The whitetail deer gun hunting season opened this past weekend in Oklahoma and I my top target was a big mature 8 point buck that I had caught on camera on several occasions. I was willing to hunt hard to bag this buck, so I spent 8 hours in the deer stand on opening day, first catching a glimpse of him at 9 o’clock in the morning as he jumped a fence about 425 yards away. At least, I thought it was him.
This “sighting” was enough of a relief for me, as I had heard at least a 10 rifle shots since sunrise within a mile of our deer lease. The big buck appeared again shortly after 10 o’clock as he had moved closer, but the buck was still moving through a bunch of trees at around 200 yards with enough brush and sticks and grass to obstruct a clean shot. I thought my deer hunting season was really going to start off with a bang as I waited about 10 minutes for him to reappear closer and on the edge of the brush. That didn’t happen.
As it turns out, the buck went downhill, moving down into a deep, heavily wooded draw. I lost him. With the “video” of the big buck playing through my brain, I waited and hoped that he would turn around and head back my way. I had identified this Oklahoma buck as a shooter from my game camera photos, and after seeing him in person I knew he was the real deal.
Nothing else happened that morning, so I left the stand at noon and returned a couple of hours later. Believe it or not, I saw him again moving up down the same wooded draw during the afternoon. I think he took an afternoon siesta down there. I managed to see several smaller whitetail bucks chasing does, but passed them up that evening because I knew the big 8 was still out there.
Opening day offered up some decent deer hunting weather, but Sunday was warm and winds were gusting from the south. Not a perfect scenario by any means, especially since a south wind blows directly from my stand towards the draw that my target had been traveling. Okay, time to make a last minute change, which tends to happen from time to time as deer hunters know.
I abandoned the deer stand and went to sit near the top of the funnel the buck had been traveling, but on the north side. The big 8 point buck had traveled this draw twice yesterday, so I was betting that this mature buck was a creature of habit. The strong wind kept my scent well off the deer trail, but deer will often lay up in heavy wind. That morning I saw several does and a spike, but where was my big buck? Called in quits around 11 o’clock to grab some lunch.
I returned to my vantage point by mid-afternoon and the wind was still blowing. Bummer. Nothing was moving except the grass and trees waving back and forth. But then, as if on cue, the wind layed just before 5 o’clock. Perfect, I thought maybe the mature 8 had been holed up all day and now he was going to make his move. After all, big bucks like it quiet, which means they like it still.
At about half past 5, just when I thought the deer hunting was about to get really good, I saw a doe coming up the draw and acting a little nervous. I knew it was not because of me because I was setup well and totally concealed in some brushy-looking deer habitat. The doe was about 60 yards in front of me when I caught movement another 40 yards behind her. There he was, my big Oklahoma 8 point buck!
The doe continued on her trail and the buck was following. He was already within range and I had him in the scope, but he was getting closer with every step so I let him continue on. The doe stopped about and the buck closed the distance, but he stopped to look at something. He was about 80 yards out, perfectly still, and broadside. I knew it was not going to get any better than this so I settled in for the shot. The crosshairs settled just behind his front leg, I squeezed the trigger and my .243 began to sing.
The buck immediately threw his hind legs back into the air and I knew he was hit well. Since I was aiming for the lungs, I fully expected the deer to run 40 to 80 yards. The buck turned back and bounded into the deep, rank and ungrazed bluestem that comprised part of food-rich habitat found on our deer lease. I was shaking and pumped — deer hunting is the best!
I was confident that the buck had run just downhill and collapsed. I gathered my gear and walked to where the buck had been standing. Sure enough, blood all over the bluestem. You could see a trail of blood across the tops of the grass. About 35 yards down there appeared to be a “hole” in the grass. I covered the distance quickly and with excitement. At first I saw nothing but horns, but then the entire body appeared. What a brute! My Oklahoma buck was within reach and another deer hunting season I will never forget.
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!