offered me a clear shot. My next bit of activity came from a spike buck around 2pm that afternoon. At 4pm a doe came in acting nervous. She milled around for a while before I found out why.

I heard grunting coming through the timber and out stepped a very nice 8 pointer. This buck was very tempting, but in my mind another year or two would make him even more tempting! He dogged this doe around in front of me for over thirty minutes, giving me plenty of shot opportunities and making all kinds of racket. 

With 30 minutes left of shooting light, I heard another deer approaching from a trail off to my right. I glanced over my shoulder and it was the second of the two bucks I was after! I reached for my bow, got ready and looked back to see him posturing up at the other buck that was with the doe. He changed his focus to work a scrape at 12 yards. He was perfectly broadside and I took the shot while he had his head in the licking branch. The buck whirled and turned to run back down the trail he came. He only made it 20 yards from the scrape!!

The excitement of hearing that deer go down was second to none, and it took me a while to quit shaking enough to climb out of the tree. I waited on the landowner (who was hunting not too far from me) to get there before going and looking at him. Walking up on that deer is a moment that I’ll never forget.

Two bucks, two completely different scenarios, both with a bow, both out of a saddle, all in one year. How could I beat this?! The first buck ended up grossing 138 4/8, while the second went 142 3/8. Not sure that I’ll top this past season, but you can guarantee I’ll damn sure try!!